Monday, May 14, 2012

The Finish, A View of Western North Dakota before much Development

"Verendrye Meets The Mandans" by Clell Gannon. Photo by Brian R. Austin, State Historical Society of North Dakota. The painting is on display in the south vestibule of the Burleigh County courthouse. Visitors will need to acquire permission to photograph the paintings.
"The Finnish" By Clell Gannon
A View Of Western North Dakota
Uploaded by Dakota Wind
BISMARCK, N.D. - Clell Gannon, born in Wisner, NB and raised in North Dakota, was a geologist, horticulturist, artist, and photographer. Some of his work can be viewed today in the south vestibule of the Burleigh County courthouse. In his youth, Gannon spent some considerable time rafting the Little Missouri River and Missouri River. There's some part of Gannon that never left the North Dakota Badlands. His poem is a reflection of the western North Dakota he intimately knew and deeply loved.

The Finish
by Clell Gannon

When the final page is written in the hist’ry of the West,
And the cowboy and the Redmen have all gone beyond the crest
Of the hills that rim the skyline unto other lands unguessed,
- Why, I don’t want to be there.

When the last he-man dies bravely with the leather on his feet,
When the last coyote has hollered and has made a fast retreat,
When the trail is strung with fences and the wreck is all complete,
- Why, I don’t want to be there.

When the West is stuck with bill-boards and the roads are slick and fine,
And when every sunny acre wears a bloomin’ Keep Off sign,
When they’re playing golf instead of riding broncos – I resign,
- And, I don’t want to be there.

When the signs on every corner tell you just which way to go,
And when every man’s a stranger, which he isn’t now,
you know,
And the weatherman will tell you how tomorrow’s wind will blow,
- Why, I don’t want to be there.

When they’ve tamed it, and shamed it, when they’ve put it up for sale,
And the final chapter’s written, why I’ll find someplace where the hungry buzzards sail.
- ‘Cause that’s where I want to be.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Waniyetu Ehanna, Sung Noni Ota Kin: A Long Time Ago, They Saw Horses, 1692

A horse emerges from a swirl in the river according to the story, as pictographed.
Waniyetu Ehanna, Sung Noni Ota Kin
Long Ago They Saw Many Horses, 1692
By Dakota Wind
BISMARCK, N.D. - A few months ago I was asked to draw a pictograph of the arrival of the horse. I was also working on a short essay about the sense of place that the Dakota and Lakota people have for the Northern Great Plains. I want to share with you reader the picture I drew on ledger graph paper.

It is more than just a picture. The words on the top right say, "Waniyetu ehanna, Sung noni ota kin." In English this means, "A log time ago, They saw many horses." The text is lifted from the John K Bear Winter Count, a Pabaska Ihanktowana (Cuthead Yanktonai) Dakota winter count. The year that they saw horses for the first time was 1692.

The words on the left half of the picture at a nintey degree angle are a prayer, the Lord's Prayer:
Ate unyapi Mahpiya ekta nanke cin, Nicaje wakanlapi nunwe. Nitokiconze u nunwe. Mahpiay ekta nitawacin econpi kin, he iyecel maka akanl econpi nunwe. Anpetu ihohi aguyapi kin, anpetu kin le unqu piye. Na tona ecinsniyan ecaunkicinpi wicaunkicicajujupi kin, he iyecel waunhtanipi kin unkiciajujupiye. Na taku wawiyutanye cin ekta unkayapi sni piye; Tka taku sice etanhan eunklaku piye; Wokiconse kin, na wowasake kin, na wowitan kin hena ohinniyan naohinniyan nitawa heon. Amen.

Here's a link to the article and my pictograph as it appears in this magazine. The other articles are worth reading too. The majority of the content of this issue of the On Second Thought magazine focus on the current changes facing the western half of the state and the impact of the oil development there.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sacagawea, Sakakawea, Sacajawea

"Sacagawea," by Michael Haynes.
Sacagawea, Sakakawea, Sacajawea
Imagery About Historical Figure

By Dakota Wind
GREAT PLAINS - Some time back I posted an explanation about the name of the young native mother who accompanied the Corps of Discovery from Knife River to the west coast. What is her name? How is it really pronounced? These are a couple of questions that people pose as though knowing her name means knowing who she was.

Of interest to some people is how she looked or dressed, even what kind of cradle board she put Pomp in, or if she just carried her baby in a sling on her back.

Artist Andrew Knudson painted this scene (above) of the Corps of Discovery entering Black Cat's Village (present-day Stanton, ND), a Mandan Indian village.

Vern Erickson created this scene (above) he called "Sacagawea, Lewis, Clark." Sacagawea is almost always portrayed with her baby boy Pomp, an American icon as inseparable as macaroni and cheese.

H. Charles McBarron painted this wonderful painting (above) titled "Lewis and Clark at Mandan Village, 1804." A beautiful picture with a wonderful attention to detail on the Mandan Indians clothes and Sacagawea's clothes. The State Historical Society of North Dakota has a commentary card accompanying this painting, drawing viewers' attention to the portrayal of Sacagawea, a view from behind and without her husband and without her baby. My commentary is this: Why is Sacagawea in a Mandan village?

"Corps of Discovery at a Knife River Village," by Vernon W. Erickson (above). There's very few Hidatsa Indians pictured in this painting, and most of those are painted as an afterthought or as ghosts. The only real detail is in the Corps of Discovery, a couple of Hidatsa, Charboneau, and Sacagawea. Sacagawea might take direct center stage in this painting, but her likeness was rendered closer to that of a twelve year old girl or else a ninety year old grandmother. York, Captain William Clark's slave since they both were children, is portrayed wearing what appears to be a dress uniform.

Mink (Hannah Levings) of the Arikara, Hidatsa, Mandan Nation posed for Orin G. Libby as one of the most famous American Indian women, Sacagawea.

During the centennial celebration of the Corps of Discovery, the State of North Dakota wanted to honor Sacagawea. A few paintings were commissioned and sold to raise money for a Sacagawea statue. A young native woman and her baby were selected to serve as the model for the statue.

The Sakakawea statue (above) as it stood on the Bismarck capital grounds in 1906.

At one point, the state of North Dakota had even considered erecting a massive statue in the likeness of Sacagawea along Interstate 94.

Personally, I think it should have been built looking east towards Washington DC.