“Soon the soldiers were all crowded into the river and many Lakotas too, and I was in the water awhile. Men and horses were all mixed up and fighting in the water, and it was like hail falling in the river. Then we were out of the river, and people were stripping dead soldiers and putting the clothes on themselves. There was a soldier on the ground and he was still kicking. A Lakota rode up and said to me, “Boy, get off and scalp him.” I got off and started to do it. He had short hair and my knife was not very sharp. He ground his teeth. Then I shot him in the forehead and got his scalp.

When I got to the women on the hill they were all singing and making the tremolo [a shout or cry while patting the lips with one hand, producing a distinctive warble] to cheer the men fighting across the river in the dust….

My mother gave a big tremolo just for me when she saw my first scalp.

I stayed there awhile with my mother and watched the big dust whirling on the hill across the river, and horses were coming out of it with empty saddles.”

~ Black Elk

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