Poems of the Sioux Indians       

Written By:  nila northSun
of her cousin, Shadow
Pg. 133

Shadow is
my cousin
Shadow was
my cousin
hated herself
others hated her
whites hated her
indians hated her
called shadow
apple indian
whites saw only INDIAN
fat drunk greasy squaw

Shadow didn't know
what she was
my cousin killed herself
nothing new
we have lots of cousins
both dead and alive
with the same shadow

Also written by: nila northSun
"moving camp too far"
Pg. 159

i can't speak of
    many moons
    moving camp on travois
i can't tell of
    the last great battle
    counting coup or
    taking scalps
i don't know what it
    was to hunt buffalo
    or do the ghost dance
i can see an eagle
    almost extinct
    on slurpee plastic cups
i can travel to powwows
    in campers & winnebagos
i can eat buffalo meat
    at the tourist burger stand
i can dance to indian music
    rock-n-roll hey-a-hey-o
i can
    & unfortunately
    i do

Written by : Joy Harjo
"3 AM"
Pg. 161

3 AM
in the alberquerque airport
trying to find a flight
to old oraibi, third mesa
   is the only desk open
bright lights outline new york,

and the attendant doesn't know
that third mesa
is a part of the center
of the world
and who are we
just two indians
at three in the morning
trying to find a way back.

Written by : Hopi-Miwok poet Wendy Rose
"I expected my skin and my blood to ripen"
Pg. 157

I expected my skin and my blood
to ripen
not to be ripped from my bones;
like green fruit I am peeled
tasted, discarded; my seeds are stepped on
and crushed
as if there were no future. Now
there has been
no past.
My own body gave up the beads,
my own hands gave the babies away
to be strung on bayonets...
as if the pain of their birthing
had never been.
...if I could, would've turned her
into a bush or rock if there'd been magic enough
to work such changes. Not enough magic
to stop the bullets, not enough
magic to stop the scientists, not enough magic
to stop the money. Now our ghosts dance
a new dance, pushing from their hearts
a new song.

Written by : James Welch
"Winter Indian"
Pg. 135

Happy to think of good times
buffalo fat to fall in jumps.
When war was still a game and berries
stained a face fierce,
white women slaved to laughing squaws.

If we raced a century over hills
that ended years before, people couldn't
say our run was simply poverty of promise
for a better end. We ended sometime
back in recollections of glory, myths
that meant the hunters meant a lot
to starving wives and bad painters...

Comfortable we drink and string together stories
of white buffalo, medicine men who promised
and delivered horrible cures for hunger,
the lovely tales of war and white men massacres.
Meaning gone, we dance for pennies now,
our feet jangling, dust that hides the bones
of sainted Indians.

Allen, Paula Gunn "The Sacred Hoop". Boston; Beacon Press, 1986

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