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Writing Group
Leader, Reagan

       Since I carry the name of our Ponca Chief, Standing Bear's Mother,  this is one of the leaders I choose to remember. Grandmother Grace Little Warrior,  who was also direct descendant of Chief Standing Buffalo, named me Jen-nee', under the peace pipe in her living room.  It is only as I become older do I appreciate the very special treatment this was. I've been told the meaning of this word is Water Woman. I do not know what it pertains to and may never be able to find out since our elders are all gone now. I do know that the names of the Rain Band, He-Sah-Dah,  go to the elements of the stars, moon, sun, sky, and, of course, rain.

       In meeting descendants of Standing Buffalo I suddenly begin to remember what is involved with being a Ponca Chieftain. These have mannerisms and habits like their ancestors such for being gracious and having gentle ways. The quiet control they reflect in their lives goes to a place where there is peace with no abrupt mannerisms. Their kindly, considerate character is practiced in every way but especially in their self control which frees them from violence, as in movement. “Peace with me, and peace all about me,” becomes their motto.

        Today is June 09, 2004. It is the day of the funeral for President Ronald Reagan, who was a leader of a far greater populace than in the days of Chief Standing Bear in the 1890's.  However, his mannerisms, strong plodding strides, quiet reasoning worked to hold a great number of people together. This is most amazing when one stops to think about it. The short phrase he used in a speech in Berlin always stuck with me even though I find nothing in politics to interest me, usually. The words, “Tear Down This Wall,” could not have been more aptly spoken. They struck right at the very issue of which were causing divisions. “Tear down this wall,” was spoken clearly. There was no threat in his voice, no pleading, no begging. The words were stated flatly which gave anyone listening the feeling that the wall was something undesirable, unfriendly and possibly, somehow, one gets the feeling it is even a bit foolish.

In the same way, Standing Bear extended his hand with a small amount of money in it toward a Settler living in a mud hut on the prairie. The man was afraid of the Natives. The Chief  leading his people offered the money to the man and simply said, “My people are hungry.”  Immediately, the settler turned to his wife standing in the door way and said, “Anna, make some bread. These people are hungry.

So begins the force and principle of all human relations which go to basic needs which is resting on something as simple as hunger.  The beginning of peace quiets these hungers. There should be no war torn wall barring the exchange of ideas. No bickering and cold war stops the sharing of knowledge and following use of treasured skills allowing progress for the betterment of all society.

Of course, we of the common people  are not all able to grasp such a magnitude of control over our own minds and bodies as these great leaders. However, can we not try to follow their example in the small realm of our own family relationships or with the people who are immediately around us. How much lovelier a world would exist if we could just “Tear down this wall,” of religious, political, economic status which would allow  peaceful working together for the protection and growth of our children. With this hope that one of these children could come up with a cancer cure, a cure for cerebral palsy, AIDS or any other of the hundreds of plagues.

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