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06 February, 2008


October 1970

March 20, 1871 - a great day in Morley, Alberta. It was on that day
that little Tatanga Mani (Walking Buffalo) was, born. In the years
that followed, he was adopted by white missionary John McDougall,
educated in white men's schools, returned to the reserve at Morley to
advise and guide his people, and finally in his old age, was asked to
act as an emissary of peace on behalf of the Canadian Government.

Join our Stoney brothers and hear his words.
"Nobody tries to make the coyotes act like beavers, or the eagles
behave like robins. Some Christians see themselves as set apart from
the rest of the animal and plant world by superiority, even as a
special creation.

Perhaps the principles of brotherhood which the world urgently needs
come more easily to the Indian. "
"Do you know that trees talk? Well, they do. They talk to each other,
and they'll talk to you, if you will listen.

Trouble is, many white people don't listen. They rarely listened to
the Indians, and so I don't suppose they'll listen to the other
voices in nature. But I have learned a lot from trees, sometimes
about the weather, sometimes about animals, sometimes about the Great

"We were lawless people but we were on pretty good terms with the
Great Spirit, creator and ruler of all. Many of you whites assumed we
were savages. You didn't understand our prayers. You didn't try to

When we sang or: praises to the sun or moon or wind, you said we were
worshipping idols. Without understanding, you condemned us as lost
souls just because our form of worship was different from yours.

"We saw the Great Spirit's work in almost everything: sun, moon,
trees, wind, and mountains. Sometimes we approached him through these
things. Was that so bad?

I think we have a true belief in the supreme being, a stronger faith
than that of most of the whites who have called us pagans. The red
savages have always lived closer to nature than have the white

Nature is the book of that great power which one man calls God and
which we call the Great Spirit. But, what difference does a name make?

"We had none of your denominations to split us, it introduce hatreds
in the name of religion. We had no man-made guides to 'right living';
nature was our guide. Nature is still Bible, and I've just returned
after many days of studying it.

"I'll tell you what I think. We were on better terms with the Great
Spirit before the white man came than we were after he confused us by
attempting to frighten its into joining his churches.

As devil worshippers, they said we were heading right down the road
to hell. Frighten us? Who wouldn't be frightened if they were told
they'd burn in a lake of fire forever if they didn't accept certain
teachings. The white man meant well. Many of the missionaries were my
friends, but they underestimated the Indian faith when they used fear
to make us change.

There is no such thing as hell to our native religion, and we can
never imagine the Great Spirit choosing to inflict everlasting
torture on man as a punishment.

"As I understand nature's ruler, he would not restrict the truth to a
few favoured humans, allowing the others to remain in eternal
darkness. If the Great Spirit is prepared to reveal secrets of
importance to people, he will give all humans in all lands an equal
chance of getting that enlightenment.

"My people have been searching for the truth for generations, and
they continue to find it. All races of people have conducted such
searches. Perhaps that explains why nearly all the world's religions
have points in common, like charity forgiveness, and belief in life
after death.

"Crowfoot of the Blackfeet tribe was a thinker, as everyone agrees,
but he never gave up his native religion. They coaxed him, but he
held on to his own beliefs. The old chief didn't ridicule your
religion and its teachers, but his own faith brought him enough
satisfaction and comfort.

The same could be said about Piapot. For years he was under pressure
to change. He didn't try to convert white men to his religion, but he
hated bigotry and he had no time for people who contended that the
white man's religion was inspired by the Creator but the Indian's was
not. Who do they suppose inspired the Indian's religion?"

At 87 years of age in London, England, he said: "It's not right
raising kids so far from nature. I suppose your boys and girls have
never seen pussy willows, robins building nests, or grass covered
hills. This pavement is fine for cars, but it is hard medicine for

"Hills are always more beautiful than stone buildings, you know.
Living in a city is an artificial existence. Lots of people hardly
ever feel real soil under their feet, see plants grow except in
flower pots, or get far enough beyond the street lights to catch the
enchantment of a night sky studded with stars. When people live far
from scenes of the Great Spirit's making, it's easy for them to
forget his laws. "

In Germany: "I remember the war years. We were led to hate the
Germans. Now I think they are good people. I'd pitch my tent here
anytime. I'll never hate anybodv again. Hating hurts me more than it
hurts the other fellow. "

To all Indians, he said: "You see, we lost our land and our freedom,
but we don't have to lose all our Indian ways and habits. As good
Indians, we can make a substantial contribution to Canadian culture.
It may not have occurred to many white men that red, black, and
yellow peoples might have some good ideas about satisfying the
world's needs.

1'll never try to justify the foolish fighting and scalping my people
did, but in some ways, we had better ways of living. At least we kept
our fighting to small wars, whereas the so-called civilized whites go
in for big conflicts. "There's a lot of madness in the white man's

We think whites would be better off to slow down and live closer to
the soil and forests and growing things, instead of galloping around
like stampeding buffaloes in cutback country. If they would take some
of our advice, they might find a contentment which they had not
discovered in their mad rush for money and for the pleasures which
they think it will buy. "

To all White Men, he said: "It's strange, but in trying to find
solutions to Indian problems, the authorities speak to nearly
everybody but Indians. Many of us could offer sound advice on this
question. But remember, we're proud of our race, and we want to
continue to be Indians. I was born with a bronze skin and I like it.
Some of my friends were born white or black or yellow. They were not
consulted. But that's all right. There are yellow roses, white roses,
and red roses and the fragrance of one is about as nice as another.

I hope my children will live in a world where people of all colors
can sit and work together without having to conform completely to the
majority's will . . . You must accept us as Indians who want to be
Indians and who are proud to be Indians. "

Death claimed our wise brother December 26, 1967, and the entire
world mourned. Any fool can be quarrelsome and belligerant. Being
half good and half bad takes neither effort nor skill. But being a
man of peace requires bravery.

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