The Soldiers Heel!
Life,beneath the soldiers heel is that what we were meant to feel,standing there in the hand out line,through the heat,snow,or thunderstorm,waiting for the flour,beans,and rice,grateful for each little gift?
A grandmother and two small children,there was no where safe for her to leave us,by her side she kept us close,all that was left to her was us and with our lives no one was trusted,until she finally found blood cousins.
That long trail cost her so much,she spent her life giving of self,making medicine for all who came seeking,bringing new babies into the world,and raising the two small ones left of blood,protecting them as best she could.
How hatefully they spoke,those soldiers who claimed a Nation,where were the good lands and food promised in the treaties,where was the respect that should be shown to Elders?
The fire water handed out freely,no guns for hunting,no ammunition,no way to build a decent home,so little wood found to keep us warm,here in this land so far from home,we were so very all alone.
Her greatest fear that she fall ill,who then would care for her grandchildren,she would never leave them to the christians,they would be raised in their own traditions.
And oh,yes,they came in droves those missionaries,come to teach the Noble Savage,come to save their heathen souls,even if they had to kill their ungrateful bodies to get it done.
Grandmother would nod and smile,yes please tell us of your Jesus,he sounds like such a wise teacher,and you,do you live what you are saying, do you believe we are all equal,she would ask them?
How angry and red faced they became,how quick they were to call her names,how many times did they spit at her,tell she was evil and ungrateful,did they not bring their cast off rags to dress us?
Those fancy white ladies in their long dresses,gloved hands so reluctant to touch us,these women who could cause a hanging if one of our men dared to look at them,who swept their skirts aside when they passed us.
While the women of our People worked the fields,they sat on their porches with lemon aid and servants,too delicate to wash their own clothing,they threw away while we were starving.
Why were they here in the lands they gave us,we paid in blood those miles we traveled,praying every single step that one day we would be free of their greed and grasping,yet here they were taking more.
While picking weevils from the meal and flour,stones from the beans and rice they gave us,grandmother sang sweet songs of Shakonigi,so beautiful and mist covered,sharing memories with her babies.
What did we learn at that young age,to keep our faces blank,to keep our thoughts hidden,to simply smile and keep going,to bite our tongues when in public and never share what kept us going,the spirit of a People lived deep inside forever burning.
To never forget the ancient stories,never forget how much life cost,never forget the things we saw,to teach the generations yet to come,we were her future and she taught us well,black eyes blazing,faces silent.
From me she drew a promise,with her last breath she called me closer,you will take my place,share with your own all I have taught,keep the stories and pass them on,and from your granddaughters ask the same.
Like an ever living flame,passed down through so many ages,mouth to mouth,and mind to mind,we will not let our People die,their heritage rests in our hearts,our very spirit is their lives.
No,it was not an easy life,beneath the sneers of the yonega,thinking they had won the battles,they forgot the war waged on around them,so long as Tsalagi draws breath,Creator will be honored at the water.
So long as one bears the blood,the stories will be told at the fires,the drums will call and we will answer,this is the promise of my granddaughters,forever we will honor our ancestors!