Chief Red Cloud


This is his farewell address to the Lakota people on July 4, 1903
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"My sun is set. My day is done. Darkness is stealing over me.
Before I lie down to rise no more, I will speak to my people.
"Hear me, my friends, for it is not the time for me to tell you a
lie. The Great Spirit made us, the Indians, and gave us this land we live
in. He gave us the buffalo, the antelope, and the deer for food and
clothing. We moved our hunting grounds from the Minnesota to the Platte and
from the Mississippi to the great mountains. No one put bounds on us. We
were free as the winds, and like the eagle, heard no man's commands.
"I was born a Lakota and I shall die a Lakota. Before the white man
came to our country, the Lakotas were a free people. They made their own
laws and governed themselves as it seemed good to them. The priests and
ministers tell us that we lived wickedly when we lived before the white man
came among us. Whose fault was this? We lived right as we were taught it
was right. Shall we be punished for this? I am not sure that what these
people tell me is true.
As a child I was taught the Taku Wakan
(Supernatural Powers) were powerful and could do strange things. This was
taught me by the wise men and the shamans. They taught me that I could gain
their favor by being kind to my people and brave before my enemies; by
telling the truth and living straight; by fighting for my people and their
hunting grounds.
"When the Lakotas believed these things they were happy and they
died satisfied. What more than this can that which the white man offers us
give?
"Taku Shanskan is familiar with my spirit and when I die I will go
with him. Then I will be with my forefathers. If this is not in the heaven
of the white man I shall be satisfied. Wi is my father. The Wakan Tanka of
the white man has overcome him. But I shall remain true to him.
"Shadows are long and dark before me. I shall soon lie down to rise
no more. While my spirit is with my body the smoke of my breath shall be
towards the Sun for he knows all things and knows that I am still true to him."

Back