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February 10, 2002

Ten Bears speaks at Yapparika Comanche treaty negotiations

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I heard of your coming when I was many sleeps away I knew that you had come to do good to me and my people. I looked for the benefits which would last forever, and so my face shines with joy as I look upon you.

My people have never first drawn a bow or fired a gun against the whites. It was you who sent out the first soldier, and it was we who sent out the second.

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The blue dressed soldiers and the Utes came from out of the night when it was dark and still, and for campfires, they lit our lodges. Instead of hunting game, they killed my braves and the warriors of the tribe cut short their hair for the dead. 

The Comanches are not weak and blind like the pups of a dog when seven sleeps old. They are strong and farsighted like grown horses. We took their road and went on it. The white women cried, and our women laughed. 

But there are things which you have said to me which I did not like. They were not sweet like sugar, but bitter like gourds. You said that you wanted to put us on a reservation, to build us houses and to make us Medicine Lodges. I do not want them. 

I was born upon the prairie where the wind blew free, and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures, and where everything drew free breath. I want to die there, and not within walls. 

I know every stream and every wood between the Rio Grande and the Arkansas. I have hunted and lived over the country. I lived like my fathers before me, and like them I lived happily. 

Do not ask us to give up the buffalo for the sheep. The young men have heard talk of this, and it has made them sad and angry. Do not speak of it any more. The white man has the country we loved and we only wish to wander on the prairie until we die. 

 
Any good thing you say to me shall not be forgotten. I shall carry it as near to my heart as my children, and it shall be as often on my tongue as the name of the Great Spirit. 

I want no blood upon my land to stain the grass. I want it all clear and pure, and I wish it so, that all who go through among my people may find peace when they come in, and leave it when they go out. 

– Ten Bears of the Yapparika Comanche

Source: Ten Bears, Yapparika Comanche Chief
Public Domain Document

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