This story was told to my dad by Edward Iron Cloud, Sr. in the mid-1960s, Ed was almost 100 years old at the time and he
died about 1977, so he lived back in the day.
One winter, a village of Lakota’s were near starvation from unending
blizzard conditions. Their food supplies were almost completely
depleted. Everyone was suffering, especially the small crying
children in each lodge. The situation was desperate, so a council of
the camps headmen was held. As usual, everyone was expected to bare suggestions. Some said let’s get all the food in camp and give it to
the children. Others were in favor of feeding the elder. Since there
was some lodges without food for almost a week, most were many in
favor of just sharing any scant food available. One of the camp
leaders said his wife and some of the other women, felt if more food
was not gotten soon, everyone would be dead. So he suggested that all
the food available be gathered up and it would be used to feed the
camps best hunters. Make them strong as possible because the future
of the camp rested in their ability to travel and hunt by foot in
deep, deep snow, then somehow bring whatever could be taken back to camp.
Without nourishment this task was impossible but the survival of the
people was at stake. Without hesitation the eldest headman who had
not yet spoken, saw the affirmative shaking of heads. He stood up and
told the council to go and bring all camp food back. We must prepare
the best meal and papa for traveling as soon as possible.
Everyone rose up and quickly went out to gather the food.
Stories of the past have many lessons. This particular story demonstrates how hard the times were for our ancestors and how they came together to make decisions for the future of the people. Today, we still face hard times and we still need to make decisions.