Old Lodge Skins’ Prayer Of Thanksgiving

This didn’t have a chance to run yesterday. I’ll be back on the weekend.

In what is now a tradition, we present for Thanksgiving the death prayer of Old Lodge Skins, which comes at the close of Little Big Man by Thomas Berger (who himself died in 2014).

Then he commenced to pray to the Everywhere Spirit in the same stentorian voice, never sniveling but bold and free.

“Thank you for making me a Human Being! Thank you for helping me become a warrior! Thank you for all my victories and for all my defeats. Thank you for my vision, and for the blindness in which I saw further.

“I have killed many men and loved many women and eaten much meat. I have also been hungry, and I thank you for that and for the added sweetness that food has when you receive it after such a time.

“You make all things and direct them in their ways, O Grandfather, and now you have decided that the Human Beings will soon have to walk a new road. Thank you for letting us win once before that happened. Even if my people must eventually pass from the face of the earth, they will live on in whatever men are fierce and strong. So that when women see a man who is proud and brave and vengeful, even if he has a white face, they will cry: ‘That is a Human Being!’…”

I stood there in awe and Old Lodge Skins started to sing, and when the cloud arrived overhead, the rain started to patter across his uplifted face, mixing with the tears of joy there.

It might have been ten minutes or an hour, and when it stopped and the sun’s setting rays cut through, he give his final thanks and last request.

“Take care of my son here,” he says, “and see that he does not go crazy.”

He laid down then on the damp rocks and died right away. I descended to the treeline, fetched back some poles, and built him a scaffold. Wrapped him in the red blanket and laid him thereon. Then after a while I started down the mountain in the fading light.

Eschew the movie made from the book, which shares only the title and the names of a few characters from the book, a book which is the moral and historical opposite of the politically correct film. It makes me weep to think of the liberties the director took, which if had done to a woman, would have landed him a thirty-year sentence.

The book itself contains no anachronisms, which itself a matter of great celebration. Nowhere in Berger’s masterpiece does any character look to future and something sickeningly asinine like “Some day we won’t let racial differences influence us.” The movie is saturated in syrup like that, as well as being stridently anti-white.

Also highly recommended (as historical orientation) is the classic The Fighting Cheyennes by George Bird Grinnell, who was born in 1849 and who wrote the book in 1915 (it’s still in print). It is a non-patronizing, non-romantic look at the battles the Cheyenne fought, in, as much as was possible, their own words.

Berger wrote Little Big Man at a time (1964) when white boys still wanted to run off and be Indians. Nearly twenty years later, the TV show Grizzly Adams fulfilled the same escapist function. What little boys want to be now they had best keep quiet about or out come the pills (or awards).

Old Lodge Skins was Little Big Man’s adoptive grandfather. The scene takes place shortly after the Battle of Little Big Horn, which the Cheyenne called the Battle at the Greasy Grass. This being the Current Year, I have to remind the reader this is when General Custer and his small army was wiped out by the Indians, the last real victory they were to have in the Plains wars.

There is much in Old Lodge Skin’s prayer that still works. Men, remember to offer it or one like it as Thanksgiving today.

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Categories: Culture, Fun

27 replies »

  1. “POSTED IN ‘FUN'”

    Thank you, Matt.

    And when the woman sees the warrior, they become Being.

    Bless you all, John

  2. Little Big Man is a great book. It was almost liked Forest Gump. Remember, Crabbe was a dead shot, and his avocation was hunting Comanches.

  3. Incidentally, eschew the movie of the same name, which shares only the title and the names of a few characters from the book

    I suppose you would say the same thing about this movie.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. DAV: From what I’ve seen, most movies don’t do justice to the book they were based on (if there was one, of course). Movies have 2 hours to cover the subject matter. Rarely does it work out well. Nothing against movies or books—they’re just very different genres.

  5. Grateful to have found that another fan of this great book also thought of it on Thanksgiving and took the time to share. Peace.

  6. Briggs —

    My friend, be cautious in what you do and advocate. Do not build high places nor encourage others to do the same.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  7. “â€?”
    Sheri, are you writing in Word? I merely ask…
    Those strange symbols led me into hot water this time last year.
    They appear on comments going way back and usually where there’s an apostrophe. Cut and paste them into google at your peril! You will be sent to a strange page with dirty talk and another where there are faux curses all the way down set to terrify but really only give rise to the obvious creepy disturbance. Nothing funny or clever about it but it’s what ‘little boys like to do’ when they’re at a loose end.

    ‘Stack overflow in in wordpress’, apparently, today, that’s not what it said last year!

    Don’t cut and paste them, if you can see them. As I just did again, (wanted to see if all was quiet on the western front, which it is.)

    It’s a trap of some kind. There must be an easy way to strip out the symbols where they occur with a little programme if one could be bothered.

    JH, Luis Dias, Bernie, Joy, YOs and now Sheri have these next to their comments. Those are the ones I remember.
    Wonder why?

  8. Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful that you have posted this without the usual, mundane, routine, redundant P – value and statistic slant. It’s about time.

  9. And today I’m thankful, so very deeply thankful, that my father, having fought in WWII to rid the world of fascism, didn’t live to see the day America elected a Nazi-wannabe president.

  10. Dav,

    Do you still feel that Kavanaugh was a great boost for the Republican, with 8 millions less votes.

  11. 8 millions less votes

    LOL! You are claiming to know how many votes (during the mid-terms?) Republicans would have received if someone else had been confirmed to the Supreme Court? You know the outcome of things that have not happened? How? By channeling the late, great Hari Seldon?

    Sylly Goose! I doubt it. The tale is told that Seldon was a psychohistorian. You are just a psycho.

    OTOH, Goose instead of Turkey for Thanksgiving? Yeah, OK.

  12. @Joy — this is why I recommend text editors for composing posts, rather than word processors. In Windows, I advocate either Notepad ++ or straight up Notepad. In Linux, one is (of course) spoiled for choice, with Kate, KWrite, Leafpad, Mousepad, Featherpad, Pluma, Joe, gedit, geany, TEA, and on and on. Several of those are also available for Mac; you can add TextMate.

  13. ” It makes me weep to think of the liberties the director took…”

    Like casting Dustin Hoffman as a western pioneer. Looked up the the anti-white director. Yup. Every single time.

  14. Still, one of my favorite lines from the movie is Old Lodge Skins saying, “Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn’t. That is the way of things.”

  15. Made me laugh. “There is a Human Being!” I’ll see if I can say that today, and see what they do!!!!

  16. Black Robe: great movie
    black elk speaks Book

    Both give great idea of what First Nations were really like.

  17. Byron- I am so glad someone gave Black Robe a mention! Both the film ( directed by an Aussie), and the book ( written by an Irishman) are stoic, unadorned, and honest. The book is far more harrowing than the film, probably unfilmable in the current climate, would give the average pc-prog the screaming Heebie Jeebies. Interesting take on the Catholic Church particularly the Jesuit missionaries which at least tries to be fair and not go off wildly judging the past like our contemporary “journalists”.
    Briggs- Each year I say I must read Little Big Man. Maybe I will this year.

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