Saturday, September 3, 2011

Poem: Forget That You Are Native

They want you to forget,
That is their plan,

So look in the mirror,
Your skin,
Your eyes,
Your nose,
Your lips,
Your check bones,
Your hair,
Look closely,
In the mirror,

They want you to forget,
And when tears fill up in your hands,
You can wipe them on your jeans,
Get in the car,
Drive 60 in a 45,
Wipe the tears on your car seat,
Your steering wheel,

When the culture says you are homogeneous,
But the land pulses through your being,
Deep rooted in the land,
Waters,
Home,

Homogeneity is destructive to the soul,
Rise up amongst it all,
Gotta climb daily,
Because homogeneity is a sickness,
That can suck you in,

Destructive majority culture sickness,
Native children are hungry,
But you call us "white,"
When inside our homes is a fire,
Ablaze,
And we want to break down the walls,

They want you to forget,
So they don't have to own up to,
The damage they do to you,
Your family,
Your community,

They want you to forget,
So we can "get along,"
So we have "community,"

They want you to forget,
So they don't have to deal,
With the injustices that bury you,
In silence,
Most often when you are alone,

They want you to forget,
Forget that you are Native,
Because they think we are gone,

They want you to forget,
Because it is about a "divine plan,"
It is about "progress,"
For them,

They want you to forget,
Because they walk an easy road,
Their being is not crippled by,
The multiple layers of oppression,

If forgetting means dislocation,
Discombobulation,
Disorientation,
Addiction,
Abuse,

Remembering,
Knowing,
Feeling,
Living,
Breathing,
Walking,
Allowing,
We do not forget,

We can stand proud,
Stand tall,
Be whole,
Healthy,
When we remember who we are.

9 comments:

Ankhesen Mié said...

Destructive majority culture sickness,
Native children are hungry,
But you call us "white,"
When inside our homes is a fire,
Ablaze,
And we want to break down the walls,

They want you to forget,
So they don't have to own up to,
The damage they do to you,
Your family,
Your community,

They want you to forget,
So we can "get along,"
So we have "community,"


Sheer brilliance.

And no...never forget.

Anishinaabekwe said...

Ankhesen Mié - Thanks much, as always! :)

maggie.clifford said...

Thank you, Anishinaabekwe. I am currently editing the next edition of SQUAT. I'd love to be in touch with you because I have a question for you. If you have a moment, please contact me at maggie.clifford@gmail.com

Thank you for your voice.

Anishinaabekwe said...

Hi Maggie, I'll be in touch very soon!

Deb said...

Anishinaabekwe...I know I asked to use "On Being a Fake Indian," but I love this one for Veronica too! Can I link to he other and repost his one? Sorry, there are so many intense and wonderful "words" here it's hard to say anyone is bette than the other!

Anishinaabekwe said...

You can use this one too! =)

Deb said...

Thanks! Posted the first. Will post the other when I'm done writing the entire post. 'Preciate ya!

Primitiva said...

Although I am from a native woman from an island in the Pacific, thousands of miles away, I can relate wholeheartedly to what you express in your other poetry. Thank you so much for your powerful and beautiful work! This is the first time I feel I am not imagining things, in a community and a world where people are trying to be more like the oppressor and forgetting the right way. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Anishinaabekwe said...

Primitiva - I believe that is called internalized oppression. Here is some information on lateral violence - http://www.kweykway.ca/programs/lateral-violence-interventions

Bullying & lateral violence -- http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/people/bullying-lateral-violence