I had an epiphany last week. A real significant point in my life when I started seeing things more clearly and it wasn’t because I was on the prairie in the bright sunlight, it was because I saw some words in a different light.
My dad always sings the Crazy Horse’s Song. Especially when we camp out in the Black Hills, during Sturgis week…it will be the first thing you hear from his tent. Then everyone wakes up. And he always told me about Crazy Horse saying “When you see the Black Hills, Remember me.” So I always use that quote because it is one of the most important quotes in my life.
Then when I went back to see him last week, he told me that I have been quoting it wrong. The correct quote is;
“If you can, when you see the Black Hills remember me.”
Those first three words are so significant. It amazes me how much more depth they add to it. Exactly what it means to a person determines who they are and what they stand for. When you see the Black Hills, do you see Crazy Horse? Do you see what he stood for? Do you see what he lived for and what he died for?
It is him telling us to always stand up for our people. When you see the Black Hills, if you can, remember him and his life. He did not die an old man, he died a freedom fighter, fighting for our people and our way of life.
The days of our people roaming the prairie are over. The days of that free lifestyle are over. The ways Crazy Horse fought for died with him. Our people survived through so much suffering through generations after Crazy Horse was gone, but we survived.
And being here today is a testament we are his people. I think he would be sad to see the “agency Indian” still exists and plays the part of wanting to bring their own people down.
Today, people look down on those who stand up for what they believe in, they down on those who want to make a change. They look down on freedom fighters, yet they are not brave enough to make a stand.
Crazy Horse was a revolutionary, a freedom fighter. He wasn’t a perfect man but he did what he had to for us. His last words to his parents were “Tell the people, they can not depend on me anymore.”
That means if we want change it has to be done on our own and not waiting for the government to make it better.
Sometimes I feel like I write the same thing over and over but I keep seeing the same attitudes over and over. If people don’t have the courage to make change and want to live the way the government set it up, then the least they could do is be quiet about those who are out there making sacrifices for the people.
There are still great freedom fighters among our people but I guess, like Crazy Horse who was stabbed by his own and like my grandfather Pedro Bissonette who was shot and killed by his own, as much as there are still great freedom fighters out there, there are still those who have become comfortable with oppression.
That is why Crazy Horse said;
If you can, when you see the Black Hills remember me.
If you can…can you?