Poetry and Prayer
Prayer from our Prayer Warrior
Shkee, Creator, for all the wonders you have given us. Mother Earth, the rains, the crops the people, the triumphs, and yes, even the challenges. We are sad to come before you with troubled hearts, but none can heal us but You. Enter each heart with love and gentle guidance. Show us mercy and love and teach us to how to forgive others as you do us. We are your Tsalagi children, learning the ways of our ancestors, growing closer to our Creator and our world. Strengthen us to stand the challenges. Let us be listeners instead of shouters. Let us be binding with each other and not offend. Let us find ourselves and our heritage in your guiding light. Let us love one another openly and freely, for you will replenish the love given. Guide our leaders and keep them always close to your heart. Hear our Morning Song as we start each day, and walk with us on the Spirit Path. Bring our family closer and let us reach out to those not yet among us. We follow you, Creator, as only You know the plan of the Great Mystery. hayv
Remove us Again What has become of the word respect? Is there none left today? Is there nothing you would honor? If we were digging up your cemetary, What would you say? These bones of old may mean nothing to you. But herein resides our ancestors. Resting in these most sacred sites. We are here as their protectors. You say these roads and stores are progress. But it is not thru your cemetary you cross. Your people lie in complete rest. Ours is not your loss. You have driven us from our lands before. This we knew would be. Can we not finally be at peace? Is there nothing Holy you can see? Look into your hearts this day. And all the others to come. What will you see within? What are you to become? This greed of man is an evil thing. But seems to rule your heart. Its never too late to make a change. Now's the time to start. Stop the destruction of our people, our lands. Stop and close this door of sin. Let us all gather to pray. It is time for a new day to begin. Have you not seen within yourselves. The destruction you have wrought. Only in the name of progress. For roads to be made and gee gaws can be bought? Our people wish only to live in peace. And honor how we were taught. To show respect for all things. Its so little the things we've sought. There's been enough of hate and greed. New seeds must now be planted. But through these deeds like this you do. Taking this thing called progress for granted. We gave and gave and had more stolen. Just to please this greed. But now is the time to take a stand. And respect us in our need. These sites to us are still most Holy. And these bones that lie within. Show the respect you would like returned. Let the healing begin. The road we have traveled has often been hard. Your progress making it even more so. Remove us once again? We are saying, "NO!" by Deborah Awiunegusdi (1997 - All Rights Reserved)
They walked on Bloody feet..... The Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Mothers, Fathers, Sisters, Brothers On Bloody feet..... Thousands of miles they walked......... and Died..... On Bloody Feet. Tsusda
Columbus Day In school I was taught the names Columbus, Cortez, and Pizzaro and A dozen other filthy murderers. A bloodline all the way to General Miles, Daniel Boone and general Eisenhower. No one mentioned the names Of even a few of the victims. But don't you remember Chaske, whose spine Was crushed so quickly by Mr. Pizzaro's boot? What words did he cry into the dust? What was the familiar name Of that young girl who danced so gracefully That everyone in the village sang with her-- Before Cortez' sword hacked off her arms As she protested the burning of her sweetheart? That young man's name was Many Deeds, And he had been a leader of a band of fighters Called the Redstick Hummingbirds, who slowed The march of Cortez' army with only a few Spears and stones which now lay still In the mountains and remember. Greenrock Woman was the name Of that old lady who walked right up And spat in Columbus' face. We Must remember that, and remember Laughing Otter the Taino who tried to stop Columbus and who was taken away as a slave. We never saw him again. In school I learned of heroic discoveries Made by liars and crooks. The courage Of millions of sweet and true people Was not commemorated. Let us then declare a holiday For ourselves, and make a parade that begins With Columbus' victims and continues Even to our grandchildren who will be named In their honor. Because isn't it true that even the summer Grass here in this land whispers those names, And every creek has accepted the responsibility Of singing those names? And nothing can stop The wind from howling those names around The corners of the school. Why else would the birds sing So much sweeter here than in other lands? by Jimmie Durham, Cherokee
Day of Reckoning
The Trail of Tears
By Yellow Flower (Blackfoot)*
It seems I can touch the sagging gray sky—so close it seems. Atop my mountain, I reach up, and pretend to pierce the closest bulge—so as to make the snow fall. I breathe in the deepest, coolest, cleanest air—as a crisp breeze races through my hair—grazing my face. My beloved peaks—how will I live without you? They say I must leave you forever—traveling to a strange and distant land—To a stark, yellow land of dry rivers and arid heat—They say I can never again call this my home— Never again—home—this land where I was born—and my fathers before me for ten thousand years.
