With Reservation – Revisited

 

“Words do not pay for my dead people.”

Shall we talk
about
it
awhile while we travel the miles
of
defiled
land
slaughtered
animals
murdered
people
that
lead
to a
place
you will be
graciously confined
called
a
reservation
but
you
don’t
need
an
application
just
lose
your
apprehension
and
stay
put
here
awhile while we hand out the piles
of
stingy
food
rationed
goods
white man’s
ways
that
you
are
being
graciously supplied
without
hesitation.

“Good words will not give me back my children.”

Yes, but you fled
showing great
premonition
against our
demands,

AND

we require
your
supplication
without
RESERVATION.

“Treat all men alike. Give them all the same law.”

Sure, just submit
to our
imposed
economic
spiritual
cultural
bounded
limitations

until we discover the next resource we want.

“Give them all an even chance to live and grow.”

You ARE free to live
and grow –
within the
restriction
called
a
RESERVATION
and
all
its
white man’s
imposed
economic
spiritual
cultural
bounded
rules!

“Let man be a free man – free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to think and talk and act for myself – and I will obey every law, or submit to the penalty.”

Sigh.

We’ve talked
about
it
awhile
while you traveled the miles
to
bitter
tears
stolen
lives
broken
hearts
that
you
have now
been
forever (until we discover the next valuable resource we want need)
graciously subjected to
called
a
reservation
but…

“You might as well expect the rivers to run backward as that any man who was born a free man should be contented when penned up and denied liberty to go where he pleases.”

but…

“I am tired of talk that comes to nothing. It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and all the broken promises.”

but…

“All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers…”

but…

“Words do not pay for my dead people.”

~

All the words in quotes above were taken from a speech given by In-mut-too-yah-lat-lat (Thunder traveling over the Mountains), more commonly known as Chief Joseph. He was chief of a tribe of the Nez Perces (Wal-lam-wat-kin band of the Chute-pa-lu), a group of people who had maintained peace with white people since they had first met and helped Lewis and Clark in 1805. It was always his goal to live peacefully with the white people. After a few young Nez Perces men took revenge on a white settler group who had killed their own fathers and brothers, Chief Joseph’s tribe became the target of military action and revenge, in spite of his appeals.

~

I am revisiting “With Reservation”, first published last year, in recognition of Native American Heritage Month and the continuing battle in my state (Line 5) and others to recognize treaty rights and improve the living conditions of and opportunities available to Indigenous groups. We have a long way to go.

The United States celebrates something we call “Thanksgiving” this week. In schools, students are taught the story of Native Americans who helped Pilgrims during a difficult season and the meal they shared to celebrate the harvest. In truth, colonialism resulted in the decimation of hundreds of nations and millions of human lives. Those who didn’t perish faced the loss of culture, dignity and ancestral lands. The destruction to natural resources that Europeans wrought on the so-called “New World” has included everything from buffalo to water. The persecutions and resource grabs continue to this day.

~

The complete original post can be read here.

~

Words and Photography ©2016 & 2017Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetrynoDAPL & human rights. Bookmark the permalink.

34 thoughts on “With Reservation – Revisited

  1. That was wonderfully put together. A devastating truth. I’ve decided to boycott THanksgiving this year as I believe it is a lie!
    Um…my other family members are not as I would say thrilled. But alas it is my choice to eat pizza instead!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Profound and thought provoking. The latter necessary these days, therefor going to re-blog it too. We don’t have Thanksgiving day, but I am thankful for our connection dear Tanya. Wishing you a wonderful weekend and Happy Thanksgiving.
    XxX

    Liked by 1 person

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