Artifacts

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic

I can't explain it.

She asked me if

I collected "Indian" artifacts

and I could feel her

anticipation do a

Fancy Shawl Dance

around the perimeter

of her words.

"Would you like to see

my collection of

arrowheads,

bird points,

broken pottery pieces,

and old tools

I have collected

over the years?"

was the reply

she expected.

Instead, taken aback,

I simply said "no,"

and left.

 

I wanted to say:

"I am the artifact.

I have been weathered

by decades of

careless handling

and cruel winds

and hard rains

that have taken much of what

I am with them

leaving me as a fragment in their wake.

 

"I am a box full of

stories told by older,

wiser generations.

I am the product which

was created by those

of which you speak

so

casually.

 

"I have been put on

display by white

onlookers for so long

that my worth

was lost somewhere

along the way

with my language.

 

"There are others like me.

My Great-Grandfather

spent years in a

museum called a

boarding school

disguised as and

being taught to be a tool

for the use of

your people.

 

"There are others like me

in museums across

the continent called

reservations where

they are being

weathered thin."

 

As I walked away,

I wondered if

the Grandfathers

were proud of me

for holding my tongue,

or shamed because

I did not use

my voice.


Submitted: April 14, 2012

© Copyright 2022 jwhite. All rights reserved.

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