It is interesting how things get twisted and distorted for personal selfishness. Living in the middle of the Wild West Indian country I see a lots of it.Back in the early 1800’s the land around here was declared a reservation. With the onslaught of gold seekers, settlers and other types, the reservation was forgotten. The railroad got lots of the Indian land, the ranchers, then the homesteaders. All settled on Indian land, it became their property, not the Indians.
Over the years, various Indian groups have used this to leverage things from the government. One of their favorite tools was to declare certain spots of land, Sacred Ground or burial ground. In most cases it has worked. The apologists have given into the Indian demands. Yet on close investigation, it was found there were no Indians buried there and there were no artifacts in the area. They did find the bones of children the Indians had killed from an attack on the European settlers….. oops.
Yet when one thinks about things, very few Indians buried their dead. Most of the dead were cremated, a funeral pyre.
This barren empty prairie at one time was covered with buffalo and the sand creek had warder in it. Here the Indians would camp out hunting buffalo. The buffalo was a mainstay for the Indians survival. Not only did it provide meat, the buffalo was also shelter and warmth in the winter.
Besides the Indians following the buffalo, the wolves did also. The wolves would cull out the weak and sick buffalo and if they could a buffalo calf. If the Indian hunt was successful, the wolves would circle around wanting a part of an easy meal.
It was a dangerous life on the plains. There were dangers and the Indian would meet his demise at the hands of many things, raging animals, bad food, snake bites or. Rather then bury their dead and hope the wolves don’t dig them up. They would cremate them The funeral pyre was a ritual for the Indian family. It also protected their dead family members from being gnawed up by wolves.
So when burial sites are mentioned, I question the veracity of the statement. Oh, yes there are burial sites that have been found. Yet what the archeologists have unearthed looks more like a dumping pile, mass gravesite. A few have been elaborate burials, IE, a chief, brave warrior or medicine man.
The lone tree over there, is a at a small spring. In the area, thousands of artifacts have been found, spear points, scrapers, grinders and the quintessential arrowhead. Up on the hill can be seen the fence line of the rancher. On the banks of the river on can imagine the Indian sitting on the hill side watching the buffalo graze. Chipping away hat his arrowheads, fletching the arrows, attaching the arrow tips to the shaft, getting ready for the big hunt.
Nearby is his family doing the same. Soon down below there will be a stealth hunt of the buffalo. Arrows at close range, driving into the hide of the buffalo(s), Soon the beast collapses to the ground. Spear in hand, the Indian runs up, driving the spear point deep into the buffalos chest. He goes off to help his family with their kill. Soon there are mounds laying on the ground. The women scurry over to begin helping with the processing of the buffalo.
The hide is removed and stretched to dry and tan. The meat is stripped off to dry or for pemmican. Near by the wolves are circling and sniffing. Soon it will be a battle with the wolves. Some distance away is an isolated buffalo, skinned. It is left for the wolves to gnaw on and also make easy targets for the Indian’s arrow. On far ridge can be seen smoke rising from a pyre.