Waitin’ fo’ Columbus (Part 2)

 
A small man came riding
bare backed, bare legged.
A blanket for his saddle, my grandfather told me
how he sought peace and so it was
the brave and fearful Comanche
left for all time the sacred land of the Navaho…
… it seemed that no time at all had passed when a
painted stranger on a painted horse came riding
into the home of my ancestors… The Black Foot Sioux
did not wish for war though their messenger said that conflict
was inevitable and we had little or no choice…
Either our Nation would join with the others or we would all fall.
Victim and prey to the evil that was a man with metal shields
and fire-sticks that killed our bravest warriors at a hundred paces…

The tales of my grandparents are blurry with the memories
passed on by theirs and we all know now how more white men
came to rid us of our pride and our lands…
… but I was amongst those who took to wearing battle green and went to
War speaking our tongue as their code and saw many braves both red and white
fall prey to the guns of men, still men but yellow and hated and I knew then
as I know now that my sons will not fight again, these wars that the white man
starts are not ours to finish yet we fight them still, unheard as the Blackman
struggles against so many years of hate, we strive with them though we are forgotten.
We have our Place and we should stay there but that can never be enough…
We raise money as we raise awareness; we look forward as we are pushed back;
overshadowed by the freed slaves and forgotten by the power on the Hill, replaced by immigrants from the South. Is there no one strong enough to say what we all cry in our
Hearts? WE were here first. When will that be important to the Pilgrims of Connecticut?
When will we stand equal with the Whiteman in his armour and with his fire-sticks?

I danced with my ancestors, I danced with the braves that saw the Buffalo Nation slaughtered, I danced in Fresno and the security guards threw me out and when I
Danced wid ya Mama on the roof that sad, dark, rainy night she died…
… seemed to me the NYPD would’ve cared a damn sight more if she’d been white…

Progress comes to every generation but sometimes not so well… and now I know how the Navaho felt… Waitin’ fo’ Columbus…
Iain

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