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Native American Stories : The Dogs Hold an Election

dogs sniff each other's tails

The Dogs Hold an Election

We don’t think much of white man’s elections. Whoever wins, we Indians always lose. Well, we have a little story about elections. Once a long time ago, the dogs were trying to elect a president. So one of them got up in the bid dog convention and said: “I nominate the bulldog for president. He’s strong. He can fight.”
“But he can’t run,” said another dog. “What good is a fighter who can’t run?
But the other dogs cried: “Naw, he can run all right, but he can’t fight. When he catches up with somebody, what happens then? He gets the hell beaten out of him, that’s what! So all he good for is running away.”
Then an ugly little mutt jumped up and said: “I nominate that dog for president who smells good underneath his tail.”
And immediately an equally ugly mutt jumped up and said: “I second the motion.”
At once all the dogs started sniffing underneath each other’s tails. A big chorus went up:
“Phew, he doesn’t smell good under his tail.”
“No, neither does this one.”
“He’s no presidential timber!”
“No, he no good, either.”
“This one sure isn’t the people’s choice.”
“Wow, this ain’t my candidate!”
When you go for a walk, just watch the dogs. They’re still sniffing underneath each other’s tails. They’re looking for a good leader, and they still haven’t found him.
–Told by Lame Deer at Winner,
Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota, 1969.
Recorded by Richard Erdoes

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