[The picture is of my grandmother, who went from being an adorable, little Mohawk baby to one of the most beautiful, strong, resilient women I have had the honor of knowing.]
Wounds so deep we carry them in our DNA
First Nation babies ripped from their families
Placed in catholic run boarding schools
Beaten for speaking with their mother’s tongue
Raped, murdered and buried in mass graves
Beneath a plot of land that now holds title to my pain
In deed–ownership claimed
These “savage” children of the wild
How can they wholly know what’s right for them?
Without baptism by genocide being the holy rite for them?
I don’t carry the tongue as I am a child of relocation
But I feel the sorrow in my marrow and I cry
I cry at the very sight of my grandmother’s picture
I miss her like I miss being able to speak Mohawk
But I am proud to be her grandson…to carry on
I don’t do rosaries like she did at 6am
I walked away from the church the day she said she was unworthy of the host
If she was unworthy what chance do we all have?
The host! We are the host! This is/was/should be OUR home
I’ll find peace within myself, while you paint your face red for your football game
I’ll find peace within myself, while you run the black snake through tribal lands
I’ll find peace within myself, when the day comes I can hug all my missing cousins and tell them they’re loved. They’re loved. THEY ARE LOVED!
[“Good enough for the Indians,” my grandma would say on many occasions, to mean that we should be happy with what we have, as this is our lot in life.]