Tuesday, September 21, 2004

A Ponca Warrior Story

A Ponca Warrior Story....

What I tell you now was told to me by my relatives many years ago. There was a time when the warrior was the center of our tribal ways. It was said in the old days that in order to be a leader for the people, you had to be able to count to one hundred. I don't mean one, two, three. I mean the warrior would have to bring one hundred willow sticks, each one would represent a good deed or charitable gesture for the people. Can you imagine a society of leaders whose numbers were at one time in the hundreds, each one of them doing one hundred good things for the people? That is the way the Ponca lived before the time of Columbus, they were good to each other.

It is a tradition that has lived on, our values and cultural ways have withstood the test of time and has endured many hardships along the way. We need to always look to the future, we need to give those same values to our children by our own examples in life, showing them our traditional ways by living in them. How right and creditable is it then that this young Ponca boy in Delaware would want to emulate such traditions as this? We are indeed humbled and honored by his thought and gesture. When this food project is all said and done this young boy can count this project as one to his journey of one hundred good deeds. I myself only wish that it is the start of a way of life for him on his way to becoming a Hethuska member.

To me to be a Ponca Warrior is to try to have a way of life that puts the needs of the people first with humilty and compassion, having God, the Creator involved in all that you do. It is not just twice a year at a dance, it is a way of life and for many that is the way it is. Those are very important concepts and perspectives to our Native American way of life, spirituality, generousity and compassion. In every aspect of Ponca traditions, the Creator is involved in it and acknowledged. Today the Ponca Hethuska pray and dance every year and give away food and gifts to the people, keeping the traditions alive.