To Plenty Horses (first letter)

Dear Plenty Horses,


Why should you care what I think or feel about you?  I can’t stop regardless.  Everything seems at stake in bringing you to heart and mind.

You were set free and the world-to-come was locked up.
Why isn’t everyone on the planet formulating a sense of this, as if it were equivalent to 1492, electricity, the collapse of the Cold War, or some other consciously acknowledged paradigmatic shift?  Reasons are waiting for the light of day and a little fresh air, no matter how generically they appear within the simulated pluralism of public discourse.  They’re waiting to reactivate the moment.  They’re waiting to wake up, draw the curtains and open a window.
I was thrilled to learn of your exoneration but still lament the consequences of the verdict. It’s placed everything that matters on the margins of History.  Attempted genocide remains hidden within the foundations of the present. Pine Ridge Reservation continues to have the lowest life expectancy rates of the Western hemisphere outside Haiti.  The deregulated madness of frontier life continues unabated.
Did anything you were taught at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School matter in the end?  Reading a compass?  Potato farming?  Football?  The self-loathing some say you harbored?  None of it matters to me in siding with you and your actions.
It doesn’t matter if you were ashamed of your English accent, your institutionalized childhood compliance, your seething hatred of those Cheyenne Scouts trained and led by Lieutenant Edward W. Casey — right up until you put a bullet through the back of his skull.  It doesn’t matter how you saw them — perhaps as secret selves — these betrayers of the good ways, of faith in the Ghost Dance, bullet proof shirts and returning buffalo, these enemies of your people even before whites, guns, private property, disease and inadequate government rations.
It doesn’t matter if they were stealing away your future as they turned to leave that last camp, just past the Stronghold Table of the Badlands.
It doesn’t matter if you were trying to redeem yourself, if the Brule Lakota declared you a warrior, accepted you as a man, if you killed the enemy.  It doesn’t matter if you and everyone you cared about had no options left in life.
After Wounded Knee none of this mattered.  The elites of fortune knew it, and they still do.  If all was to be fair in war, you’d have to walk, and so would the child-butchering soldiers of the US Seventh Calvary.
For those who’ve truly benefited from the verdict, it remains best to never let the war end.  Not really.  Not ever.