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White Wolf

Dennis Smartt

McDermit, NV

McDermitt Paiute Shoshoni Reservation







I am going to talk about things that I was told and seen when I was growing up. And I was told, any time that I am going to be talkin about the Indian way of life, I am to pray to the Creator so that it can be said in a good way. AhoÖ

So Oh Great Spirit that dwells in the Sky, n whose breath gives life to the whole world, look down upon your children that you have created here on this spiritual island n that their prayers will be heard, and that their minds will be straight like you want them to be. We know that we are suffering on this island but for some reason that we are going to straighten out, first of all we must never forget about you with our prayers to you first, for we are small and weak. We need your strength and wisdom to walk in beauty upon our Mother Earth, for our life is so short. Oh Great Spirit make our eyes ever behold the red and the purple sunset, make our hands respect the things you have made, make us wise so that we may understand the things that you have created for your children here on this island.

Your children are praying that there will be no disaster and that there should be no starvation on this island. But there shall be health, generation after generation for your children. The instructions that you have taught us on how to take care of what you raised and created here on this island, along with prayers that we will always remember you by, and never forget the prayers but hand them down to the children, the little people, and also the unbornÖ that they shall all know you as a big honor for what you have done for us May we always be ready to come to you with clean hands, straight eyes, for when our lives fade as a fading sunset, may our spirits come to you without shame. We seek strength not to be greater than our friends but to fight our greatest enemy, ourselves.

Oh Great Spirit, lead us to the path of Peace and Understanding. And let us all live together as brothers and sisters through the prayers and through the spirits of the animals and people of the four directions, also the spotted eagle and the Mole. aho

So now The Creator created this creation. He created the mineral world. He created the plant world. And he created the animal and the people. Each of us was created with its own power. He breathed life into all that was created. In the Indian world we find it hard to explain because we live by our religion, that is our way of life. We are taught to pray to the four directions, up and down and to use the four colors which are the red, the black, the yellow, and the white. These are a big honor to the Indian people because these are the four colors of people that the Great Spirit created on this universe. We are all different in our ways but we are held together by a common bond called culture. Even tho we fight among ourselves, the respect and teaching of life are the same because we are all taught by the same Great Spirit. And we should respect his sacred teachings, for we have been ignoring his sacred teachings and ceremonies which the Great Spirit has given to all the people. The Original Instructions are not being honored. There are many signs that nature is no longer in balance. It must be up to us people with good hearts to fulfill our destiny in Peace for this world which is to pray and promote the welfare of all living beings and to preserve the world in a natural way. The Creator made the first world in perfect balance and harmony.

We humans turned away from our moral and spiritual principal which was to take care of our Mother Earth and all that is in it. We need to understand the warning of the Great Spirit before the Great Purification Day comes to destroy our world. We need to look at ourselves, who we are, and look at the life we are living. Nothing is a coincidence. Everything has a meaning here on our Mother Earth. We are put here for a reason. It is up to us people what we can offer our Mother Earth. Each of us has a talent, a gift to use on behalf of the people and our Mother Earth. We are here for all man kind and every living thing out there. We have struggling for a better world so our children will grow up in better circumstances than we did.

It is grateful to be alive today. So we ask all others to take a step toward healing and transformation. There we will find the healing, the power, the wisdom, the security which was given to the people. Teachings that shows the path to love, compassion, generosity, patience, justice, courage, respect, humility, and many other wonderful gifts. 

If we forget the teachings, or wander away or turn against or attempt to destroy, great sorrow will fall upon us. We will become sick at heart. We will lose our power. We will cease to dream dreams and see visions. We will quarrel among ourselves over worthless trifles. We wonít be able to tell the truth and deal with each other honestly. We will forget how to survive on our own land. Our lives will be filled with anger and gloom. And little by little we will poison ourselves with all that we touch. It was also said that the day will come when the people will awaken as though from a long drunken sleep, that we will begin timidly at first., and then with great urgency begin to search again for our sacred life.

The sacred life has always been guarded and preserved within the hearts and minds of our wise elders and gifted leaders, their humble and loving and dedicated souls will guide anyone who is honesty and sincerely seeking along the path leading to the protection of our sacred life. By believing in our Creator, we have shown that the power of the Creator is alive and working through us. As a gift the Creatorís gifts becomes a gift to many other people, and I truly believe, if we use that gift we can change and save more lives. You are a gift to me. You are a gift to each other. You are a gift to your family. Whether it be the one you were born to or the one you have adopted on your journey on the Red Road. You are a gift o your community. You are a gift to your nation and the world. We are special and unique in the lives of so many.

