A Long Way From The Buffalo Road

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Major Stouch was deeply impressed with this speech, and wrote it in his report to Washington. It had changed his mind, he said, and he would not forbid our dances. We, on our side, agreed that we would not neglect our duties as farmers to hold them. The Major even gave up trying to persuade our old men to cut their hair and to dress as white men did. The best support he had in his work at the agency, he said, came from the old men who wore their hair in long braids. Major Stouch recognized men of strong hearts when he met them. He was our friend, as well as our agent, and we made great progress while he was there. And each year we built our medicine lodge again and held our ceremonies for the Sun Dance. Once more we came together as one people with a good purpose, forgetting our quarrels and misfortunes and leaving, after the week was ended, with hope and determination to live in peace and to be industrious in the white man’s way.

All this was a long way from the buffalo road we had once travelled. I have heard of groups of white people who have gone to Mexico or south America to take up a new road of their own and have failed in it and come back to their old homes to start over again. But we had no home to go back to; we could only follow the old road as long as it lasted while we learned the direction of the new one.