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Legend has it that when the Sioux were ambushed and they were suddenly taken by the necessity of fleeting or fighting, a man could take whatever pony he could get his hands on. Common sense, however, advised warriors to keep in mind that everything they snatched from their invader’s possessions would later belong to the man who owned the pony they rode, or his immediate family.

Legend also has it that the only reason any ‘hostile’ Indian ever accepted to go to war and fight the white man was to respond to the very contemptuous way Americans treated them while exterminating their peers: an entire Nation of perfectly flawed human beings.

Four years after Abraham Lincoln decided to authorize the mass execution of over thirty Indians because they reacted to the brutality of Colorado settlers, Johnson decided to go ahead and veto the deceased’s Civil Rights Bill but congress stepped in and overruled his disregard for their fellow Americans. In 1866, The United States government finally gave equal rights to all individuals, black, white, green or blue who were born in the United States, except for those who were natives of the land: the red skins.

Much is discussed, little is known but one of the greatest histories of genocide of all times is that of the Indigenous peoples of all Americas.

Running after game, singing for peace, dancing for rain.

While I learn about them, all I can think is that it must have been terrifying, for the white man, to see how the Indian man lived off his land. When a blizzard blinded his ride or a heat wave knocked his bravest men down, the Indian knew better. When a whirlwind blew his tepee away or the buffalo barely came into view, the Indian knew better.

How awfully uncomfortable it must have been to the white man to know that these people knew how to heal the land, plant seeds and grow corn. How extraordinary it seemed that such people sang songs to their dead, treated their awkward-looking guests in a decorous and praiseworthy manner and found no reason to fear being out, under the only roof they knew: the wide skies that covered their lands.

How dramatic it is to learn of someone so infinitely comfortable with the world you’ve fought so hard to stay away from, how arresting the sight of this people must have been to the people of Europe.

I know, every story has two sides, coins fall facing different directions every time and every single man finds a good reason to act the way he acts, thus, I too believe were I to be there at the same place and time they were, I would also feel just as overwhelmed by the natives’ beauty and confidence as they felt; I too would feel compelled to look at them in awe.

What I wish they had remembered when the violent wave of intolerance kicked in is what I always knew to be the truth: the colors that tint the contents of their sharp edged eyes are exactly the same colors that tint my own. ~picture: Aaron Huey; source: Honor The Treaties.