Now, the VOA Special English program, PEOPLE IN AMERICA.
I'm Steve Ember. In the early days of the last century, anAmerican doctor wrote about the Native American people called theLakota or Sioux. His name was Charles Eastman. He was one of the fewpeople to ever win the trust of the old people. He could do thisbecause he too was a Lakota, Sioux. His Lakota name was Ohiyasa.
As a child he learned to ride ahorse. He learned to hunt. And he learned other skills that made theSioux great.
When Ohiyasa was fifteen years old he was sent to an Americanschool for Indian children. He was given the English name CharlesEastman. He did very well in school. He was chosen to go on tocollege and then to medical school. He returned to his tribe astheir medical doctor.
In the early part of the pastcentury, Charles Eastman saw that many of the old people were dying.He feared their history and culture would die with them. He talkedto many of the very old members of the Sioux. He put their wordsdown on paper.
One of these stories was about a famous Indian fighter named"Rain-in-the-Face." This is the story that Doctor Eastman wrote ...
About two months before the great Sioux warrior, Rain-in-the Facedied, I went to see him for the last time. "Friend," I said," Athome when the old men were asked to tell the brave things they haddone, the tobacco pipe was passed. So come, let us smoke now to thememory of the old days."
He took some of my tobacco andfilled his long pipe. The old man lay upon a small bed covered by ared blanket. He was all alone that day, only an old dog lay silentby his feet. Finally he looked up and began telling me about hislong life.
"I was born near the Cheyenne River about seventy years ago. Myfamily were not great chiefs, but they were good warriors and greathunters.
I was given the name "Rain-In-The-Face" as a young man. This wasafter a great battle when we were on a warpath against the GrosVentres tribe.
I had painted my face with warpaint that day. I had wished myface to represent the sun when partly covered with darkness鈥o Ipainted it half-black 鈥?half red.
We fought all day in the rain and some of the war paint on myface was washed away. Much of The black and red paint had runtogether鈥o I was given the name "Rain In-The Face." We Siouxconsidered it an honorable name."
As he told his story old Rain seemed to come alive. He smiled ashe talked. He seemed younger and his eyes shined.
One of the most daring attacks that we ever made was against thearmy base called Fort Totten in North Dakota. The fight took placein the summer of Eighteen-Sixty-Six. I had a special friend then.His name was Wapaypay. He was known to the white men as FearlessBear. He was the bravest man among us.
In those days Wapaypay and I called each other "Brother-Friend."This was a life and death promise among the Sioux. What one does theother must do and that meant that I must be with him in the attack.And, if he was killed, I must fight until I died also.
I prepared for death. I painted my face with my special sign鈥alfred鈥alf black. Now the signal for the attack was given. My horsestarted even with Wapaypay, but his horse was faster than mine.
This was bad for me. By the time I came close to the fort, thesoldiers had somewhat recovered from the surprise of our attack.They were aiming their guns more carefully.
Their guns talked very loud but hit few of us. Their guns werelike an old dog with no teeth who makes much noise and becomes moreangry the more noise he makes. ((small pause)))
How much harm we did 鈥 do not know. When the fight was finishedI saw blood on my leg. Both my horse and I were wounded.
I knew that Rain-in-the Face had taken part in two of the mostfamous fights with white soldiers. One of these fights was near anarmy fort named Fort Phil Kearny in Wyoming.
The other was the most famous battle between the Sioux and theAmerican Army. Rain-in- the-Face was in the battle against thefamous army general, George Armstrong Custer. That great battle tookplace near the Little Big Horn River. I asked him to tell me aboutthese two great battles.
We attacked a fort west of the Black Hills. The white soldierscalled it Fort Phil Kearny. It was there we killed almostone-hundred soldiers. They were commanded by a captain namedFetterman.
It was a big fight. Many famous chiefs were there -- Crazy Horse,Sitting Bull, Red Cloud. And many young warriors -- Sword, AmericanHorse, Crow King.
The plan for the battle was decided after many meetings. The maingroup would stay hidden from view and a few of the bravest young menwere chosen to attack a group of white men. These men were cuttingwood for the fort. We were told not to kill these men, but to chasethem back to the fort and then ride slowly away.
We did this. A large group of soldiers commanded by CaptainFetterman followed us! They thought we were only few in number. Weled them into the trap. It was a matter of a very few minutes beforeevery soldier lay dead.
The very next year we signed a peace treaty at Fort Rice in NorthDakota. Almost all the Sioux chiefs singed the treaty. The treatysaid all the country north of the Republican River in Nebraska,including the Black Hills and the Big Horn Mountains, was to beALWAYS Sioux country. No white man could go there without ourpermission.
After the treaty was signed, the white men found the yellow metalthey call gold in our country. They came in great numbers. Theychased away all the animals we hunted for food. We had no choice, sofor the last time we took up arms against them. No one honored thetreaty.
When the treaty failed, many hundreds of Sioux families movednorth to an area of that is now in the State of Montana.Rain-in-the-Face described what happened then.
In the Spring, the Sioux got together near the Tongue River. Itwas one of the greatest camps of the Sioux that I ever saw. SomeNorthern Cheyennes with us. And there were Santee Sioux from Canada.
We had decided to fight the white soldiers until no warriorshould be left. We crossed the Tongue River to the Little Big Horn.
I was eating my food one day when suddenly, the Long-HairedSoldier Chief called George Custer began to attack us. It was agreat surprise.
I heard a Sioux war cry. I saw a warrior riding his horse at stopspeed giving the warning as he came. Then we heard the sound ofsoldiers' guns. I seized my gun, my bow and arrows and my stone warclub. As I was about to go join the fight, I saw a group of soldiersnear us at the edge of a long line of cliffs across the small river.
We all got on our horses and immediately started toward thosesoldiers. We quickly began to surround the soldiers. When thesoldiers were surrounded on two sides, with the river on the third,the order came to attack.
The soldiers tried to ride the other way, but they could notleave. They fired their guns at us as fast as they could. We mostlyused bows and arrows.
The soldiers fought very bravely until they were killed. I hadalways thought that white men were not brave, but I had a greatrespect for them after this day.
No one knows who killed the soldier chief Long-Hair Custer. Manylies have been told about me. Some say I killed Custer or hisbrother Tom Custer that day.
Why, in that fight the excitement was so great that we could notrecognize our nearest friends. Everything was done as fast aslightning.
But that was long ago. I have lived in peace now for many, manyyears. No one can say Rain-in-the-Face has broken the rules. Ifought for my people and my country.
When we lost, I remained silent, as a warrior should. My warriorspirit died when I put down my weapons. Now, there is only my poorbody that has lived on. Now that too is almost ready to lie down forthe last time.
Ahhhhhh 鈥?It is well.
Rain-in-the-Face, one of the last of the great Sioux warriors,died at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota on SeptemberFourteenth, Nineteen-Oh-Five.
This Special English program was taken from the book "IndianHeroes and Great Chieftains" by Doctor Charles Eastman. Doug Johnsonwas the voice of Doctor Eastman; Shep O'Neal was the voice of Rainin the Face. Our program was produced by Caty Weaver. I'm SteveEmber. Join us again next week for another PEOPLE IN AMERICA programon the Voice of America.