Tatanga Mani, or Walking Buffalo, speaks:
We were lawless people, but we were on pretty good terms with the Great Spirit, creator and ruler of all.
You whites assumed we were savages. You didn’t understand our prayers. You didn’t try to understand. When we sang our praises to the sun or the 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, 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 whites who have called us pagans…. Indians living close to nature and nature’s ruler are not living in darkness.
Did you know that trees talk? Well they do. They talk to each other, and they’ll talk to you if you listen. Trouble is, white people don’t listen. They never learned to listen to the Indians so I don’t suppose they’ll listen to other voices in nature. But I have learned a lot from the trees: sometimes about the weather, sometimes about animals, sometimes about the Great Spirit.
Tatanga Mani or Walking Buffalo (1871-1967), Stoney Nation, Alberta, Canada
From Touch the Earth, comp. TC McLuhan, Abacus, 1973