American Culture (BD Shadow)

Native American Culture 
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A Sacred Story

This story was sent to us by Peaceseeker, who said it is a true story that came to him from "beyond the mists," perhaps from an Ancestor.

Thunderbird Art by SilverHawk: Click Here for more Art

The Giant Bird

By Llewellyn Clark - Peaceseeker

How long ago was it?

It was only yesterday, as time is told in the old stories, before the coming of the white man. It was a time when "The People" lived with respect for all living things. It was a time when "Yah na see", the mighty Buffalo, still roamed the great plains of this vast land, a time when Brother Wolf still howled at Grandmother Moon in the night. It was also a time of change, as the white man was building a road across the land for his Iron Horse.

It was late in the afternoon; Wakan Tanka was watching the Mighty Buffalo on the land below. There was stillness in the air and the smell of rain. The clouds in the distance said that Mother Earth would soon be replenished with rain and there was the smell of danger in the air. If you listened carefully you could hear the sound of Thunder in the distance. As Father Sun moved closer to the edge of the world, the sky darkened, lightning played among the clouds and Old Man Thunder roared with a mighty voice. The Mighty Buffalo lifted their heads from grazing and gathered their young about them. The young calves moved closer to their mothers as thunderbolts filled the sky. The herd milled aimlessly and watched with fear and with anger knowing that death was near at hand.

There was the sound of a mighty wind and a dark shadow crossed over the land. The Bird of Thunder dropped lower over the edge of the herd and a young calf was lifted into the air. Soon other shadows dropped near the earth and more of the young calves were taken. Lightning streaked across the sky and the voice of Old Man Thunder spoke with a vengeance. The Mighty Birds that brought the storm disappeared in the distance as Mother Earth opened her arms to receive the rain. The herd returned to their grazing now that the danger was past. Again the Mighty Thunderbird had stolen from the herd and loosed another storm upon the land. Everything was as it should be, the herd had grown too large and Mother Earth had needed the rain.

Bison from Sonny's 
Native American GifsBison from Sonny's 
Native American Gifs
As the Giant Birds disappeared into the distance, "She Who Ran Away", a young heifer with her second calf gave thanks to Wakan Tanka that this calf had been spared. Her first calf had been given to the Thunder Birds. Many of her friends had also lost their offspring to these storm bringers and spoke often of the ache this had instilled in their hearts. She thought again of the pain she had suffered at this great loss and gave another silent prayer that this would happen no more. "She Who Ran Away" prayed this prayer with a pure heart and asked only to improve life for the herd and for future generations. Sometimes prayers are best not prayed.

The road for the Iron Horse was cutting deeply into the plains and many white men were filling the land. Many times in their migration the Mighty Buffalo herds had to cross these iron tracks to better grazing. The white man, not knowing Mother Earth, found great sport hunting many of the herd members as they traveled near the Iron Horse. The white man took the hides of these Buffalo east in his journey and found they were worth much barter. Soon many white men came and slaughtered all the Buffalo, leaving Mother Earth strewn with the carnage, a graveyard filled with the bleached bones of a once mighty race. "Yah na see" had disappeared from the land.

Sweetgrass County
Photo by Durell Johnson
Old Man Winter had lost his hold on the land. The North Wind was weak from his long stay and soon would be the time to plant. Where once the lands rolled like the sea with the Mighty Buffalo, there was only grass. The birds of the air had finished their winter sojourn in the south and would soon be returning to the land. The Giant Thunderbirds would soon be bringing the storms and rain to feed the new growths. Every year the Giant Birds returned to the north to build their nests in the high places and bring their young into the world. As the Thunderbirds moved over the plains and looked upon the Earth, they found that the Buffalo were no more. Without the Buffalo there was not enough food for these Mighty Giants and many died on their journey to the north. So few reached the nesting area that only a few chicks were hatched this season. The loss of these mighty herds made migration very difficult and many of the young birds died on their way south that fall. Soon they were no more. Wakan Tanka looked down and cried.

Author's Note:
There have been several sightings in the last few years of a very large bird with a wingspan of over 20 feet. It has been estimated that a bird of this size would be capable of lifting a young buffalo calf off the ground.
Any bird this large would need a large thermal updraft to help hold it aloft in any long flight. There is almost always a large thermal updraft in front of a moving storm. This would of course give the impression that these large birds, "Thunder Birds", were bringing the storm with them. Hence the name, "Thunder Birds". The loss of the Buffalo would have a devastating effect on the migratory habits of a bird of this size.

My Sister helped me with a few of the names. My thanks to her.
This story was partly inspired by a program on the Discovery Channel.

Above story, "The Giant Bird" Copyright by Llewellyn Clark, Peaceseeker - All rights reserved.
Llewellyn Clark, Peaceseeker

Featherbar Art by SilverHawk: 
Click Here for more Art

"Let us continue to honor that which
remains only in our dream memory."

The haunting composite picture Anaja
from the Screensaver "Spirits in the Wind." Thank You

The "Thunderbird" gif and the Featherbar are from
Sam Silverhawk's Native American Graphics
Thank You Sam!

The small Bison.gif is copyright by Sonny Del Castillo. Thank You.

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