A. McG. (Aaron McGaffey) Beede.

Heart-in-the-Lodge, all a mistake online

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Online LibraryA. McG. (Aaron McGaffey) BeedeHeart-in-the-Lodge, all a mistake → online text (page 1 of 4)
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'All a Mistake







(A "Dakota" Mating-Dance Song, in the "Dakota" time-
rythm. Each fifth line a male voice solo repeat.)

The big Man-in-the-Moon is liigh leaping,
The gay tomtom is drumming quick time;

The glad stars dance a polka.

Over rose-clad Dakota;
The Missouri is singing sweet chime;
Ha-ha-ha, ha, the tomtom's quick time,
Ha-ha-ha, ha, the river's sweet chime;
Hah'-ha-ha-, ha, Dakota, ha ha.

The young maidens are coming shy tripping.
Who is shooting the love-waking darts,

In the starlight so ready,

With his bowstring so steady.
To awaken the maidens' sweet hearts?
Ha-ha-ha, ha, the love-waking darts,
Ha-ha-ha, ha, maidens' sweet hearts;
Hah'-ha-ha-, ha, Dakota, ha ha.

The big Man-in-the-Moon is sly peeping.
At the summertime love-waking star;

He is slapping his knee,

He is shouting in glee,
"Love is better than war-cUibs, ha ha!"
Ha-ha-ha, ha, the love-waking star;
Ha-ha-ha, lia, Dakota, ha, ha,
Hah'-ha-ha-, ha, Dakota, ha ha.

— A. McG. Beede.

mn 2 I9l5



Thanks to all for the kind reception of mj^ "Sitting Bull-
Custer" (out of print till another edition).

This drama, Heart-in-the-Lodge, is not difficult to play.
Players, generally, should be of the race before whom the
playing is done.

Do not misunderstand the tent scene in "Curtain I." No
violence was done the men in the tent. I have written the
scene faithfully.

The men of Ellendale heard the Indians tell the story of
the "Whitestone Battle," on which this drama is based. The
conference was long with questions freely asked and answer-
ed. Living with these Indians, I have heard their free con-
versations about the battle, enough to make books.

Did they intend "to make a night attack on Sully's army?"
One who knows them will not believe it. Under any circum-
stances they would not make a night attack when "the moon
was not right," and at this time "the moon was not right."

They had no part in the "Minnesota Massacre" in '62. They
were at home planting and harv^esting and hunting meat and
wild fruits by the Missouri River, where they had lived for
125 years. Their tribal motto was "Quit war, plant the fields"
(Wokicizeayustan, wozupo).

After the massacre a desire for revenge obsessed White peo-
ple. A murder by an Indian is chargeable to all Indians and
is unforgivable. The first book published in America (1634)
speaks of Indians as generally peacable. One hundred years
later an Indian murdered a White man in Groton, Mass., and
so a bounty was offered for Indian scalps. "Captain" Love-
well was soon paid eleven bounties. The purpose was to
scare Indians out of New Hampshire and Maine so the fron-
tier could expand.

After the "Minnesota Massacre" General Sibley went from
Minnesota west pursuing the retreating Santee (Sioux) In-
dians till they escaped across the Missouri. General Sully
went from the south up the Missouri to cut off their escape
across the river. Poor man, he was late, and so the Santees
escaped. Sibley's promptness left Sully late. Sully's boats
perplexed him. The Missouri was^.'low water," and he lacked
the civilian boldness to let a few hundred detached horsemen

go on ahead living from buffalo meat, frontier stj^le. This
would have trapped the Santees, for their warriors had no
discipline. It was 13 years later when 400 Sioux with Gall and
400 Sheyennes with Crazy-Horse had sufficient discipline to hurl
themselves onto Custer as a unit, and 900 warriors with Red-
Cloud fought Crook to a standstill with his 1900 "regulars."
Indians were learning discipline when the failure of buffalo
meat and starvation made them "reservation Indians."

