Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America
May 20, 2000 - Issue 10

My Day with Red Cloud
by Little Jumper

Many months ago, I was invited by a friend, who is incarcerated in the prison at Springfield, SD, to attend their annual powwow. In this case, families are allowed to enter to attend also, unlike the powwows at the main prison in Sioux Falls, SD.

Usually I do not go, because they only allow 50 outsiders, and I felt the families to be more important there than I. This year however, my friend insisted I come there and sent me the invitation personally, thus I did go.

Upon arriving, I saw many people there and thought it was good. There would probably be many dancers then. As we cleared the system of entry and were allowed into the prison, I was shown the dressing room. There I was with my suitcase and an hour ahead of the grand entry. I sat there alone for a long time, and then realized I may be the only one dancing from the outside.

I never wish to be the "only one" or "first" and usually wait until all the other Traditional Dancers are into the grand entry before I join, even though I am 60 years old.

While I was sitting there contemplating this, the door opened and through it walked an elder that caught my attention immediately. He had a suitcase, set it down and I greeted him as by custom. We shook hands and I introduced myself, avoiding direct eye contact.

It was then he answered with his name and very straight forward said, "I am Red Cloud, Chief of the Oglala Nation."

I was astounded, for I realized this Chief was also going to dance, and chances were I would be dancing beside him, but back just a little. As it was that is how it turned out. Chief Red Cloud is the Grandson of Chief Red Cloud of fame during the 1860's era. Today's Chief Red Cloud is 82. He speaks with a firm but yet passive way and he is a very knowledgeable and influential man. He looks much like his famous Grandfather also.

It was a great honor to be with this man.
Little Jumper


Today was Wacipi, in the Iron House,
And I was invited, this little mouse.
I rushed to get there, like I was in a race--
was afraid of being late to the place.
Just in time, I was entered and cleared,
looked around -- am I the only dancer I feared?
Soon, though, an Elder came through the door,
I looked at him closely; I'd seen him before!
Where was it --what Wacipi?, where could it be
that I'd seen that stoic face? In what sacred place?
We greeted, shook hands and I said my name,
I felt a great presence, a feeling of fame!
So I was not surprised when he spoke to me his name.
"I am called Oliver Red Cloud, I am Chief of the Oglala -
I am the grandson of Mahpia Luta."

4-29-2000 - Little Jumper

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