“Interwoven”

“Interwoven”
 
1
 
I come from an island
and you come from a continent,
yet we are both made of stories
that teach us to remember
our origins and genealogies,
to care for the land and waters,
and to respect the interconnected
sacredness of all things.
 
2
 
I come from an island
and you come from a continent,
yet we both know invasion.
Magellan breached our reef
thirty years after Columbus raided
your shore. We were baptized
in disease, violence, and genocide.
We both carry the deep grief
of survival.
 
3
 
I come from an island
and you come from a continent,
yet we both know the walls
of boarding schools. We were punished
for breathing our customs and
speaking our language. We learned
the Western curriculum
of fear and silence.
 
4
 
I come from an island
and you come from a continent,
yet we both know desecration.
We witnessed minerals, trees, wildlife,
and food crops extracted for profit.
We mourn lands stolen and re-named,
waters diverted and dammed.
We inherit the intergenerational
loss of removal.
 
5
 
I come from an island
and migrated to your continent.
Hundreds of thousands of us
have settled in your territories
for military service, education,
health care, and jobs.
We were so busy searching
for better lives, we didn’t ask
your permission. We didn’t even
recognize how our American dream
was your American nightmare.
 
6
 
Native American cousins, I see you now
across this vast, scarred continent,
reviving your languages and cultures,
restoring native schools and tribal governments,
planting heritage seeds and decolonizing your diets,
blockading pipelines and protesting mining,
fighting for renewable energy
and a sustainable future.
 
Native cousins, I see you now
dancing, chanting, drumming,
rapping, writing, researching,
publishing, digitizing, animating,
filming, video gaming, and
revitalizing your ancestral stories.
I hear and honor your voices.
 
7
 
I come from an island
and you come from a continent,
yet let us gather, today, and
share our stories of hurt,
our stories of healing.
I hope, seven generations from now,
our descendants will continue
interweaving our struggles.
I hope the stories we share today
and in the future will carry us
towards sovereign horizons.
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