Sitting Bull on western civilization

Buffalo in Badlands National Park (Interior, South Dakota: May 19, 2005)

Buffalo in Badlands National Park (Interior, South Dakota: May 19, 2005).
Photograph by: Gregory Foster

Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love! Every seed is awakened, and all animal life. It is through this mysterious power that we too have our being, and we therefore yield to our neighbors, even to our animal neighbors, the same right as ourselves to inhabit this vast land.

Yet hear me friends! we now have to deal with another people, small and feeble when our forefathers first met with them, but now great and overbearing. Strangely enough, they have a mind to till the soil, and the love of possesions is a disease in them. These people have made many rules that the rich may break but the poor may not! They even take tithes of the poor and weak to support the rich and those who rule. They claim this mother of ours, the Earth, for their own use, and fence their neighbors away from her, and deface her with their buildings and their refuse. They compel her to produce out of season, and when sterile she is made to take medicine in order to produce again. All this is sacrilege.

This nation is like a spring freshet; it overruns its banks and destroys all who are in its path. We cannot dwell side by side. Only seven years ago we made a treaty by which we were assured that the buffalo country should be left to us forever. Now they threaten to take that from us also. My brothers, shall we submit? or shall we say to them: “First kill me, before you can take possession of my fatherland!”
Tatanka Yotanka (Sitting Bull; Lakotah: Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake), Lakotah Sioux chief, speaking before a Native American council at Powder River, as related to Charles Alexander Eastman (Ohiyesa) “by men who were present,” (South Dakota: Spring 1877). Available in Charles Alexander Eastman’s Indian Heroes and Great Chieftains, (Boston, Massachusetts: Little, Brown, and Company, 1918), p. 119.

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"Behold, my friends, the spring is come"
Sitting Bull Charles Alexander Eastman Posted on behalf of and on Friday, August 27th, 2010 under Quotations.

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