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You snatched us Away from the arms of those we call our. own Into the darkness that we were not able to break free from Into the pitfalls of what you called reform Into the hands of what was deemed religious Into the grave that silenced the horrors Horrors of what you put us through In the name of assimilation In the name of integration In the name of abolition Domination. Extinction.

Your ways kept us locked Even when we were released Back to the arms of our people Who we no longer knew The language whose melody And words we couldn’t even say To a tribe that welcomed our arrival Yet surprised at the hollow shell Surprised at the disdain Surprised at the apathy The disrespect The cruelty The disconnect

The place we’ve been was hell Ran by people in robes and shrines where blood of our people flowed And pulpits and altars And those who deemed themselves holy Holy to keep us locked Holy to keep us afraid Holy to keep us bound In shackles and chains In whips and ropes In words that pierced through our skin The skin that they persecuted That they deemed savage That they deemed unworthy

And they drilled down the language that was foreign to our lips They drilled down the unworthiness of our race They drilled down the civilization that we are lacking And they beat us until we relented Until our tongues were formed to their language Until the color of our skin turned pale Until the identity of our people we forgot Until the graves piled up from those who resisted Until the graves piled up and up and up That even the land from which they were buried couldn’t keep the history in

And those of us who lived to tell our stories And those of us who went back home A shell of a person, an identity that was once there Repeatedly, they told us we were unworthy Savaged Uneducated Yet who here is the uncivilized?

This poem came as a channeling of the field- I wrote it within 10 minutes and didn’t stop until the words stopped in my head.

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