Now the home of others—strangers will tread my familiar paths. Own my home—eat the crops I have planted for my family—Strangers will watch my seasons come and go— my snow fall—my rain bless—my sun warm—my grass grow. But not for me—for white strangers—who have stolen my world. Wrenching it from my dying grasp—twisting my arm—and breaking it off.
For months, years, they will beat us like depraved animals—marching our exhausted, thin bodies over thousands of miles—whipping our families—starving our children—stealing our babies—This will cheer them—encourage them—for this is their goal. I try to explain to them—that we can live together in peace. This wonderful, bountiful land will keep and nourish all of us. There is no need to send us into oblivion—we will live in harmony—together—But they will not listen—instead they beat us harder—bloodier—fiercer—deadlier. Until there are few of us remaining—to arrive in this strange, hot, dry wilderness, where there are no lofty peaks, no cool breeze, no lush forests—Only hot, dry land—and scanty yellow grass—and few trees.
But, as we tremble in weakness—we force ourselves to stand—we grit our teeth, and will our legs to walk—will our arms to build. We wonder why the Creator has allowed this to befall us—Has He chosen to test us—His red children of the forest? Test our strength—our determination—our faith? We will then not be discouraged—We will demonstrate to Him—our ability to survive—to make due—never to quit.
We will listen as our children sing of this time—sing of our strengths—our achievements—our heroism. Our grandchildren will look to us as examples—on how to be—for we will rally—we will overcome—we will never admit defeat.
We will grow again—into a stronger, more united nation—a nation who will lead the world into harmony—into peace. For we are Cherokee—the chosen—the strong—the proud. We, the Cherokee, powerful in past and present—rightfully take our place in the better world we have built, with our own hands—for our children of tomorrow.
*Pen name of Carroll Cocchia, who dedicated this work "To my Cherokee Family - in sincere admiration." She is an active member of both CCS and Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers & Storytellers.
By Marshanna Dickens
Who am I ?
Does red blood
Flow through my veins
And a red heart
Beat in my chest
How can I, I like a flower
Survive without roots
Sweet nourishment from my Mother Earth
And Father Sky
Red blood, Yes Red blood
Flows through in my veins
And a red heart
Beats in my chest
Because the Mind and Spirit
Of a red women lives within me
Oh, Great Spirit hear my humble words for the People, who are all your children. Please continue to surround them, no matter who they are, or where they are. Continue to surround them with your unconditional love, protection, and strength for what they must do in order to survive.
Oh, Great Spirit continue to protect the next 7 generations and this generation of young ones for they are our future, our survival, our existence.
Great Spirit, continue to give the Elders strength to go on for within them they hold much knowledge and wisdom to give to us so that we too can pass it on.
Oh, Great Spirit of all life, please continue to give strength and wisdom to the warriors (men/women) who protect and stand by The People. Let no harm come to any one of The People.
Oh, Great Spirit, I humbly ask you to protect and guide those who are traveling to and from their home. Keep them safe from all harm. Bring them back to their loved ones open arms.
Oh, Great Spirit, giver of life, as those who pass over, please open your arms up and accept them with much love. Let them share all things with other loved ones, our ancestors, at the Great Sacred Fire.
Oh, Great Spirit, as I climb up this life's ladder of lessons, I bow and humbly ask of you to help me conquer each lesson that I come across. It is not "I" who is important here--it is you Great Spirit, Earth Mother, The People, and my son. As I climb I ask that each and every lesson that is presented to me, I learn well from it, for The People, and pass on what I have learned from them.
Oh, Great Spirit, give me the strength to do what is called upon me to do, for only you can do this. Continue to place in my heart the messages, the words you want your children to hear. Use this physical shell as you wish to help The People. For The People do not belong to me, I BELONG TO THE PEOPLE!
Oh, Great Spirit, even though this shell is ever slowly becoming weakened, I ask you to let no disease, person, or feeling stop me from doing what is asked of me! Great Spirit work is very dangerous at times, I humbly ask you to protect me from any harm.
Great Spirit, I humbly pray this prayer to you, and truly hope you will hear and answer my humble human words.
BY: Little Sparrow © Alhambra, CA 3/22/00
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