We had no churches, no religious organizations, so a Sabbath, not holidays, and yet we worshiped. Sometimes the whole tribe met and sang and prayed; sometimes a smaller number, maybe only two or three. The songs had some words, but they were not formal. The singer would occasionally put the words he wanted instead of the usual tone. Sometimes we prayed in silence; sometimes each prayed aloud; Sometimes an older person prayed for all of us. At other times one would get up and talk about our duties between us and Usen. Our services were short.
I was born where there were no enclosures.
Wisdom and peace come when you begin to live the life that the creator thought for you.
The song I’m going to sing is an old song, so old that nobody knows who made it. It has been handed down from generation to generation and was taught to me when I was a little boy. Now it’s my own song. It belongs to me. This is a sacred song (medicine-song), and great is its power. The song tells how, while singing, I go through the air to a sacred place where Yusun (The Supreme Being) will empower me to do wonderful things. I am surrounded by small clouds, and as I go through the air, I change, becoming a spirit only.
It is my land, my home, my father’s land, to which I now ask you to allow me to return. I want to spend my last days there and be buried among those mountains. If this could be, I could die in peace, feeling that my people, placed in their native homes, would increase in number, instead of diminishing as in the present, and that our name would not be extinguished.
We are disappearing from the earth, but I can not think that we are useless or otherwise Use would not have created us. He created all the tribes of men and certainly had a just purpose in creating each one.
I am not ashamed to be a Christian, and I am glad to know that the president of the United States is a Christian, because without the help of the Almighty I do not believe that he can judge correctly by governing so many people. I have advised all my people who are not Christian, to study that religion, because it seems to me the best religion to allow one to live well.
I should never have surrendered. I should have fought until I was the last man alive.
Once I moved like the wind. Now I give myself and that’s it.
I can not think that we are useless or Usen would not have created us. He created all the tribes of men and certainly had a just purpose in creating each one.
I am grateful that the President of the United States has given me permission to tell my story. I hope that he and those who have authority under him read my story and judge whether my people have been treated correctly.
I will protect my people if I live. For my part, I’m not afraid because I have the word of Usen. Who is the white Nantan to think that he can face his power against Usen’s?
The soldiers never explained to the government when an Indian was mistreated, but they reported the misdeeds of the Indians.
I was born in the meadows where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the sunlight. I was born where there were no enclosures.
While I live, I want to live well.
I can not think that we are useless or that God will not have created us. There is a God who looks at us all. We are all children of one God. The sun, the darkness, the winds are listening to what we have to say.
I was not the boss and never had been, but because they had wronged me more than the others, I was conferred this honor and decided to prove myself worthy of trust.
I was warmed by the sun, rocked by the winds and protected by trees like other Indian babies. I was living peacefully when people started talking bad about me. Now I can eat well, sleep well and be happy. I can go everywhere with a good feeling.
One afternoon, when we returned from the city, we met a few women and children who told us that Mexican troops from another city had attacked our camp, killed all the warriors of the guard, captured all our ponies, secured our weapons, destroyed our supplies, and killed many of our women and children … when they were all counted, I discovered that my elderly mother, my young wife and my three small children were among the murdered.
Since I began my life as a prisoner, I have heard the teachings of the white man’s religion and, in many ways, I think it is better than the religion of my parents.