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
….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Ottoe nation, …..when you accept his flag and medal, you accept therewith his hand of friendship, which will never be withdrawn from your nation as long as you continue to follow the councils, which he may command his chiefs to give you, and shut your ears to the council of the Bad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-