Tales of tobacco ties, sweet with prayers
sent up by burning sage,
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.