I grew up on the Great Plains. Oklahoma.
Well. Sort of.
You see, I did not watch the Country Music Awards last night. Truth be told, I typically don’t watch any of the “Awards” shows, like the Oscars, or the Emmy’s, or the “any of them.” But I REALLY didn’t watch the CMA’s because I am not a huge fan of Country Music. I couldn’t name three Country Artists without a little help from Google right now.
Some of the songs are okay. But they mostly sound the same to me. The girl leaves. The dog dies. The screen door slams. And those country songs never get my jitter-into-bug-phase. I’m not sure why else I don’t like that genre, but that is what I was thinking about tonight.
Then. It hit me. I really don’t “warm up” to anything in the genre of “The Cowboy Way.” Not western movies, or rodeos. Not spurs or 10 gallon hats. Not the machismo. And mostly, not the music.
And that brings me back to the plains of Oklahoma, and the Dakotas, and even Montana. I roamed those parts. In my mind. When I was eight. With my sister.
We were Indians.
We played a lot of “make believe” games. Like Hercules, and Tarzan. Batman and Robin. Superman and Aquaman. But one of our “go-tos” was NOT Cowboys and Indians. It was just Indians.
I think we commiserated. The old movies always gave the Indians a bad rap. I somehow felt this was a falsity. A deception. There had to be more to “How.” Turns out, my instincts were right. Just like an Indian.
I was always a member of the Cheyenne Tribe. I don’t know how I picked this, at such a young age. Or where I was getting my information. But I was Cheyenne. Every time.
Their history is long and in-depth. I have read a little bit about them, in my adult-years. One thing is clear. Over the past 400 years, the Cheyenne have changed their lifestyles.
Way back in the 16th century…. they lived in the regions near the Great Lakes. Mostly Minnesota. They were farmers then too. Mainly things like corn, squash, and beans, and harvested wild rice. Farmers. Yep.
Then they found their friends, the horses. They became a great horse-people. As such…. it was around the early 18th century when they migrated west and started to hunt bison on the Great Plains. And then…. another notable point… they were key factors in The Battle of Little Big Horn. They had many enemies too. The White Man, for sure. But they also fought with the Crow, the Shoshone, Black Feet, and Nez Perce. And. By the mid-19th century, the US forced them onto reservations.
The Cheyene also had a culture of honor, which included “The Dog Soldiers.” They were the most famous of the Cheyenne warrior societies. They had this name because of a Cheyenne legend about dogs who turned into fierce warriors. They were like the Grand Poobahs of the Honorable. If there was trouble on the home front…. a Dog Soldier would stake his long belt to the ground. This was to show that he would not run away but would defend his people to the death.
Their closest allies were the Arapaho, with whom they often shared territory. And as for those enemies? Wellllll. …. those Plains Indian tribes treated war differently than European countries did.
They didn’t fight over territory but instead to prove their courage. So they didn’t do things, typically, like killing one another or destroying villages. Nope. Instead, their war customs included counting coup (touch an opponent in battle without harming him), stealing an enemy’s weapon or horse, or forcing the other tribe’s warriors to retreat. And then? They made peace with each other when they were done fighting. It all sounds more like a really big game of Tag.
But there I go again, yammering. I was going to tell you how we used to play “just” Indians. And how one day, we played with kids up the street…. who insisted on being Cowboys. We wouldn’t fight with them… we were just out riding our amazing horses that day. So one of the kids shot one of my other sisters with a BB gun. I’m not sure why she really got shot. But in my Indian head, it had something to do with horse rustling.
And that is why, I don’t really care much for Country Music. I’m pretty sure about that.
The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them. Ernest Hemingway
The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
The only source of knowledge is experience. Albert Einstein