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THE LAST WINTER OF THE GHOST ROAD by Lonna Blodget

The death winter came and was deep
With white on the purple mountain
The Tiwahe’, the Standing Rock People
Begged for warm fires from Iktinie the Sun Spirit
Our mouths were hungry and bodies were weak
 
 
Iya’ the Snow Monster had taken us farther to the south
To follow Capa the Beaver Spirit
A long journey into early winter’s night
For there was much labor to keep warm in our Thipi’
Our mouths were hungry and bodies were weak
 
 
When Iwoblu the Winter Storm whispered his cold story
To the Aicita, the Ghost Messenger
She tricked Mathohota the Grizzly Spirit with her wailing
To haunt the sky with growling winds
Our mouths were hungry and bodies were weak
 
 
The Wahupakoza escaped on icy feathers
Stirring the winds with their flight of fears
And within the SunOthi’ earth dens, the wolves Sungmanitu’
Howled with their starvation
Our mouths were hungry and bodies were weak
 
 
The stone figured buffalo, Wankan Tanka’s, blood was cursed
With ice and their coats were bitten with Heyumka
Mothers were caged in the hard frost, while their calves fell and died
Our mouths were hungry and bodies were weak
 
 
Gleska Wowayazan, the spotted sickness, harvested our souls
We were prisoners of Wichat A’ the sickness that takes all
Our boldest warriors, Zuya Whichsa’ were taken from us
To follow the Wanagi’, the spirits of departed human beings
Far to the Milky Way to stand before Hihankara’ the judge of souls
Our mouths were hungry and bodies were weak
 
 
We mourned and chanted for the loss of our children Wasigla’!
And the People of Standing Rock wept AcheyA’ in dreams
Of earth warmth and filled bellies of mothers and children
Our mouths were hungry and bodies were weak
 
 
It was the last winter of the ghost road
I am White Buffalo Calf Woman,
I am the keeper of words and I tell you now so that you will know
 
 
 
Glossary:
Tiwahe’ – Lakota tribe known as the Standing Rock People
Iktinie – Lakota Sun spirit
Iya’ – The Snow Monster that brings ferocious winter
Capa – The Beaver spirit of industriousness and work
Thipi’ – Earthen mound dwelling
Iwoblu – Severe Winter Storm
Aicita – The Ghost Messenger
Mathohota – The Grizzly Spirit
Wahupakoza – Birds
SunOthi – Wolves den
Sungmanitu – Wilderness Dog (wolves, coyote)
Wankan Tanka – Buffalo/Great Spirit
Heyumka – Hard Frost
Gleska Woayazan – Spotted Sickness (Small Pox)
Wichat A’ – Epidemic
Zuya Whichsa’ – Honored Warriors
Wanagi’ – Spirit of Departed Souls
Hihankara’ – the Owl Maker and Guardian of the Sky Road
Wasigla’ – to mourn
AcheyA – To cry for the dead


 

 

Lonna Blodget Author

Lonna Blodget lives on the cental coast of California. She is retired.