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Once We Were Proud

Robert O. Bennett

Robert Bennett was born in December of 1956 in the small town of Pirasens, Germany to a German mother and a Native-American father serving in the United States Army. Robert spoke only German until he moved with his family to the US. He moved around for years as a military brat, and after graduating from high school in Texas in 1975, he joined the Army.

Robert was stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany where he was able to see his mom and grandparents every weekend. During his time in Europe, he traveled to 14 countries. Upon his return to the US, he served three more years. While stationed in Fort Lewis, Washington in 1980, he witnessed Mount Saint Helens explode. Robert is the father of seven daughters and is working toward his degree in history at CFCC.

Once we roamed the open prairies

We were many and loved the land

The Buffalo was our way of life 

Our subsistence, our food and our lodges

The fur, our blankets, the bones, our tools

Our way of life was simple, it was pure


Many moons later, Inquisition 

The Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs too

Our brothers to the South were slaughtered too

Our women were raped and butchered

Women and children were their slaves

They take our Gods, in the name of greed

They take our food and starve my people

In the name of Christianity


Then the White man comes and steals our land

They buy it for pennies and build cities

New York, Boston, and more people came

First Mystic River they come in the night


Again they slaughter my people 

The White man takes our trees the Creator provided

For my people and steal my land

Manifest Destiny it is called, in the name of greed

We roamed this land in search of food, to live in peace 

To raise our families, to pray to the Creator


They call us savages, yet call the kettle black

Yet, they want our land by any means possible

There’s Sandy Creek and Wounded Knee

They slaughter my people and jump with glee

They give us soiled blankets and keep us warm 

To see my people die from disease

They out us on reservations with bad meat

Not good to eat and watch my people die


They take away our dances to the Great Spirit

Our language and our prayer to my Creator

They take our children to learn the white man’s way

They take our pride, they kill our chiefs

They sent them to prison or to far away lands

To teach them a lesson in the white man’s way 


We are the true Americans for thousands of years

We roamed these lands, a free spirit with the land 

We hunted the deet for their hides, we eat the meat

To feed our tribes, our women, our children

Our elders too, we respect those who come before us

Their stories, their battles, their tribes’ histories

From the beginning of time

The Apaches, Comanches, and the Lakota Sioux

The Crow, the Blackfoot too, the Iroquois, the Cherokee, 

The Choctaws, The Kiowas too


Our Pride is coming back to stand as one

To my Creator, to your God

We stand as one people, united for a cause

We are Americans, the last to vote

And Citizenship too

We were hunted like animals to no end

Women and Children too

By Custer, by Sheridan, by Crook, and Howard too

All we want is peace to hunt, to roam our lands


Is it too much to ask?

To respect my people, to give them dignity

Our language saved America in World War II

Ande defended it in every war

Yet there is no respect

Are we savages? The answer is NO!

Those who stole our land were the savages

In the name of Christianity

We want to live in peace and roam our lands

By Robert O. Bennett, United States Army

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