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The American Indian Quarterly 28.1&2 (2004) 184

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Shadows of Voices

In awe of the prairie wind and its beauty,
I listen for shadows of voices.
An ancestral memory of
Forgotten rituals,
Forgotten oral narratives,
Forgotten humanity.

The conqueror in its insolence cannot hear the ancient heartbeat of the prairie.
The plowed and plundered grassland
has been sacrifice to a leader's arrogance.
Damaged spirit is the prize for the powerful victor,
given to the vulnerable,
who are unable to save themselves.

There is a language on the ancient landscape.
Symbols that relate ideas traveling from time immemorial to humanity.
Shadows of voices sustain memory in the continuous prairie wind.
Okiya from sacred and wise relatives.
This same prairie wind that caused pioneer women to go mad.

The heart knows ceremony and its healing virtues.
Medicine that can only be felt.
Ancestral narratives tell of Eya's genocide and oppression.
Imperialism has left its reminder,
a road made of bones.

Gabrielle Tateyuskanskan is a poet, speaker, and educator from Enemy Swim on the Sisseton-Wahpeton Reservation in South Dakota.



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