They say "think Indian" and you will help to preserve and to retain our native religious inheritance. Think Indian and you will revitalize your inner spirit, and you will learn to walk on your own and do things yourself. They say take charge of your attitude. Donít let someone else chose it for you. In business, in family relationships the most important thing is Trust. Never underestimate the power of words to reconcile and heal relationships. Every person you meet knows something that you donít. You learn from them. Donít expect others to listen to your advice and ignore your example. Walk your talk.

Yes at times our patience does wear thin. I have learned from this mistake myself. I share this with you. I am humble. I am just a man who is still learning what the creator has given us. I share this with you in a good way. I am a man. Weak at times but strong in other ways. I share these teaching with you to be respectful of yourself and those that you love. Be patient. Let us remember we are all human beings. Treat all with respect and love as you wish to be treated as a human being.

We have gathered many times for many years to get here. We see little ones that are now parents today, that is how long we have had our teachings and our traditions. We get old. We can remember the good things as children: the way we were taught and the way we should teach our children today. Just because we are in the modern world does not mean for us to lose our language and to lose our way of life. Continue these good things that our forefathers have brought us so that we can strive every day for our children to learn the good things.

These are the kind of the things, we should want to think about and talk about when we think about our people, our friends our brothers, sisters. Think about the people from where we come. For those that are not here, that love going to our gatherings, those are the things that we want to talk about. It is about love, caring, respect and honor. Those are the kinds of things we want to teach our children. Our forefathers have taught us well to continue these things as we hear our elders, our leaders, our MCís, that give us good words of wisdom so that we can move on with our lives in a good way.

The Great Spirits teachings, which are: live simple and do not let materialism control your life, and to teach our children to respect each other. Make your attitude toward the environment a reverent one. Be in good humor. Do not be angry or have bad thoughts. Use wholesome words when taking too or describing people. Do not hurt others. Make a careful choice when opportunity arises. Be cautious. Guard against disturbing or loud noises or behavior. Recognize the form in which temptation comes and how it works. Anything that glitters with charm is temptation. Listen to our elders. Those wise teachings are the key to happiness, health and long good life. Be self sufficient. Do not depend on others for survival. Do not try to control or blame or trade blame. Love our Creator and do your best to please him.

Everyone deserves love even those who donít know about our Creator. How we can show the people that our Creator is loving when we who claim to possess his spirit treat and talk to each other harshly. No matter how talented a person is or how attractive a person is or how much money they have, doesnít matter to our Creator. What most matters most of all is our kindness to each other because our Creator still loves mankind and each of us individually.

Listen to the warning that our Creator is showing us over the increase of violence, greed and dishonesty which he sees in this world today. Make up your mind to be happy. Learn to find pleasure in simple things. Make the best of your circumstances. No one has everything and everyone has something of sorrow intermingled with the gladness of life. And the trick is to make the laughter outweigh the tears. Donít take yourself too seriously. Donít think that somehow you should be protected from misfortune that befalls others. Donít let your neighbor set your standard. Be yourself. Donít borrow trouble. Imaginary things are harder to bear, that the actual ones. Donít hold post mortem. Donít spend your life brooding over sorrows and past mistakes. Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself. Remember you canít please everyone so donít let criticism worry you.

And also they will tell you how important it is to gain an education in this modern world so when you cross the culture barrier into the dominate society you become the best in your chosen profession.

They will tell you there are no mysteries or secrets about successful leadership. A good leader in reality is a person whose relations and dealings with other people are habitually good. As a leader make sure that you are leading in the right direction and that you have a goal, a destination that you work for and work toward. And that you do such a good job that you will leave behind a you a monument of accomplishment that the storms of time can never destroy. Take hold of each opportunity and make the most of it.

Know that life will offer some disappointments but remember through those situations you become a stronger and more stable person. Donít over look obstacles but work through them. Remember, we must be on guard constantly to avoid making these mistakes, Which is allowing our personal prejudices cloud good judgment. Worrying about things that can not be changed or corrected. Insisting that a thing is impossible because we ourselves cannot accomplish it. Refusing to set aside a trivial matter in order that important things be accomplished.

