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Beats In Kansas: The Beat Generation in the Heartland


by Roxie Powell, 1978

Jesse Leavenworth, Kiowa-Comanche Agent
rode out to meet the train,
witnesses said, "fearlessly,"
for he might have feared
on the open plains Satanta
who, horseless and with heavy
quiet remained waiting at the
place called the Medicine Lodge.

"We collected and now we got to hold
the Indians at Medicine Lodge,"
Mr. E.W. Wynkoop said,
Mr. Wynkoop opened his private liquor
chest and offered drinks
in the rear of a sutler's store,
"No, we're not sure of a thing, 'cept
we're honest and we'll do our best."

Stanley, of the Cincinnati Democrat
is on record "Unimpressed," nothing
about the liquor said.

Good humor prevailed, and he added
that at one point he, Wynkoop, had been
threatened with death by no less
than the famous Cheyenne warrior, Roman Nose.

He could still laugh when asked by
the press how this could be
since Roman Nose had been shot
by a soldier at point black range
with a .50 caliber Spencer repeating carbine
already the year before.
"Yes, that would be fatal
in most cases," he agreed.

Attention was turned to Satanta
the Kiowa war leader, whose many
exploits in Texas and along the Kansas
border were known to all concerned.

He was over six feet, and on the occasion
had painted his face light green
with a band of chalk white across
the eyes - below the neck he was crimson,

from a rawhide string an Army bugle hung,
visible when he opened his blanket
as he moved from man to man, hugging
each in turn, shouting salutations
no one could understand,

Satanta, who knew English, chose
at this moment
to make his addresses in Kiowa
the strangest of all Indian tongues.

We record a response: "The embrace
was more prolonged than one cares
to receive from lately hostile Indians
bedaubed with paint and covered with
blankets crawling with lice - unless
it be strictly in the interest of
God and Humanity."

Perhaps, to honor the occasion
his blanket had been staked to
an anthill for delousing - in any event
he was slightly drunk and became more so,
bragging his whisky out
while enjoying his position
exactly at the center of attention.

© 1978 Roxie G. Powell; Page © 2013 George Laughead
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