Meeting Chipeta, Part 2

McCookThis is a continuation of a story by Zitkala-Sa about her 1917 visit to the camp of Chipeta and McCook. Read Part 1. McCook then spoke. Terse and deeply significant was his reply. “When the Great White Father in Washington sent a letter to me telling that whiskey was bad, I stopped our people from its use.” “When the Great White Father sent a letter to me telling me that gambling was bad, I forbade our people to play cards.” There was a momentary pause. I wondered what he would say next. I hoped he would say he now decided to give up the drug peyote and stop its use among his people. McCook concluded briefly. “Now the Great White Father has sent me no letter telling me peyote is bad. Therefore, as log as he permits its use, we will continue to use it.” It was with a sad heart that I returned to the Agency. A great longing filled me for some message from the Great White Father telling his red children that peyote was bad for them and asking them to refuse to use or sell it. “Chief Ouray, friend of the white man, would that your old friends might befriend your aged widow and the people whom you loved. Would that federal action might be taken before it is too late.” These were the burden of my thoughts as I rode back from my visit with Chipeta. Continued next week.

Published in: on January 20, 2014 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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