Exploring History

Fort Atkinson Walkway

Fort Atkinson Walkway

Fort Atkinson, Fort Calhoun, NE

Prairie grass still thrives here.

Mown, its rolls dot the long expanse

of green that leads the visitor to the fort.


Long plank walks and ax hewn walls

travel away from the eye until both

disappear into time and space.


Restored, rebuilt the old fort still

whispers through time.  One old

foundation remains close to the bluff.


From here you can see where Lewis

and Clark began the long expansion

west by holding council with the chiefs.


I look around at trees ruffling in the wind

and wonder why as a country we believed

the right of manifest destiny, our right


to all the land that stretched before us.

Believed too that the Native people

should simply give way before us.


Mown down like the fresh prairie grass,

the tribes were left to dry in the sun.

The wind of our passing scattered


the Native people to not-home lands,

to a life where honor was hard to find,

to a world so changed


it was home no more.

     Janice DeRuiter Eskridge  © 2014

Old Brick Foundation

Old Brick Foundation

Where Lewis & Clark Met with Otto-Missouria Chiefs

Where Lewis & Clark Met with Otto-Missouria Chiefs


….he has sent by us, one of his flags, a medal and some clothes, such as he dresses his war chiefs with, which he directd (sic) should be given to the great chief of the Ottoe nation, …..when you accept his flag and medal, you accept therewith his hand of friendship, which will never be withdrawn from your nation as long as you continue to follow the councils, which he may command his chiefs to give you, and shut your ears to the council of the Bad birds.”  Speech given by Lewis at the Council Bluff now Fort Atkinson, NE  

from the following link- 


About Winding Stream Press

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge, M.F.A. is a poet who worked for over a decade as a poet-teacher for California Poets in the Schools. Helen Shoemaker, Ph.D. L.M.F.T. is a university professor who teaches in the areas of child development and counseling. She is also a therapist in private practice.
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