Chief Poundmaker

Chief Poundmaker: Hunter and Warrior

By Tyrone W. Tootoosis

Reprinted with permission from
Eagle Feather News - December 1999/January 2000 - pg.15

Chief Poundmaker

Chief Poundmaker, a well known hunter and warrior, one day set off with his braves on a scouting expedition into the Blackfeet country. They walked and walked on the vast prairies towards the southern part of the country where the Blackfeet made their homes.

Finally, after a few days and nights of walking they reached a large camp with hundreds of horses. After dark they all sneaked into the camp and started rounding up the horses. They were quite successful at that. They fled with the horses all night long.

The next day while they were still going, one of the riders looks back. At a distance, coming over a hill, he saw a horseman. Right away he yells out a warning signal for his fellow braves. At that, the rest of the riders look back and sure enough there were riders appearing one after another over the hill.

At any rate, the Crees keep going and the Blackfeet horsemen catching up very quickly.

Finally one of Poundmaker's braves stops and calls on Poundmaker and tells the rest of his comrades to flee. Poundmaker and his brave jump off their horses and the brace takes his pouch. "Look," he says to the Chief, "the enemy is catching up to us too fast, and if they do, sure as anything we're dead. Surely, you must possess some sort of power that we can rely on' here is the pipe. You didn't lead us down here for this trip without any assurance of our safety." Sure enough, Poundmaker accepts the cremonial pipe and prays to the Great Spirit.

He goes through the usual procedure of worship to God very roughly. He asks Him to give him power to be able to call on any powers of nature to hide them from the enemy. After praying to the Great Spirit, he points the pipe to another direction, saying, "Great Heat Waves, accept this sacrifice of the pipe, we need your help, we need you to hide us right away or else we're going to get killed by the enemy."

After his plea to the Great Heat Waves, Poundmaker and his brave smoke the pipe briefly and they jump on their horses chasing after the other warriors.

They caught up to the other braves, and Poundmaker gave his orders, that they should all ride close to each other to avoid getting lost in the thick heat waves. A few moments later the heat waves fell so thick that the riders could hardly see each other. Naturally, the Blackfeet lost track of them completely. Poundmaker and his braves with the heard of horses kept going at ~11 speed. The heave waves stayed all afternoon, almost until sunset.

The moral of the story is that Poundmaker was not just an ordinary brave warrior and hunter, but also possessed some powers given to him by the Great Spirit, to be able to ask the powers of nature to protect him or his people from anything. That is the reason why he was well known to his people, as an able leader.

This is only one of the many great deeds that Poundmaker did during his lifetime. He was also known to have cured the sick with his many different kinds of medicine.

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