To make it in this world today, we have to be in tune with the times and that does not mean we are altering our standards. It just means that we have to live in this world as it is today. And now from bows and arrows, to guns and bullets, why choose against it? You are a tribal nation. Why die for one color? We are people of many colors. Why die young? Live your sacred purpose. Why flags,? marks, and graffiti? You are spiritually grounded. Why accept street names? We have naming ceremonies. Why fight each other to prove bravery? You were born a warrior and warrior woman. Why tattoo for identification? Markings are for ceremony. Why speak street language? You have a native tongue. There is no honorable future in joining gangs. Your future is lies in tradition, culture, and spirituality. was said by Wanetta Lone Wolf Ogalala Lakota Sioux.



When we first gazed upon the creation, we thought the creation to be eternal and immutable, a force that could never be conquered. We now know that we were wrong. Already with the lifetime of Columbus the wonders of discovery have given way to a rampage of destruction. Within the past two hundred years alone, we have seen the last of the creators beautiful creation designate with the prairies all but deserted and the waters polluted in the pursuit of happiness and prosperity. America has achieved remarkable things. But the price of progress has been high.

Today less that 1 tenth of one percent of land lies in the original creation. Also today 10x that acreage lies under a shroud of asphalt and concrete, the fastest growing habitat on earth. Already the prospect looms of the future that is grim and lifeless of a man made wilderness more desolate by far than any known to nature. Yet must this inevitably be so or will the tide of things change and the preservation and the restoration for the land of the wild qualify at last be Americaís proudest achievement. America home of the wild and the free. The love of wilderness is more than hunger for what is beyond our reach. It is an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us, sustained us and the only home we shall know, and the only paradise we ever need, if only everybody had the eyes to see the work of nature and creation.

Retribution, America, when you are ready to repay the native people for the deportation visited upon us, what is it you intend to make payment with? How do you make retribution when all that you have, you have taken from us. When the time comes for you to examine yourself to see what it is that you have of value, You will see that all that you have belongs not to you, but was taken from my people. It is true that many of you have purchased much land from each other, but the land belongs to my people. It is true that each of you have many objects that you have purchased from each other, but the objects that you have come from the land of my people. It is true that you have written many laws that state the land is yours and all the resources found there in, but your laws are a mockery of justice and whatever you have yet belongs to my people. America what is that you intend to repay with when you have nothing and you are living upon the land of my people. The white man dominion say they have dominion over the earth. They say they own that which was made by the creator and look upon the land with greed. The white Man encroaches upon the world of the four legged and wonder why they growl. They destroy the vegetation and wonder why the wind blows the dust. The white man dams the rivers then wonder why the salmon no longer run up the river. They destroy the forest and then wonder why the seasons have change. The white man poisoned the lands then wonders why the plants do not grow. The white man pollutes the air then wonders why the rain kills the leaves. They pollute the water and wonder why there is no clear water to drink. The white man tests his weapon in the belly of the earth then wonders why the earth shakes. They explode their weapons of destruction upon the land and wonder why they can not walk upon the earth. The white man rapes earth of her riches and then wonders why our mother weeps. They do not listen to the whisper of warning then wonder why there is no harmony. The white man does not understand the spirit of creation or its unity one unto each other.



Many have heard of the Trail of Tears of the Cherokee, or Sand Creek Massacre of the Cheyenne, or Wounded Knee of the Lakota. Every native nation has its Trail of Tears but some the worst autrocities were done to the Paiute people, a quiet gentle earth based gathering people, here in southern Idaho, and Nevada.  Here are some references for the Paiute.  Dennis Smartt,  speaks at Papoose Meadows in remembrance of massacre of Paiute People, Orivlle and Dean Barlese, who is organizing ceremonies to change the Ruby Pipeline route also participated.


Sarah WinnemuccaExcerpt by Sarah Winnemucca from her book "Life Among The Piutes"

1842-1891   by Sarah Winnemucca

In 1865 we had another trouble with our white brothers. It was early in the spring, and we were then living at Dayton, Nevada, when a company of soldiers came through the place and stopped and spoke to some of my people, and said, "You have been stealing cattle from the white people at Harney Lake." They said also that they would kill everything that came in their way, men, women, and children. The captainís name was Wells. The place where they were going to is about three hundred miles away.

The days after they left were very sad hours, indeed. Oh, dear readers, these soldiers had gone only sixty miles away to Muddy Lake, where my people were then living and fishing, and doing nothing to any one. The soldiers rode up to their encampment and fired into it, and killed almost all the people that were there. Oh, it is a fearful thing to tell, but it must be told. Yes, it must be told by me. It was all old men, women and children that were killed; for my father had all the young men with him, at the sink of Carson on a hunting excursion, or they would have been killed too. After the soldiers had killed all but some little children and babies still tied up in their baskets, the soldiers took them also, and set the camp on fire and threw them into the flames to see them burn alive. I had one baby brother killed there. My sister jumped on fatherís best horse and ran away. As she ran, the soldiers ran after her; but, thanks be to the Good Father in the Spirit-land, my dear sister got away. This almost killed my poor papa. Yet my people kept peaceful.

