Friday, March 11, 2011

Native New Years coming.

Learned something about my ancestors recently from one of my brothers living up in Nebraska. I got to visit with him over the phone the other day and learned he has been researching some history of my Ponca ancestors. Like so many tribes that were forced to move to Oklahoma there was a trail of tears that followed them on their journey to Indian territory. Deaths of almost 1/3 the tribe was lost from disease, and pneumonia. The spring of 1877 was one of the worst in history. Rained much more then normal, and made crossing rivers very challenging. Can you imagine old people trying to walk through flood waters because a gov. agent has to meet a deadline. There was no compassion for cold, wet, sick, hungry Poncas.
About 4 days into the trail of tears there was a little girl name White Buffalo Girl, that got sick with pneumonia and died. Her parents were Black Elk and Moon Hawk. Heart broken, and desperate, they pleaded with the local folks at a small town of Neligh, Ne. Black Elk asked they bury his daughter and treat her with the respect just like they did their very own. They complied and agreed to take care of the little girl. They buried her in their cemetery. Every year for 134 years those people in that small community decorated her grave. Kept it clean just like one of their own. In the beginning there was a wooden cross, that later rotted away, then later on there was a monument they erected besides a new head stone with Black Elks wish for his daughter placed on it.
My brother has a good heart and wants to give back to that small community, and I agree with his wishes. My brother is going to cook and feed that small community some fry bread and corn soup, with coffee and tea. I even started a new painting about White Buffalo girl, and her parents Black Elk and Moon Hawk. It's a good thing when art can be used to help heal those old wounds. Mark your calender down for May 22nd, at Neligh, Ne. for this historical event.