Sully knew Pope would blame him — and he did. What
could he do but take any Indian trail he saw and find some
Indians? The Hunk-pa-ti (Sioux) Indians had recently gone
from Long Lake (down river from Bismarck), where Sully
had now arrived, to Bigstone Lake, 20 miles northwest of
Ellendale. He saw their trail and took it. Up to this day
these Indians had not had any trouble with White men. Now
they will have trouble enough. The drama tells the story.
It is to be plaj'ed by a community, unmindful of "the audi-

Several men now living heard SuUj^ say, "The battle was
all a mistake." Sil)ley was a resolute frontiersman, inclined
to be over-prompt. He sav/ the necessity for order and gov-
ernment, though he knew justice for Indians was impossible.
I understand he said, "Bad faith on the part of some White
people has caused this uprising, and now I am sent out to
kill Indians." Indians knew^ him personally, and they say
lie was not "a man with murder in his heart." General Sil)-
ley had no part in the attack on these Hunk-pa-ti Indians and
the "Whitestone Battle."



The Scene. A tall granite shaft erected on a hill twenty
miles northwest of Ellendale, N. D., is visible from a long dis-
tance away. Here the Hunk-pa-ti Indians (a Sioiiian tribe)
were in their summer home around "Bigstone Lake."

The stage has tents clearly visible on the right, with peo-
ple, children and dogs, and campfires by them.

In the center of the stage, back from the front, beneath a
skeleton wicker booth, there are four singers witli a tom-
tom and a drummer, who occasionally taps the tomtom, and
conversation is free.

An old Indian enters, starts "tlie sacred fire" with cedar-
tree twigs at the right of the booth. With arms outstretched,
palms down, he gesticulates with arms and bending body to-
ward "the sacred fire," then with palms upward, and so erect
that he bends backward, he gesticulates reverently toward the
heavens. Then he disappears, leaving "the sacred fire" to
quickly burn out.

As the "Fire-maker" retires the old l)lind "Herald" enters,
calling out musically. He goes around the stage, leaving where
he appeared. He supports himself with a cane in his right
hand, and a little girl leads him by a cane in his left hand.

OLD BLIND HERALD (sonorously)

Ho-po, ho-po! The buffalo dance, the sacred
biifTalo dance! The living shadow, moving, glid-
ing, marks the time. Listen, listen, hast<% haste!
The dancing and singing make human hear Is
kind. The tomtom quick music gives people good-
cheer. Haste, haste! Great Spirit draws near.
Dance merrily, sing cheerfully. Softly and ten-
derly, loudly, courageously, the tomtom sweet
music goes up to the sky.

(Many phrases are repeated.)

As the blind "Herald" leaves, the tomtom music and the
singing start, softly at first and then louder with a rythm-
accent impressing one with the sense of vastness. And the


men and women (normally in pairs), glide onto and around
the siage from rignt to left, and just before the circle is
completed Hiyoke darts to the center, by the booth. The cir-
cle now formed, they dance in a gliding sidestep movement
round and round while all, especially the women, dance up
and down with the elasticity of their bodies, as a Prussian
lady curtseys. The dancing, at first soft and easy, quickly
takes on energy in harmony with the sense of vastness in
the tomtom music. Hiyoke and the singers sing without
words, but when the dance has full "swing" and energy, Hi-
yoke with gestures sings in words.

HIYOKE (singing)

The hail came doAvn like rolling stars.

The waterfloods were pouring.

The lightning leaped across the fields,

The rushing winds were roaring.

The pumpkins, corn and beans and flowers

Were gone before we knew it.

The oaktree, groaning, leapt and fell

Where laughing whirlwinds blew^ it.

The buffalo, our sacred friends.

Will give us meat enough.

When winter storms are blowing cold.

And northwinds leap and puff.

Look, look, the piles of buffalo meat,

Too big for eyes to measure!

When winter fires are burning bright,

This food will give us pleasure.

(The "Fire-man" has slipped into the circle, and standing
where the fire was, he gesticulates as before, and all the peo-
ple sing the following together in words, with prolonged pro-
nounciation, and a musical "hold" at the end of each phrase.)

The buffalo, the buffalo,

The sacred buffalo;

The buffalo, the buffalo,

We praise, we praise the buffalo!

(A pause in the singing, but not in the dancing, while the
"Fire-maker" again gesticulates, then all join in the follow-
ing. Each half-line has two mellow tomtom strokes, and a
sharp pause.)



The sacred lire. The sacred fire,
Up high, up high — still higher, higher;
He gives us Life — ^He is our Sire,
The Life, the lire — the sacred fire!

(A messenger rushes in calling sonorously with the voice-
tone of the scared coyotes. (The coyotes were the Indians'
"outer guard watchdogs.") As the messenger reaches the
scene, he turns looking away and cries out.

