Remembering Native American Leader Walking Buffalo

Death may claim our wise brother but the words of Walking Buffalo, Tatanga Mani, live on.

| September/October 1970

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    Death claimed our wise brother Walking Buffalo December 26, 1967, and the entire world mourned. Any fool can be quarrelsome and belligerent. Being half good and half bad takes neither effort nor skill. But being a man of peace requires bravery.
    Photo courtesy of Da Na Waq

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March 20, 1871—a great day in Morley, Alberta. It was on that day that little Tatanga Mani (Walking Buffalo) was born. In the years that followed, he was adopted by white missionary John McDougall, educated in white men's schools, returned to the reserve at Morley to advise and guide his people, and finally in his old age, was asked to act as an emissary of peace on behalf of the Canadian Government.  

Join our Stoney brothers and hear his words.  

"Nobody tries to make the coyotes act like beavers, or the eagles behave like robins. Christians see themselves as set apart from the rest of the animal and plant world by superiority, even as a special creation. Perhaps the principles of brotherhood which the world urgently needs come more easily to the Indian."  

"Do you know that trees talk? Well, they do. They talk to each other, and they'll talk to you, if you will listen. Trouble is, white people don't listen. They never listened to the Indians, and so I don't suppose they'll listen to the other voices in nature. But I have learned a lot from trees, sometimes about the weather, sometimes about animals, sometimes about the Great Spirit." 

"We were lawless people but we were on pretty good terms with the Great Spirit, creator and ruler of all. You whites assumed we were savages. You didn't understand our prayers. You didn't try to understand. When we sang or: praises to the sun or moon or wind, you said we were worshipping idols. Without understanding, you condemned us as lost souls just because our form of worship was different from yours."   

"We saw the Great Spirit's work in almost everything: sun, moon, trees, wind, and mountains. Sometimes we approached him through these things. Was that so bad? I think we have a true belief in the supreme being, a stronger faith than that of most of the whites who have called us pagans. The red savages have always lived closer to nature than have the white savages. Nature is the book of that great power which one man calls God and which we call the Great Spirit. But, what difference does a name make?"  

Don St. John
6/26/2011 3:21:36 PM

LISTENING TO A TREE How do you listen to a tree? Not with your ears, only— With all you are. A tree is: a presence to whom you open. a friend with whom you sit. a sage from whom you learn. To listen to a tree Is to return To original simplicity, Basic sanity-- Old Lao Tzu's “uncarved block." How do you listen to a tree? With hushed expectancy— As when a mother, awake in the dark, Listens for the infant’s cry. With soaring harmony-- As when a singer, losing self, Becomes the song. Losing self, Become the tree.

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