Days of Buffalo Grasses

Blue skies over waving prairies, tall Osage grasses

beckoning weary travelers to take comfort and shelter, seeming to say,

come and rest, feed yourselves, as they have for countless generations,

the bison herds and all who have been so nurtured.

White faces cannot comprehend this compassion and kindness, so they cut, slash and burn

their way through all the cursed growth, to remove it out of their way.

Make room for crops, homes and children to play

along with their small vain animals, they say—-

Relentless attack on grasses, trees and plants of all kinds,

they did not understand nor accept, thus creating massive hordes

of water spirits for

their off-spring to contend with and there was nothing left

to slow them down or deter them.

Noden (wind) comes calling blowing gusts of sand everywhere,

and the people still cannot grasp what has happened!

We must create, we must civilize,

sounds the cry of the conqueror And they don’t stop

with grasses and trees.

They continued with the children of the common people who greeted them

and nourished them, for a time.

Educate, civilize becomes synonymous with enslaving

the two-legged and their kind—­

Cut, tear, slash, create civilized dwellings

for us to live and breathe, they say—-

And now the plantings they have done,

seem to cry in the night and beckon for attention in the day,

so that the conqueror

must start yet another process of clipping and shearing,

lest they grow and multiply beyond demand.

And what of those

who were educated and primed for becoming civilized?

Are they improved, or have they become

impoverished, bereft, stripped of everything they once were,

thus creating another dependency to be dealt with?

Where is the voice

of the grasses when

Noden (wind) called upon them for their songs?

Voices stilled forever

so the common people cannot

hear their sounds of joy and peace any longer.

The true education

must reign and be allowed

to share its wisdom for the children to be free, bright and true.

Where are the voices and songs of the people, as they rode and played

among the tall grasses and frolicked among the trees?

The original songs

and teachings are slowly coming back,

but through different voices,

echoing the injustices and the sufferings, the common people have endured.

This then could be the Indian Literature

the conqueror makes such big talk about—-

Ah, but he thought he had silenced all those voices,

and now wants them to be heard again, throughout

the hallowed halls of learning he has created

among the squares of stone and wood he has chosen to

place the voices of the common people within.

Can this be?

Nin se Neaseno…

Author: neaseno

I was born on Powers Bluff in Wood County, Wisconsin, into a traditional community of Neshnabek. I was raised speaking only native languages, and learned to speak English upon entering school at the age of 6. As of this writing, I am one of 5 remaining Heritage Fluent Speakers of Potawatomi.

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