MESSENGER (loudly intoning)

Ho-o-o-o ! Ho-o-o-o ! (Music and dance stop.)


What! What is it?

MESSENGER (sonorously)

The enemy! The enemy!


We have no enemies.

xMESSENGER (with all energy)

The enemy! The enemy! The enemy! Look!
Look away on the hill! I see them. I feel them!

OLD MAN (looking)

They are White people, always friendly to our


Look, see the shadow-men coming on ahead of
them! They look grim! They mean evil! They
fill me with fear! The sacred dance gave me a
vision (wihanbde). I was sleeping when one of
their shadows came and tried to kill me. The
enemy! The enemy! Get ready to fight, or make
haste to flee!


Yes, they may mean us harm. Everything has
changed since the massacre in Minnesota by the
Santees. We hear that the White people have


gone crazy, and their hearts arc full of murder.
Two old Santees have come to us from Minnesota.
They say that when the White men were hauling
Santees in carts to hang them, the White women
were so crazy that they stahhed them with knives,
cut them with hatchets and poured hoiling water
onto them. Perhaps our old friends, the White
men, are coming here to do us harm.

CHIEF TW^O-BEAh (who has arrived)

We will send messengers, to iind out what they
want. Have them come and dance wdth us, and
feast with us, and sing with us, and smoke the
sacred i)ipe with us, and then their hearts will
feel good. Unless they are worse than Tetons
we can make peace with them, if we are hearty
and careful.


We will give them blankets and food to carry


And give them a few of our sacred things to
make them feel peacable.

HIYOKE (singing and dancing)

Don't give white men our sacred turtles
To make their wives still more prolific;
For their unmeasured big tent-circles
Already make them feel bombastic.

(A woman hits Hiyoke with a stick, and he darts away,
soon reappearing and listening.)


If these White men are making war on the
Santees, have them come and see, see with their
eyes that we are tiot Santees. We are Hunk-pa-ti.
We are corn-raisers like the Mandans and the
Arikaras. (Arikara means Cornsheller.)




See, see! What is it to see? Mad men can-
not see. Men believe what they feel in their
hearts. Goodness in the heart is like the rain-
bow, it makes the earth green, and the clouds


Young men are here. Let us go and find out
what these White men want.


And old men will go witli you also. Be friend-
ly in the meeting, but do not show fear. If they
want clothing and food, we will give it to them.
If they want a battle we will flee away. All to
your tents and make ready. Let the "Herald" call
out the orders.

(All leave the stage but tlie Chief and a few more. The old
blind "Herald," moving and led as before, calls out in a musi-
cal stentorian voice. (I have heard such an Indian "Herald"
two miles.)

HERALD (calling sonorously)

At-ten-tion! At-ten-tion ! All to the tents! All
to the tents! Haste, haste! Each family pack up
the few best things! Save the things on which
our life depends! Make ready! Make ready!
Hasten like birds Hying to the woods before a cy-
clone coming! Help the old people! Help wom-
en with babies! Helj) lame people! Do not for-
get the sacred things! Do not forget the house-
hold turtles! Do not forget the bows and bow-
strings! Do not forget the fire-flints! Do not
forget young babies in the cradles! Do not for-
get the little dogs too young to bark! And if you
flee, do not forget the old l^lind "Herald."

(A few men enter, joining the Chief and his men.)

You ten men will go as messengers. Others will
Follow and remain nearby. Make haste. Be
careful and wise. Show no fear.


(The ten men depart, leaving the Chief with three men on
the stage. A youth comes running, out of breath.)


Three White men just in sight out of a ravine
are coming straight to our village. Some think
they are old trappers, and some think they are
spies from the army of White men.


Open wide this tent right here. We will be
friendly with them.

(They lift up the side of one of the tents. As the men come
the young men shake hands with them awkwardly, and an
old man embraces each White man old Indian style, by throw-
ing arms around nis shoulders and rubbing his face on the
White man's face (Poskin yuza). The Wnite men awkward-
ly return this Poskin-yuza salutation. The White men, with
sign language, are seated in the rear part of the tent, the
place of honor. All leave the tent but the Chief. A little In-
dian girl, a child, comes to the White men, bringing plums
which they receive, and give her pretty trinkets. They pet
the child, and the Chief with moist eyes and a smile points
to Great Spirit, to his heart and to their hearts, because this
petting the child is, as he supposes, a pledge that they have
no evil intent to the Indians' homes.)


