still they haunt me

still they haunt me
the look in their eyes,
the expressions on their faces
as they sat behind tables
dressed in traditional clothing
along with scarves and sweatshirts
on that cold, cloudy afternoon
the wind was blowing, many waves
in the ocean below the cliffs
Father Sun did not show his face
at this Gathering of Elders
accompanied by others younger,
several generations from the Land,
three Grandmothers were here
to sell their rugs, some jewelry —
bracelets, necklaces, earrings,
all crafted by their weathered hands —
their main concern their animals
to make what was needed
so as to care for them
but not for themselves
and they were crowded,
a throng of strangers
greedily eying their wares
looking to find a bargain
those who have no conception
who never read or speak
of the lives lead at Big Mountain,
the constant, silent struggle
     the N-Aquifer, sinkholes,
          the harassment
               the constant surveillance
                         the many arrests
                                   the kangaroo courts
                                        the eviction notices
                                   the livestock impoundments
                         the bennett freeze
                    the need for repair on their hogans
          the desecration of sacred grounds
     the constant search for water
          needing to travel
          further distances to find
     that needed sustainer of life
everyday life at the Altar
something not understood
something totally foreign
to these outsiders who face them
those totally ignorant of all this,
their only concern the deals they desire
never asking anything about their lives
never showing any interest in the People
these who had come many miles
still there were others who danced
the young and the Elders together
and some spoke of lifeways
to the crowd gathered around them
but i was drawn to the Grandmothers,
wanting to reach out to them,
as they sat there that afternoon
this one Grandmother,
one who had been arrested
at Sundance 2001, told me
     the land was brown,
     the trees ... everything, brown
when i asked of Big Mountain
while this was months ago
still it remains here
in dreams, in thoughts,
that turn back to that afternoon —
and those looks on their faces —
here they still remain
          with me always
for still they haunt me
prayers will continue
for them, for all on the Land




the wolf is my messenger





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copyright © 16 february 2003, by louve14
revised 25 february 2005
all rights reserved


Many thanks to for permission to use this picture