They were a proud people. They were religious, fierce warriors, practicing a way of life that had existed since before recorded history. They were free, independent, and spiritual. They were the Lakota, plains Indians more commonly known as the Sioux. Self-made, rugged individualists. The same tribe that wiped our Custer’s battalion at Little Bighorn. The people of Crazy Horse, Red Cloud, and Sitting Bull. They were completely non-dependent on anyone or anything else, save the buffalo – the source of life for them.
Then, it was over. Slowly, at first as the horse, gun, and iron kettle infiltrated their lives. Gifts from the White Man. In warfare, they more than held their own with these interlopers, but the Great Father’s people were too many; too shrewd. Eventually, their source of life was taken; the buffalo were practically no more. The People were rounded up and placed on Reservations. Government Reservations – where all was free. Land, education, food … it was all handed to them in the form of Government rations and annuities. Some resisted, but most came in and tried to adapt to this new life voluntarily.
Within a generation, the Sioux were a broken people. The master horsemen, skilled warriors, survivalists supreme were no more, replaced by a nearly unrecognizable brand of lazy, shiftless, drunken takers. Their will was gone. To this day, the reservations of North and South Dakota are among the poorest areas in America.
Don’t allow America to end up like the Lakota.