What I know to be true

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I have been told many times

to change and rearrange how I speak,

in order to sway people and perhaps give some bearing to other minds.

I have been told to hold my tongue,

and refrain from,

referencing connection to land,

or the spirit that is in all that is,

and from using the “term” Mother Earth.

It will only confuse people, they said.

Only push them further from understanding.

Speak in terms of migratory corridors,

On mercury levels, on food security,

Speak, they said.

But they outlined the grounds

from which I could speak from for me.

I have arrived at this specific point

with this very conviction

through knowledge and experiences

that I am to leave forever in a state of omission?

If I speak then, will that voice

even be that of my own?

Or will it be another tongue stolen

Another manipulation

Another far reaching hand of assimilation

Plucking what I know to be true from my throat

and deeming it invalid, not good enough

not grounded in facts, inadmissible, irrelevant,

untested, lacking theory

I feel myself hesitate,

swallowing hard and unknotting my stomach.

My teachings, my teachings

My teachings are NOT theory.

The fact of the matter is,

I can speak on the grounds

they want me to

I am just no longer willing

To shapeshift my sentences

And accommodate the inability

To put a halt to Eurocentric selective hearing

I know what I know to be true

And I know, even if you don’t

But I won’t leave it out

To be able to speak with you

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8 comments

  1. I read this and your other posts last night and thought about them today as I took my 3 year old son for a walk around “our” neighborhood, Ft. Defiance, on the Navajo Reservation. I am White. My son’s mom is Black. We live where the fort at Ft Defiance once stood, the place from which Kit Carson waged his campaign of terror upon the Navajo people. It can sometimes seem, from where I sit that we have all lost, that so many of us remain lost, and as I walked I wondered whether, if even Kit Carson, should he be able to look upon the results of his actions now, at the Southwest and America for what it has become, whether he would feel guilty for helping to pave the way towards this mess we have left to our children. Then, I thought about something that a Lakota activist I knew once told me, that we (White people) need to try to better understand our own history better, that before we were “White” we were things like, “Saxon” and “Celt” and that what we have done to Indians we did to ourselves long before we brought our physical and spiritual diseases to the Americas and designated all its original inhabitants “Indians.” Then I thought about a speech I once heard by John Trudell in which he describes the traumatization we had put each other through for 400 years prior to Columbus and the resulting indifference we had towards life, particularly human life, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbCar3aGadc) and I got to thinking about Kit Carson again, the church, the U.S. government, the tribal government, the corporations, the Aztecs and their ruins, the dinosaurs, and I was looking around at the filth on the reservation, seeing and smelling the depression, the hatred and the beauty that lingers everywhere here and I thought about you and your journey, me and my own, and, for the first time, I smiled when I tried to imagine the struggle of our children because suddenly I realized that one way or another this disease of colonization which is at least as old as Western Civilization has got to be nearing the peak of its potential as it has nothing left to conquer and people like you, people like me, struggle to awaken, to figure out how to heal and to raise our children to be warriors, to win. I realized then that WE WILL WIN. It is in the nature of nature to heal, to die, to be re-born. So, sister, rock on. Until the final victory…..

    1. I absolutely loved reading this and it somehow confirmed why I write and the goodness in the vastness o this world. Thank you for sharing a glimpse into your life with me. I believe that the most important part to creating change now is reflecting love and understanding to others, standing to correct ignorance and hate, and most importantly.. Transmitting our values to our children. It truly is all for the future generations. I want my son to grow up in an environment of mutual respect and understanding, not of division and racism

      1. I too would like my kids to grow up in an environment of mutual respect and understanding. However, they are already growing up in a world very much divided by race and class. We have come a long way, but still have so far to go. In the mean time, I am thankful that my kids have their mother as an example of someone whose integrity and self-awareness demand respect even from people who are not capable of understanding how amazing she really is. Quite honestly, I think that White people are severely handicapped in our ability to understand the strengths and the struggles of people of color. Often, the best we can do is listen, learn, become empathetic, work to undo how racism and class has defined us as well. Mind you, that is not to say that we should go around feeling guilty for being born White or allow ourselves to be anybody’s punk. But, we do have to at least acknowledge that being born White in a world defined by racism does shape our perspective as much as being born Black or Native or any other ethnicity does. Unfortunately, White America lags far behind other ethnic groups in coming to understand how racism has affected us, of how we have allowed ourselves to be shaped by racism. We’ve gotten better at knowing what to say or not say, but still have a long way to go to towards understanding how being White shapes our experience and perspective on a deep level. I suspect that White people will either be a minority everywhere or no longer exist by the time we get there. Oh, well.

      2. By the way, I think that your response to my comment, like your blog, was beautifully written and I am glad that my comment offered you encouragement. Please, keep on writing.

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