We Walk the Wide Country

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic
Poem contrasting Mount Rushmore with Souix culture.

Submitted: January 20, 2008

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Submitted: January 20, 2008



We walk the wide country
from the Great Lakes’ forests
to the Rockies’ foothills
and call it our home -
Lakota Tipi.

We have no need to build
monuments of stone
or carve mountains to look like men
that God carved first
with wind and rain
to look like rugged beauty.

We the People
are monument enough –
causing praise to rise,
like fire’s smoke,
on high to the Eternal Creator
of all living,
and not to men
who but rule and pass away.

Enemies and allies have we,
and war enough we’ve had –
and peace
in which to raise our children
and grow old.

What single man makes a People?
No, it seems to us that they make him.

Tribal laws and traditions boil down to this –
People in relationship
with themselves
and the ground they walk
entrusted to them.

Walk in thankful awareness,
intimate knowledge
born of care
and necessity.

Knowledge of the Buffalo,
have we –
sustainer of our ways.
Living long enough
upon this land
to really know its seasons,
its ways, its animals,
fruit and trees,
we have all we need,
with that and trade
with other nations.

I will not curse –
or even blame –
those who came and stole
for time without end
the land we held in trust.
I will now bow to hate
and so become like them,
full of greed and lies,
and empty of a sense
of stewardship of the land.


I will stand and be myself,
for I have worth
they cannot steal,
and knowledge of the land
they will never gain.
They need me
more than I need them.

And my children’s children
will be to me
the only monument I need.

James Gagiikwe 2008

© Copyright 2018 James Gagiikwe. All rights reserved.

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