Slic is pretty and sweet as a rose.


She makes me think of my little girl at home.


It's wicked to l)()ther these poor devils; why not
let them alone?


Well, how many warriors are there do you
think? We must do our spying. That's what we
are here for.


I don't see anything looks like a man spoiling
for a fight. •




There's nothing round here looks much like a


They simply want to be let alone, that's about
the size of it.


What the devil's the use trying to make White
men out of them. Why not give them a piece of
this big country and let them be Indians?

(The child leaves the tent and the man who has spoken of
his little girl at home sheds a tear. Old Indians enter and
make "the sacred fire." Then the oldest man lights the sac-
red pipe and holds it to the Heavens and to the Earth and to
the West, North, East, and South. Then, when he has taken
a couple of whiffs, the pipe goes to the Chief and to each of
the old men, who take a couple whiffs. W^hile this is going
on the White-men, knowing tliey are not understood by In-
dians, converse.)


What sort of a heathen ceremony is this?


Safer to keep out of it. It seems mighty sol-


They'll have me married to a squaw before 1
know it. I've heard of such things. If I was
unmarried I wouldn't mind it, with that sweet
little girl thrown in.

(They offer the sacred pipe to the white men who gently
refuse it with hand gestures. The Indians pointing to the
Great Spirit and to their hearts, urge the White men to take
the pipe, but they refuse it, thus putting themselves in the
attitude of spies who have been bold even to the point of
sharing the tent, while not wanting peace. Again they are
urged to take the pipe, but they refuse it. Then the Indians
show anger. Other j^oung Indians come, in anger. The White
men attempt to leave their seats, but are not allowed to do
so. The pipe is laid before their feet, indicating Divine



wrath to them if tncy make war after accepting the hospital-
ity of the home. Tomahawks ;>■•" hrandished in their faces,
Indians come with Hudson Bay axes, and whet them before
their faces. They are offered the pipe once more, and when
they refuse it, it is laid at their feet, and as all the Indians
but a half dozen go out, the tent is closed tight.)

HIYOKE (looking, dancing and singing)

The messengers will not go far,

The White men come this way;
Their flag has many a stripe and star,

And they are quick and gay.
Perhaps the "Captain's" voice is wheezy

From sleeping out of doors.
And so he wants to hear my singing

To cheer him while he snores.
But ril not go to see the captain,

I'll let him come to me.
For I can sing the old songs hetter

Beside my own tepee.

(Hiyoke looks awaj', and then hides behind a bush. A
"Captain" and soldiers and a half-blood Indian interpreter en-
ter. Indian messengers enter and meet them, awkwardly
shaking hands with tlie White men.j

AX LXDIAX (to the Captain")

What do our friends, the White men want?
We wish to make them Iiappy.

IXTEHPHKTEK ( officiously)

The "Ca])tain" does not know your language. 1
know 3^om^ language and the ''Captain's" language.
I am the interpreter. The "Captain" tells me
what to say. What are you doing here?


We are getting ready for winter.


The storms destroyed our fields hy the Missouri
Biver. There were never such storms hefore. We
must get ready for winter, and may Great Spirit
help us. ^




We are looking for Santees who made the mas-
sacre in Minnesota.


Why do you turn away from following the
Santees and come here to us? We are not San-
tees, we are Hunk-pa-ti.


Are there any Indians hesides Hunk-pa-ti In-
dians here?


Yes, there are thirty Yankton Indians here.
They have come to hunt with us. Big-Head is
their Chief. Do you wish to see him?


Who is your Chief? What other Indians are
here besides Yanktons? Where were you last be-
fore you came here?


A wolf has a head, and a body and a tail. When
a man asks three questions in one breath, he is
like a wolf humped up into a badger to deceive
prairie dogs and catch them.


Answer the questions. The "Captain" demands


You followed our trail from Long Lake. Why do
3^ou ask where we came from? You know we
are Hunk-pa-ti by our faces, tell it to the "Cap-
tain." You know our Chief is Two-Bear, tell that
to the "Captain."


There are two Santees here; they are with me
in my tent. Does the "Captain" wish to see them
with his eyes?




