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233 ssipsis (b. 1941) ssipsis (Penobscot for “little bird”) was born on Indian Island in the Penobscot Nation and is well known for her writing and visual art. Some of her birch-bark etchings are on permanent display at the Penobscot Nation Museum on Indian Island; other works are at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor. ssipsis has also worked as a social worker and as an editor for the Maine Indian Newsletter. The pieces below first appeared in Molly Molasses and Me, a book she calls “a collection of living adventures” with her Passamaquoddy friend Georgia Mitchell, and in which she uses a great many Passamaquoddy terms. Injun Laugh I’m very glad to be here And see lots of shiny faces I come from long way up river From the aboriginal people’s places I’m supposed to talk about ecology Environment and tradition And living the creator’s way Indigenous people’s rights, legal fights And bi-cultural education I wish I could stay a long time To talk about those things But I worry that my place be gone If long time I stay away I would get restless and homesick For my own nation And I might shrivel up and die For taste of moose and beaver 234 penobscot So maybe we be done with greeting And get into the meat/heart of talk So I can get back to native land I’m very glad to learn about radiation That they plant near my reservation For that means some grow no hair And their face is bare And they light up in dark So we can see who they are And not shoot for bear I learn about cyclamates, a chemical sweetener The hard way And that was about ten years ago When a big Mack truck Dump on reservation All that soda pop that stores don’t want And so give Injun They also give Injun diarrhea And cancer and short life span But we don’t worry that white man Don’t care Cause we just passing through And we got better place to go I laugh when history books say That white man took Injun land away Cause I still see land sitting there today And white man tell us it’s written In their book who own land Injun still laugh Cause he no read book And Injun know who owns land And it written in Injun book And white man teach us In their school all those things ssipsis 235 Including golden rule And Injun laugh Cause he no fool and he don’t want To be taught like a gol danged mule And white man get mad Cause Injun laugh And they put us in jail Cause we don’t believe their book But we don’t worry That white man don’t care Cause we just passing through And we got better place to go And white man try and try To find Injun book He cut down tree He move mountain He dig up grave He look through garbage dump and shell heap All time looking for Injun book That prove Injun own land And Injun just sit there and laugh Cause white man still can’t find Injun book You know us Injuns walk freely on earth You see some white folk never touch ground All time feet is far away from earth Those white folk never get kiss from earth mother They got high platform shoes Then they get in car with fifteen inches of rubber And they get in car inside ten room house And they drive in car on five inch of black tar Out of concrete city Into country And back again And still never touch earth What they afraid of They buzz around sky like pigeon 236 penobscot And whizz around ground like chipmunk Where they going As you know us Injuns walk freely You know how much it cost for white man To walk on Injun land It cost them plenty For moccasins that are fifteen deerhides thick It cost them plenty For houses that are ten wigwams wide And it cost them plenty to move car that weighs One ton boulder yes it cost them plenty And they need their own river Cause their skee wun smell⁷ And their mitch i gun stink⁸ And they got to mix it One skee wun to fifteen miles of river And they got no room to plant trees And flowers to...


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MARC Record
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