"Tee Zhoní, niece, I
am going to tell you some things. You must write them down so we
donít forget." With those words I could remember her father, David
Little Cook as he visited with his sister, my grandmother, Elizabeth
"Go slow, Auntie. I
have to think about how to write these Ponca names in English." It
was true. So many linguists have come and gone to leave a different
way to write the language. My auntís first language was Ponca and
surely this was more difficult for both of us. Some of the words I
had not heard pronounced correctly since my grandmother passed away.
scriptures speak of the value of one's name and so it is with the
"You know Standing
Bear?" His name was Man chu (bear) Nah Zhe (stands up.)
His brother was Black
Feather, Mah Shah Sah Bay." My aunt was intent on passing information
down to me. I had to smile as I remember the descriptive ways of
this language. Mah Sah means different things, all of which could
apply to a crow, or saucy black bird. The way a crow walks, head
held up, looking back and forth and all around. His noisy Kaw Kaw
Kaw resembles the Ponca word for " gentle leader." Pah Kah (Ponca)
(Gentle leader). And, the word is the same in Osage. One Minnie
Smith or Hun Kah, Mon kah-Sacred medicine of the Eagle Leader. My
mind drifts a bit to the Khan of Mongolia and I wonder about that. .
"Uncle Henry is brother to your Grandmother and is your mother and
father at the Indian Cemetery is buried beside him. His name was Mah
Shah Sah Bay, Black Feather, too. Names are passed down like this.
This was the name your mother, Velma Jones wanted to give to her
son, Dennis Michael Jones but they never did.
Lewis McDonald who
was the ancestor of all these McDonalds here today was adopted,
Indian way, by Sam and Esther Little Cook after the death of their
child. There was a big give away in the east arena. There were many
blankets carried on the back of a red horse. It went around the
arena four times and then went east. Yes, it was a big give away
because the McDonald family allowed them to adopt their son.
Sam and Esther was
given hope they could see him grow up just as their own son would
have done through the adoption of the McDonald's son. The boy would
never leave his family but would be treated as Estherís and Samís
son for all time with a providing of the things he would need just
like their son. Today, many years later, when a Little Cook song is
played the McDonaldís all stand up. This is how sacred life was to
Edward Buffalo Chief
lived and is buried in Niobrara (Nebraska). There are many Little
Cooks buried up there in the north.
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