Mr. Smoke talks about his spirituality.

Audio Chapters

LS: Yah, that’s the only thing that I know of, you know, coming into a Bible and understanding the Bible and teaching myself, I believe that I can reach the Lord that way; God, I can reach him. Her and I, we do a lot of praying and how to talk to God. If only people, if only our families and our grandchildren know, and other people throughout Canada and the United States and around the world would only come to know God, who God is, that would make a great big peaceful country, I would say. But there are so many people who push that aside. They always say it’s a white man’s world, white men’s ways. But it isn’t. They don’t know that. I always say Christianity is something different from all the people they think about, you know. They look at the Bible and say: that’s the white man’s ways. But no, this is Christianity I’m talking about. I’m not talking about the religious people; I’m talking about Christianity, being born again into God, the spirit of God. This is what I go by. And then when you go further and further into the Bible the spirit of God will show you many things throughout the Bible that a man does not understand. He can take you further and show you. This is what I found out: many parts of the bible, I found my people in there. There’s many things that I’ve found. I can sit here and talk to you for hours about the different things, but you know, there’s so much to go into.

But there’s many, many things in there, in the Bible. How Moses went to the top of the mountain to pray- why did he go up there and all that. And my Dakota people used to go to the top of the mountain to pray and bring an answer back to our people. This is what Moses did when he was up there; he brought his answer back to his people, you see. My Dakota people used to do that years ago. Why did he go to the top of the mountain? In Matthew 6 mentioned it; told him to go to a secret place, so he told him to go into where nobody walks around. That’s the closet that he was talking about. So Moses, he went up to the top of the mountain where nobody walks around. And Dakota people used to do the same thing, they used to go to the top of the mountain, or close to it, where nobody walks around. And in a secret place they’d talk to God and bring the answer back to our people- what are we going to do next?

DL: Is that the Vision Quest that many Native people follow? The men do the Vision Quest for 4 days or 5 days.

LS: Yah, but nowadays they kind of seem to- they have a tea break or coffee break or something, which was not mentioned in the Bible.

DL: I don’t think so.

LS: No. They’re not going at it the right way today, to tell you the truth. Because I see how things are going, they are things they brought into Portage, or into some of the cities and they set up a tent of some kind of- you know, things like that.

DL: So they’re more comfortable?

LS: Yah. Which is not right. If you want to know God, you gotta go to him. Sacrifice. Sacrifice your life a little bit, like he did sacrifice his life on the cross for every single one of us. And this is what I look at today, but nobody wants to take that time out and sacrifice their life, maybe back up in the hills somewhere for a few days without food, no water, no nothing. Which I did for a lot of people; that I want to reach people- that’s why I did that. It is in the Book of Isaiah, talked about it. So our people today don’t do that. They take things lightly and they figure they’re going to make it, you know, they go on in this life. But you know, this is a serious matter that we’re in; I’ve always looked at it as a serious matter. It’s nothing to play around with, looking into the Bible and studying it. So I thought I’ll leave that with you.

Oral History- Interview | Narrator Leslie Smoke Interviewer Deborah Locke in Dakota Tipi First Nation Manitoba, Canada | Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. Sacrifice April 22, 2024.

Viewpoints: All viewpoints expressed on this website are those of the contributors, and are not representative of the Minnesota Historical Society.