Spotted Tail's Death Song

"Nephew, do you know what it means when we say today is good day to die? Here is something we have over the wasicu. Their minds are clever, they can make guns and knives and little round things that tell the time of day or the four directions. Their minds are very clever.

"But they are afraid to die.

"They understand how to make a far-seeing glass and how to make the powder that explodes, but life and death they do not understand.

"Dying is natural.

"To the rooted people, the grazers, the fliers, the crawlers, the swimmers, to us and mitakuye oyasin - all our relations - dying is natural. We like to live, and dying is a part of living. We enjoy Mother Earth - birthing and dying are part of her way. As we love her, we love them. A Lakota likes living and is not afraid of death. He accepts it.

"That is what a death song says. I love the earth and am ready for death.

"On an evening like this you feel it strongly. I love the earth and am ready for death. They are a part of the same feeling. Wasicu are afraid to die. It makes their sweat bead out, their guts clench, their bowels go loose. I would hate to be a wasicu. Remember always, you can fight for life, but you cannot fight against death."