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Disqualified Warriors by Kiowa filmmaker Jeffrey Palmer
The Warrior Tradition

Disqualified Warriors


Gus Palmer wanted nothing more in his life, than to participate in the warrior tradition his tribe honored. His forebears came from a long line of warriors, that protected the Kiowa tribe on the migration across the southern plains. However, fate and a medical condition would disqualify him from going to Vietnam. Disqualified Warriors is a story about loss and redemption in the warrior tradition.

JEFFREY PALMER | Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma

Jeffrey Palmer is a Kiowa filmmaker and media artist. As a dean's fellow at the University of Iowa, he received his Master of Fine Arts in film and video production, with an emphasis in documentary film and video installation. He received his Master of Arts in Native American studies, focusing on Native American exploitation in early cinema and his Bachelor of Arts in cultural anthropology from the University of Oklahoma. He has taught film at the University of Central Oklahoma and Syracuse University and is currently an assistant professor of film at Cornell University’s department of performing and media arts.

He recently completed his first feature film, N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and will air on the PBS series, American Masters, in 2019. His short films have also screened at the Sundance Film Festival, Hot Docs, The Seattle International Film Festival, and many others around the world. His work has also been featured in Indian Country Today, The Hollywood Reporter, Indie Wire, Native American Times, Art Focus, and Dreamcatcher Magazine. He received awards and recognition from ITVS, JustFilms/Ford Foundation, Sundance Institute Creative Producers Lab, Sundance Institute Native Program Lab fellowship and Firelight Media Documentary Lab Fellow.
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In the film, Disqualified Warriors, Gus Palmer Jr. reads a portion of his poem, yatfahe:dàu:gà (A Kiowa Warrior’s Song). Below is the poem in its entirety.

yatfahe:dàu:gà (A Kiowa Warrior’s Song) by Gus Palmer Jr.

yatfahe:sòlèqì à dau:
I am a warrior.
yatpahe:sòlèqì à jò:chan
I am a warrior coming home.
nau:qàcò:bàu a o:tadàu bôt tha:gà à jò:chanthàu:dè
My people will be welcoming me home
in the old way.
dauga am tha:gàhà:dè edê àu:mà
They will make a victory song for me.
faulkàugàu: tauigà bet dau:au:dèp
The drums drone sonorously in the fields beyond.
pi:taui an jo:au:dèp faulkàu: mau gà tochepàu:dèp
Beyond the hills, the sound of the drums moves
overland like the swells of water after
a torrential rain.
hègau hat à jò:chanmà
I am coming home.
yatpahe:sòlèqì à dau:
I am a warrior.
yatpahe:sòlèqì à dau:
à âdàu à jò:chanthàu:dè
I have dreamed about coming home.
maun ne ta:saupancùtdàu:
My arms are streaked with the rain and ashes.
à âdàu châu à dauicùtdàu:thàu
I have dreamed about ceremonial painting.
daum châu èm kâudò
I believe the land is waiting.
qaco:bàu châu em kâudò
I remember the people waiting.
sepdàu: a kâumàu
They are calling me through the rain.
â sòlèkàu:màu
They call me by my warrior’s name.
taui â sòlèkàu:màu
I hear them call a long ways off.
kau:gà pi:tauigà an joau:dèp, jòtàui:gà.
The echo of my name reverberates everywhere in the hills.
taui a cildèè: a obàjàu:dè.
South of the camp grounds the people are waiting.
ga màuhòtjàu, augàu em gunjàu:dè
The people are preparing for the dance.
sègai faulkàugàu: e salmau:hotjàu
My uncle has prepared the ceremonial drum.
faulkàugàu: e salaummau:hòtjàu
He is heating the drumhead by the fire.
mau: tho:ba pi:guidau:
The glow of the fire in his face.
solèdàu:gà ø dau:
The song will be a warrior’s song.
vâigàjòcùt a gùlàu:mà
The people are painting the battle tipi red
and yellow.
jo: hègau gà mau:kôldàu:
The tipi is set up and ready.
hègau gà mau:kôldàu:
All is ready.
hègau gà mau:kôldàu:
All is ready.
hègau à jò:chanmà
I am coming home victorious.
hègau be o:tagù:nì:thàu fâikòvàui:gàè:
We will dance under the mid-summer sun.
hègau be o:tagù:nì:thàu fâikòvàui:gàè:
We will dance under the mid-summer sun.
hègau etje gà dau:fòi
There will be much singing.
chê jâbàchò e gu:nì:thàu:
My horse will be dancing beside me.chê jâbàchò e gu:nì:thàu:
My horse will be dancing beside me.