That same summer another of my men was killed on the reservation. His name was Truckee John. He was an uncle of mine, and was killed by a man named Flamens, who claimed to have had a brother killed in the war of 1860, but of course that had nothing to do with my uncle. About two weeks after this, two white men were killed over at Walker Lake by some of my people, and of course soldiers were sent for from California, and a great many companies came. They went after my people all over Nevada.

Reports were made everywhere throughout the whole country by the white settlers, that the red devils were killing their cattle, and by this lying of the white settlers the trail began which is marked by the blood of my people from hill to hill and from valley to valley. The soldiers followed after my people in this way for one year, and the Queenís River Paiutes were brought into Fort Churchill, Nevada, and in that campaign poor General McDermit was killed. These reports were only made by those white settlers so that they could sell their grain, which they could not get rid of in any other way. The only way the cattle-men and farmers get to make money is to start an Indian war, so that the troops may come and buy their beef, cattle, horses, and grain. The settlers get fat by it.

During this time my poor mother and sister died, and we were left all alone, with only father. The two Indians were taken who had killed the two white men over at Walker Lake. It was said they killed those two white men because the soldiers had killed their fathers at Muddy Lake, but they had no right to say so. They had no proof.


Another excerpt by Sarah Winnemucca:

 Two little girls about twelve years old went out in the woods to dig roots, and did not come back, and so their parents went in search of them, and not finding them, all my people who were there came to their help, and very thoroughly searched, and found trails which led up to the house of two traders named Williams, on Carson River, near by the Indian camp. But these men said they had not seen the children, and told my people to come into the house and search it; and this they did, as they thought, thoroughly.

After a few days they sorrowfully gave up all search, and their relations had nearly given them up for dead, when one  morning an Indian rode up to the cabin of the Williamses. In those days the settlers did not hesitate to sell us guns and ammunition whenever we could buy, so these brothers proposed to buy the Indianís horse as soon as he rode up. They offered him a gun, five cans of powder, five boxes of caps, five bars of lead, and after some talk the trade was made. The men took the horse, put him in the stable and closed the door, then went into the house to give him the gun, etc. They gave him the gun, powder, and caps, but would not give him the lead, and because he would not take a part, he gave back what he had taken from them, and went out to the barn to take his horse. Then they set their dog upon him. When bitten by the dog he began hollering, and to his surprise he heard childrenís voices answer him, and he knew at once it was the lost children.

He made for his camp as fast as he could, and told what had happened, and what he had heard. Brother Natchez and others went straight to the cabin of the Williams brothers. The father demanded the children. They denied having them, and after talking quite awhile denied it again, when all at once the brother of the children knocked one of the Williamses down with his gun, and raised his gun to strike the other, but before he could do so, one of the Williams brothers stooped down and raised a trap-door, on which he had been standing.

This was a surprise to my people, who had never seen anything of the kind. The father first peeped down, but could see nothing; then he went down and found his children lying on a little bed with their mouths tied up with rags. He tore the rags away and brought them up. When my people saw their condition, they at once killed both brothers and set fire to the house.

Three days after the news was spread as usual. "The bloodthirsty savages had murdered two innocent, hard-working, industrious, kind-hearted settlers;" and word was sent to California for some army soldiers to demand the murderers of the Williamses. As no army soldiers were there just then, Major Ormsbey collected one hundred and sixty volunteers. and came up, and without asking or listening to any explanation demanded the men. But my people would not give them up, and when the volunteers fired on my people, they flew to arms to defend the father and brother, as any human beings would do in such a case, and ought to do.

And so the war began. It lasted about three months, and after a few precious ones of my people, and at least a hundred white men had been killed (amongst them our dear friend, Major Ormsbey, who had been so hasty), a peace was made. My brother had tried to save Major Ormsbeyís life. He met him in the fight, and as he was ahead of the other Indians, Major Ormsbey threw down his arms, and implored him not to kill him. There was not a moment to be lost. My brother said,ó "Fall down and I will shoot over your head." But Major Ormsbey kept pleading for his life, and another Indian killed him.