Oil, Santees with you! This looks suspicious.

A YOUNG INDIAN (angrily)



No doubt they ran away to you from Minne-
sota, after tliey helped kill women and children in
their houses!


They are old men. One is lame in both legs,
one is blind in one eye, and he has a goitis on his
neck. It makes him breath, "e-e-he-e-e-he-e-e-he,"
when he walks. I don't see how he can run. He
couldn't kill a jackrabbit unless the jackrabbit at-
tacked him.


Oh, yes, perhaps they became disabled (hunke-
sni) fighting in Minnesota. What other wounded
Santees have you here?


These two are all. They are all we picked up.
Old men, old men! Old men "hi-hi-hi-hi-hi-you"
in the twilight, and think of the good land
(makoce-waste) where Great Spirit is merciful.
Old men do not fight!


We found them over beyond the James i liver
starving. Great Spirit told us to feed theiv fliey
say they left Minnesota as fast as they could last
spring, because they were afraid White-men
would kill them.

INTERPRETER (emphatically)

And what other Santees have you taken hi out
of pity?

OLD INDIAN (sharply)

No, these two are all. They are all we found.
If we had found more starving men, we should

14 •


have given them food. This is Great Spirit's law.
Does not the "Captain" know Great Spirit's law?


The "Captain" knows his own business. A holy
man put holy water on his head, and that makes
him wise and religious. Have you seen Santees
fleeing away before the big army of General Sib-


No, we did not see it. Some of us up north
hunting saw the big army of White men going
back home, and the Santee warriors were follow-
ing them.


And did 3^our warriors help the Santee war-
riors ?


We have no warriors. Great Spirit taught us a
song (singing) : "Leave off war, till the soil, till
the soil." (Okicize ayustan po, wo ju po, wo ju po).


We have no war feast. Instead of the war feast
we have "The Feast of Corn," which we learned
from the Mandans.


You have war songs, don't lie !


No, we have no war songs. We know a few war
songs which men from other tribes sing. In the
old times our fathers had war songs.


Since we have forgotten our war songs, we
have no wars, except a few quarrels which are
nothing. The music of the Missouri River run-
ning past our fields, and the music of the corn
growing in our fields is sweeter than war songs.




We have no guns, except eighteen curious tilings,
some way so long — and some so short (using
hands and arms), and we cannot make fire in
them. We hunt with bows and arrows.


Where did you get these eighteen guns?


From Santees.


When 3^ou were up north hunting?


Yes, they gave us these guns when we gave them
buffalo meat and pemmican.


Why did they give you guns instead of other


Why does a fox want meat and not grass, tell
me that. When a man makes a present he gives
whatever he wants to.


You talk like an Indian.


You try to talk like a wise man. How does any
man know why a man or a beast or a bird wants
one thing and does not want another thing?


You may have the eighteen guns if you need
them. They are rusty and old. We like to look at
them, but you may have them if you think the
Santees stole them.


Did the Santees give you any other presents?




Yes, they gave my son some strange tilings.


Strange things; what are tliey?


I don't know. I tliink they are sacred tilings
which White people use in worship. They are
round like stars. They are yellow like the sun-
set, and each one has a man on it like the man in
the sun.


Give them to me.

(The old Indian gives him an envelope with gold coins and
gold-dust in it. The Interpreter passes them to the "Captain,"
and he and the "Captain" converse in a low tone.)


Where did these things come from?


I thought White people knew where they came
from. We do not know. We think they fell down
from the stm, and dust crumbled off when they
Iiit the earth.


Now the "Captain" is sure that you are wicked,
wicked people, or you would not have these
tilings. Tell the truth, where did you get them?


I told you the Santees gave them to my son.
He gave a wounded Santee his horse, because he
pitied him, and he gave him these strange things.
If it is wicked to have them we will throw them
away, or else the storms may destroy our fields




These things were stolen from a boat eoniing
down the Missouri River a month ago, just after
General Sibley's army turned baek from pursu-
ing the Santees. All the white people in the boat
were killed, men women and children. The boat
was sunk in the river. You people must have
done that wicked deed. Tell us the truth.


No, we do not want such things. We do not
use such things. We do not have boats. We

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Online LibraryA. McG. (Aaron McGaffey) BeedeHeart-in-the-Lodge, all a mistake → online text (page 1 of 4)