The Awakening

I am from the county named after my

my great great grandfather who wore the headdress 

of a Creek chief. 

I am from beaded moccasins and braided hair,

and a white mother who never knew where she was from

but knew where she was going.

I am from a trail of tears and Indian boarding schools

Where braids were cut off, languages were forbidden

And names were changed from Soaring Red Hawk to


Where colorful beaded clothes and feathers were replaced

With ugly uniforms.

I am from dream catchers and tipis and burning sage,

From a chief, a warrior and Esta Cate Erkenakv

A Red man preacher.

I am from the red earth of Oklahoma 

Where the blood still has a voice

From pow-wows and basketball tournaments.

I am from sweat lodges and stomp dances,

From fry bread and sofke nipke.

I was born the week of the siege at 

Wounded Knee, when the warriors finally stood up


I learned the Lord’s Prayer in Indian sign language 

but I wondered if the Creator could hear my hands

when the blood cried so loud. 

Billy Graham said “Native America is like a Sleeping Giant.

The host people of the land must wake up and remember

Who they are.”

On the Pine Ridge reservation where another ten year old girl

Killed herself, a Lakota man named me “kimimila aska” which means

White Butterfly. “Don’t let them catch you, Kimimila,” he slurred

As he showed me the mass grave of his ancestors

at Wounded Knee.

“They tried to kill us…” then he laughed, “but we’re still here!”

His fist is militant and determined, but 

still he drowned in the liquid genocide

And left behind yet another

Trail of tears.

But I am a dream-catcher and a warrior poet.

I braid my daughter’s hair and paint her face for a war of the Spirit.

Her name means “victory of the plains people”, and she will 

Bring healing to the nations

We will beat the drum and dance

Until the earth is not red anymore

Until the tears have washed away the blood

And the Sleeping Giant is fully