Standing Rock by Jeremy Blackwater

Nothing can be adequate to explain what is happening at Standing Rock. Being there has been a most profound event. I will probably write more poems on this  but I do offer this poem as a beginning.

 

Mitakuye Oyas’in    All my Relations

 

“Good Morning, all my kin”

Echo around the camp.

Brown faces, black hair, dark eyes

Surround me like a second skin.

Coating me with pride.

 

Burning sage fills my nostrils.

Sleeping on warn dirt.

I feel the Nations merge.

Revered ancestors materialize.

Our feet rooted on sacred ground.

 

Emotions don’t matter

Nations don’t matter.

Gender doesn’t matter.

Jobs don’t matter.

Protecting water counts.

 

Dancing slaps the earth.

Singing carried by wind.

Tales of old blends the voices.

Rough hands beat the drums.

Our strength increases as one.

 

We are Native.

Claimed by tradition

Named by elders

Stirred by ceremony.

Led by the Great Spirt

 

Mitakuye Oyas’in

 

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Transformed by Jay Begay

 

    Transformed   by Jay Begay 

 

     Some of my school friends saw me talking to the homeless. “What’s going on?” they asked. “Why do you do this?”

     I shrugged and walked away. I had to think about my answer.

     When I was younger, I ran around with tough kids. We got into a lot of trouble. I thought that being destructive was cool.

     I changed. I think it was the ocean. Something happened to me. I never believed that someone would raise money for me to spend a week in California and play in the ocean. I felt so free, so happy, so liked.

     Then we went to Skid Row to eat with the homeless. I have never seen such misery or such hopelessness. As we sat with them, images popped into my head. I heard my grandmother say “treat all people as kin, with respect.” Suddenly a feeling of compassion swept through me.

     Between the ocean and Skid Row, I knew with a certainty that I had to change and that I could.

     That’s why I can continue sharing with homeless. I have seen what is important.

     I give thanks for the Spirit Journey Youth group and for my grandmother Kaze Gadway for putting me into situations where I can change.

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Child Hurting-Jeremy Blackwater

A Child Hurting

Jeremy Blackwater

 

Tigers cover his page.

Roaring in pain

Tearing with his claws

Devouring all.

 

Who is he attacking?

I ask with calm.

The professional teacher

Crying inside

 

Heavy black pencil

Almost tearing the paper

Scar tissue covers the words

Unspoken in the tiger.

 

“They tell me I’m no good,

I’m lazy, I’m slow

They think I can’t hear

I hate them.”

 

I show him my drawing.

A family of tigers

Lying on the grass

Playing with the cubs

 

He cries.

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A Child Hurting – Jeremy Blackwater

 …

Tigers cover his page.

Roaring in pain

Tearing with his claws

Devouring all.

Who is he attacking?

I ask with calm.

The professional teacher

Crying inside

Heavy black pencil

Almost tearing the paper

Scar tissue covers the words

Unspoken in the tiger.

“They tell me I’m no good,

I’m lazy, I’m slow

They think I can’t hear

I hate them.”

I show him my drawing.

A family of tigers

Lying on the grass

Playing with the cubs

He cries.

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Walking to School – Jay Begay

 

     He was hidden behind a dumpster trying to keep warm. “Hey dude, “What’s up?” I say.

     He pulls himself up and opens his eyes slowly. “You have any food?”

     I hand him my lunch. “You have somewhere to go tonight?”

     “No, I’m okay, just cold.” He says pulling his coat tighter around him. Thanks for the food.”

     My cousin/brother Jacob and I find a sleeping bag and buy some spam and bread. We go back that night. He’s in the same place so we give him the stuff. We tell him about shelters during the winter.

     “Yeah,” he says. “I tried that and got beaten up the first night. It’s safer on the streets.”

     We talk a bit and say goodbye.

     Jacob and I talk about it later. There are just too many homeless people on the street and not enough good places to be safe.

     Sometimes we feel guilty about having a warm bed to go home to every night and a kitchen.

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Nathan Blackwater Advent

Advent Promise by Nathan Blackwater

 

Take off the old

Put on the new

Bring in the light

Shatter the old you.

 

These images pull at me.

I’m in a dark land

Being erased bit by bit

Until I see my hand.

 

Slowly I pull on

Clothes of light

Thinking good thoughts

Of doing what’s right.

 

Street kids appear

Shrouded with dark

My hand shreds their gloom

Until they are marked.

 

Holy you are

Holy what you touch

The light does it all

It doesn’t take much.

 

Advent’s the time

To put on the light

Healing yourself

Grow new sight.

 

God walks among us.

Rubbing out the fear

Giving bright gifts

Letting us hear.

 

This is why

All the lights and songs

The gifts and food

To turn us from wrong.

 

 

Have fun this season

The dark’s going to fold.

Put on the light

Dance till it holds.

 

 

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Jeremy speaks of Thanksgiving

My Thanksgiving

By Jeremy Blackwater

 

Thanksgiving is coming.

So is loneliness.

I miss my relatives

But I’m not going back.

 

For Natives

It’s all fake.

A made up pilgrim story

Pretending tolerance.

 

Ask the Wampanoag

About the Pilgrims

The decimation of our people

The price we paid.

 

Calling us sub-normal

Stealing our land

Forced relocation

Torn from families.

 

We give thanks every day

Not just one day of football,

Drinking, and gorging, and

Bitterness of the poor.

 

Pilgrim day long ago

Speaks to our giving freely

Even knowing about the

Broken promise people.

 

A different family

Now surrounds me.

A family that thanks

For good and bad

 

We give thanks

For surviving.

For keeping our tradition

In telling our stories.

 

We still give freely.

We give thanks

For our blessings

For all our kin.

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