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September 2004

What is Left,
When Hope Walks by –
And the Remembering Heart –
Sits amid the ashes of one once flame?

This question has been asked –
Ages long –
From when man was an ape –
Or another birth.

You can sit –
If you wish –
Upon Ancestor’s seeds –
Saying I Am – and this, without a deed.

I am a THIS –
Or my dad was a THAT –
What does it take for mankind to see –
Its not what you hit – its what you miss.

We peer so Strongly upon won goal
'Tis when we fail – we do not see –
'Tis not that you did not get there –
But what could have been gained, along the way.

I am not an Elder –
Nor a Chief –
I Honor the Medicine –
While I have it not.

However, I can tell you this –
With sadness and remorse –
The Ancestors learned it first –
And too Late.

Live in The Past –
That is where you will die.
And they would be first to say –
There are Traditions – and then there is stupidity.

So…My Brethren, brothers-sisters –
The Time has come –
Can we decide to keep True Tradition,
And let go that which hinders now, not protects?

The Rain Falls Traditionally –
But does it fall exactly so –
All the time –
Never changing?

The moon shines always, traditionally –
But does it never change?
The sun rises and sets –
Mother Earth – never changes?

To change does not mean Giving Up –
It means to Survive!
That is where our Traditions came from –
To aid The People to Survive.

That is how they were meant to be –
Not as Locks and Shackles –
Nor guns at our heads –
That we ourselves put there.

Do I speak of giving all Traditions up?
No…of course not – I never speak thus –
No matter what some may think –
I but ask The People to mind pause.

It once was Tradition –
To scalp –
To Torture –
To slit the nose of certain women.

Do we yet do this?
Are we less or more because we do not?
And remember this – the Greatest Among us –
Gave up and away a Tradition so that the People might survive.

Because they did – you survive to this day.
But now, we sit...upon the Rez’s steps –
Watching other races waltz past us –
Cause we will not learn that we can both hold and change Traditions.

Spiritual Traditions – never to be lost.
Honorable Traditions – never to be betrayed.
Respect Traditions – Always to be earned.
People Traditions – The People always first.

The rest? Ego.
And when we learn this –
Then, perhaps the Indian –
Of any name –
Will begin to truly grow again.


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