Saturday, January 3, 2015

Dreaming in First Nations Country

I wake from a dream of First Nations country,
of a beautiful people who loved the land,
who lived in connection
with Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit,
and with all that is.

I was dreaming of the land as it once was,
lush and bountiful,
dotted with buffalo and bison,
running with clear river water.
I dreamed a sea untainted,
thriving with fish,
whales leaping and plentiful,
a life full and joyous under the sun.

Voices on the wind chanted prayers
to the ancestors,
braves galloped across the mesa on dappled horses,
while below teepees clustered peacefully,
children played and the women ground corn,
gathering wood and water 
for the communal meal.

The scene shifted, upon waking.
The land turned red with spilled blood, 
of buffalo and braves,
as soldiers appeared, with muskets raised.
and people marching, famished and tearful,
across a winter landscape,
herded by soldiers away from all they held dear
into a world of suffering and privation.
Then came old stone residential schools,
haunted by the cries of forlorn children,
whose cries reverberate still
through all the generations.

But then I heard, with hope and relief, 
the beat of the tom tom,
calling fancy dancers to the powwow,
calling men and women warriors to arise
across the land.

The First People's strong and beautiful spirit 
is rising again,
the braves dancing strong for their people,
the elders, bent with age,
passing on all that they know
of times long past,
when they lived on and with the land.
They are bent with sorrow at how wantonly
humankind has taken from Mother Earth
without giving back.
They can see, as we do not, 
the Long March ahead
for the seventh generation,
and their hearts cannot contain
their tears.

But my heart rises with hope
to the beat of the drum,
to the spreading of the message
to all corners of the earth
that we are one,
interconnected with the web of all life,
and that what we do to one
of earth's creatures,
we do to all.

I wrote this this morning, on waking. I am reading The Wolf at Twilight, by Kent Nerburn, about a Lakota elder's painful history. But I have just read Aaron Paquette's statement: Women are Warriors, posted on Kay Davies' site this morning. It is a strong and hopeful message about the need for women to rise, all over the planet. He says "We are in a battle for the soul of the planet. And you are that soul." I do hope you will read this statement, for it resonates, and gives me  hope.


  1. I too fear and grieve for the seventh generation. I love how you write about these people Sherry. May their knowledge and wisdom spread. I'm off to check out the blog about women as the souls of the earth. What a responsibility we bear.

  2. There is time to awaken and pass our knowledge and love of the land to the seventh generation. Do no fear.

  3. "But my heart rises with hope
    to the beat of the drum . . . "

    Laden with such history, I still hear and feel this with you in the cadance of this poem. For the seventh generation--is this pure chance? My first Midweek motif, on 1/7, is "sevenths" in whatever way that arises for you. Ha! I hope you will say more about the seventh generation of life. What a dream! Happy New Year, Sherry.

  4. I think there is hope, and there is sorrow and despair too.. I think there are more and more people truly understanding... Let the drums beat.

  5. So many tears spilling each day, but I still have hope that we will one day soon change this harm we have done.

  6. We have to continue to keep hope, Sherry! Your poem is an inspiration.

  7. it's so hard these days, but what's the alternative? ~


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