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I won’t give you what you want from me.

Tales of tobacco ties, sweet with prayers

sent up by burning sage,

smoldering fungus.

I won’t romanticize myself,

with words spotted like prized war ponies,

freckled with the language of my Grandmothers defiant tongues.

I won’t give you what you want from me.

Legends of mosquito man and swans.

My child ears longed for these and prized them,

like summer strawberries cradled in elderly hands.

I won’t help you resurrect the noble savage.

Bring life to black and white photos,

boasting stoic Indians,

dressed in designs crafted by tribes not of their own.

Playing indian for you.

I will not paint with all the colours of the mountain.

Bury truths behind my brown eyes.

So you can see history like Disney did.

I will not give you words that don’t remember where they come from.

No pleasing sounds will spring from an aloof mouth.

Not on this moon.. Or many moons from now.

I will not be your pocahontas, squaw,

tonto, chief, healer, geronimo, dancing with wolves indian.

I will not believe in your status cards.

Laminated paper prints placing parameters on Indian identity.

I will not hold back anything,

like your hydro dams hold back life blood,

just to make you comfortable with my presence.

I will not be your token brown skin and

birth you legitimacy at the cost of

honoring the truth of my history.

I will not let your politics, photos, motion pictures,

or paradigms have the rights to define me.

I will not give you what you want from me.


In Spirit,

Helen K


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