To the Editor,
Who is Wakan Tanka?
Who is the Great Mystery?
Who am I?
When I was young I wanted to disappear, I guessed that I would be safer not being seen and then I could still see and hear.
Today I am old, 70 years and counting.
My grandmother’s maiden name was Opal Rose Fierce. She married my grandfather Howard Gardner. My father’s name was Robert Gardner. My father was a Navy veteran and was buried here in Creswell, Oregon.
My grandmother and grandfather were buried in Sacramento, Calif.
When I read of Wounded Knee and the Ghost Shirts they wore to be invisible to the government soldier’s bullets, I am reminded of my own desires for invisibility and wonder, is this just a coincidence?
I like to write but so far I’ve remained invisible as a writer. I spoke with my pastor today and I read this letter I wrote and he said I should publish it somewhere.
I was reading about the Hotchkiss cannons that killed so many at Wounded Knee. It’s interesting that I had a friend whose last name was Hoskins and when we fought playing football I called him Hotchkiss. Another coincidence?
Who were the noble savages that ruled the plains of America?
This is a question for a historian, or perhaps an amateur one.
These noble chiefs lifted their voices to their own God and said, “Who is this white God?”
“The God of our ancestors has given us the power to rule the plains and no white man or white God will take them from us.”
And so the tribes fought, filled with the arrogance of their own religion and power.
So what is war other than the litany of one man’s arrogance against another?
It seems that man’s arrogance at times knows no limits.
When men rule with no sense of decency or kindness when they respect no equality, when love is replaced with cruel hatred, peace can find no place to grow. It’s crusted under the feet of man and war is its bitter fruit.
I also wrote a story once while attending Orange County College in Costa Mesa, Calif.
The story was not returned, but I received an A in class.
In it, I saw a lone Indian, his feet bloody, climbing a rocky cliff. A battle had been fought and as he gazed upon the plains below, he saw something amazing. The buffalo had returned and the land was as it was in the beginning.
In the same way the blood that was shed by Christ gives to me new insights and visions of a better future for us all.