Since I carry the
name of our Ponca Chief, Standing Bear's Mother, this is one of the
leaders I choose to remember. Grandmother Grace Little Warrior, who was
also direct descendant of Chief Standing Buffalo, named me Jen-nee', under
the peace pipe in her living room. It is only as I become older do I
appreciate the very special treatment this was. I've been told the meaning
of this word is Water Woman. I do not know what it pertains to and may
never be able to find out since our elders are all gone now. I do know
that the names of the Rain Band, He-Sah-Dah, go to the elements of the
stars, moon, sun, sky, and, of course, rain.
descendants of Standing Buffalo I suddenly begin to remember what is
involved with being a Ponca Chieftain. These have mannerisms and habits
like their ancestors such for being gracious and having gentle ways. The
quiet control they reflect in their lives goes to a place where there is
peace with no abrupt mannerisms. Their kindly, considerate character is
practiced in every way but especially in their self control which frees
them from violence, as in movement. “Peace with me, and peace all about
me,” becomes their motto.
Today is June 09,
2004. It is the day of the funeral for President Ronald Reagan, who was a
leader of a far greater populace than in the days of Chief Standing Bear
in the 1890's. However, his mannerisms, strong plodding strides, quiet
reasoning worked to hold a great number of people together. This is most
amazing when one stops to think about it. The short phrase he used in a
speech in Berlin always stuck with me even though I find nothing in
politics to interest me, usually. The words, “Tear Down This Wall,” could
not have been more aptly spoken. They struck right at the very issue of
which were causing divisions. “Tear down this wall,” was spoken clearly.
There was no threat in his voice, no pleading, no begging. The words were
stated flatly which gave anyone listening the feeling that the wall was
something undesirable, unfriendly and possibly, somehow, one gets the
feeling it is even a bit foolish.
In the same way, Standing
Bear extended his hand with a small amount of money in it toward a Settler
living in a mud hut on the prairie. The man was afraid of the Natives. The
Chief leading his people offered the money to the man and simply said,
“My people are hungry.” Immediately, the settler turned to his wife
standing in the door way and said, “Anna, make some bread. These people
So begins the force and
principle of all human relations which go to basic needs which is resting
on something as simple as hunger. The beginning of peace quiets these
hungers. There should be no war torn wall barring the exchange of ideas.
No bickering and cold war stops the sharing of knowledge and following use
of treasured skills allowing progress for the betterment of all society.
Of course, we of the common
people are not all able to grasp such a magnitude of control over our own
minds and bodies as these great leaders. However, can we not try to follow
their example in the small realm of our own family relationships or with
the people who are immediately around us. How much lovelier a world would
exist if we could just “Tear down this wall,” of religious, political,
economic status which would allow peaceful working together for the
protection and growth of our children. With this hope that one of these
children could come up with a cancer cure, a cure for cerebral palsy, AIDS
or any other of the hundreds of plagues.