ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Distant Drums of Wonded Knee Part Two

Updated on September 28, 2018
juneaukid profile image

Richard F. Fleck has published 2 novels (Clearing of the Mist, and Spirit Mound) and has written a number of short stories set in the West

Wounded Knee Cemetary

Wounded Knee Cemetary
Wounded Knee Cemetary
Shoshone Sun Dance
Shoshone Sun Dance


Have you heard of the Indian takeover of Wounded Knee in 1973?

See results

Distant Drums of Wounded Knee Part Two

He remembered one time when he hiked out on the prairie with the only sympathetic colleague, an Italian-American by the name of Tony Vespucci. They were about to climb a high and grassy parabolic dune when he stopped to stare at something in the sagebrush. Could it be? Yes, an eagle feather and a spotted feather at that! The bird must have left it here for him--it was perfect, hollow quill and all. He gave it to Tony to see if he felt anything unusual about it, and the Italian said he felt electricity in it and that it made him feel good. Other faculty members wouldn't understand such an improbable attraction for feathers, but Tony understood. He felt a strong electricity in that feather.

The sun had risen fairly high, but it remained cold, as cold as upstate New York near Lake Ontario where winds howled down from Canada. They called him Sam, Sammy Ravelle, but his real Shoshone name was "Tho-ap Udadye," Smoke from the Warm Valley. His grandfather had raised him in a little tar-paper cabin high on a hill surrounded by cottonwood trees that cliddered with deep yellow leaves in the autumn breezes. His grandfather was the grandson of a chief named Washakie. He had no living grandmother or parents, he was an only child reared by a man four times his age. Sam was Shoshone by birth and Shoshone-raised. His grandfather was a sun dance elder, and so too had been his grandfather's grandfather. Sam often watched his grandfather lead sun dancers around the cottonwood lodge several times until the dancers sat in a semi-circle and awaited the morning's light when they would greet the rising sun with soul-piercing eagle bone whistles. Nothing was more mystical to him than the sound of eagle bone whistles piercing the morning stillness of a sun dance lodge with its entrance facing the rising sun.

He thought he heard footsteps and hoped to hell it wasn't a Fed. Just ahead of him a fellow backpacker trudged along after coming out of a side ravine. Whoever it was, he had a small Irish flag fluttering in the strings of his backpack. An Irish flag in South Dakota?

"Who goes there!" he shouted.

"Sure 'tis only me, Kitty O'Connell," she said with some trepidation.

"You from Ireland or somethin'?"

""Aye, Dublin."

" What on earth are you doing here? My name's Sammy Ravelle from Wyoming."

"Yer Indian, I suppose?" she asked noticing how dark-complected he was.

"Shoshone," he said as he approached her to get a good look.

She stood there all bundled up in a hooded parka, her blue eyes shining. She was of small frame, standing only five foot-two. As they shook hands, he explained to her that they must stay put till sundown or the Feds might spot them, especially as they got closer to their destination. She offered him some Irish soda bread and Irish teabags, and he boiled some water on a primus stove.

"So what in hell brings you all the way to South Dakota?"

"Sure it's all over the Dublin papers, and when I heard they needed food and things, I thought I'd volunteer. And you came from Wyoming for the same reason I s'pose."

"Well, actually I came from Idaho. I quit an assinine teaching job I had out there in order to help out here."

"Oh, where did ya teach?"

"Parkman State. I taught creative writing, but all that my students could write, no matter how much I told them not to, was Hallmark poetry."

"So, yer a writer. Have you written any books?"

"A few minor, skinny poetry collections, that's all."

"What kind of poetry?"

"Mostly natural-style--you know--about my Indian heritage and spirit-animals of importance to us."

"Spirit-animals? That's a lovely name for it. We Irish are proud of spirit-animals like swans, especially black swans. We believe our heritage is close to the land, you know what I mean?"

The tea water boiled and he poured it into two plastic mugs. It tasted good with soda bread, a kind of peasant's bread from the auld sod.

"We have something like this but we fry it in grease instead of baking it. My grandfather used to make it. We'd dip it in a kind of berry juice called chokecherry gravy."

"Well, now, In Ireland we'd put a bit of jam on it--perhaps blackberry or wild damson."

A distant explosion interrupted their chat. Sam peered over the edge of the ravine to see a puff of smoke floating just about the ground. He thought he heard drums again and possible gunfire. They were just a bit too far away from Wounded Knee to be able to determine what was happening. Serpentine patches of snow laced the prairie, making it look like an Appaloosa stallion.They had nothing to do but wait, wait till sundown. Kitty poured him another spot of tea (tay as she called it) steaming in the cold air.

"So why would an Irish girl take interest in aboriginal Americans?"

"Well now, we're aboriginal, too. We go back to neolithic times on the Emerald Isle when we built proleek dolmens and huge burial mounds with sacred entrance ways always facing east like Bru na Boinne, and only on December 21st does the rising sun illuminate the passage way and inner burial chamber. The solstices are important to us," she relected. "While you have been subjugated by the American government, we believe that strangers came to our four green fields of Ireland and seized one of those fields from us called Ulster. We want it back. They tried to seize our language and replace it with English, but our Gaelic tongue is alive and well."

Just then another explosion rattled through the still air.

Fellow hubbers just might be interested in reading a spellbinding book about Viet Nam veterans aiding Indians at Wounded Knee '73 by Bill Zimmerman entitled Airlift to Wounded Knee (1977).

© 2010 Richard Francis Fleck


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • juneaukid profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Francis Fleck 

      10 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Thank you Hello, hello. The next two parts should be up next week.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      10 years ago from London, UK

      A fantastic way of telling the story of the Irish and the Indians. I have learned so much and it was an incredible read and way of your writing. Thank you for a great pleasure. Can't wait for the next one. You really are a great writer.

    • juneaukid profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Francis Fleck 

      10 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Thank you Dohn121. Will have the last 2 parts set up next week.

    • dohn121 profile image


      10 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Awesome story, juneaukid and very fitting for this time of year. I like the embedded history and the parallels of Native American history and that of Gaelic history. I'm hungry for more.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      10 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Interesting story.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)