America's Lost Heritage

Back humped, head massive, horns small, coat shaggy - a magnificent beast!
Ungainly in appearance, but fast, agile, with stamina to run for many miles.
For thousands of years provided the Plains Indians their food and clothing.
From 1855 to 1885 reduced from 60 million with herds 500,000 strong
Almost to extinction for white manís sport, food, or greed for his hide.
Left to rot in the sun, stripped of hide and dignity, he thundered no more.
Oh, the stupidity of the white man! Oh, the shame of the nation!

Before 1870 his mighty herds stretched beyond the distant horizon.
Indians respected, honored him; they lived in harmony, mutual survival.
Slaughtered to feed building the transcontinental railroad, for hides, for fun --
Once the white man invaded the plains, his and the Indiansí lives were over.
Now back from a mere few hundred, today he numbers only 350,000 strong.

Harry Edward Gilleland      08.17.02