Do I live on Turtle Island?
What am I?
Where do I live?
Is it America?
Is it Turtle Island?
I cannot alter the truth. It is stranger than fiction.
My Clan’s blood and bone was once of Ireland
Two hundred years ago, three thousand miles back
We were dying.
The ones who named themselves
The world’s greatest ‘civilization’
Pushed us down, until we died, strangling on empty stomachs
Until we went dead into the turf beside the rising barrows of our ancestors
In mass graves,
No rock cairns, no swirling crosses, just green stained lips from our last and lost battle to Live off the Grass.
Does the green of Eiru, of Eire still mark their skeletal jaws?
My Clan’s blood and bone was once of Israel
Saw nineteen hundred years
Purge and hatred
No last names allowed
No trades outside the ghettos but those despised
Because the gentiles said we killed their god.
Because ‘the lord’s chosen’ said we used the blood of their children in our rites
As they burned our infants alive
For the twin atrocities of existence and disparity.
And so my other blood and bone left, scattering yet again, again to the four winds, across a sea of water this time instead of sand.
Too many of those who stayed behind
In unknown corners.
We all came here to this land
And we made mitzvahs and did great deeds
And we made mistakes beyond counting
We triumphed and lost, we sinned and redeemed
But among our failings was one beyond belief.
We kept ourselves blissfully blind to the dark wave washing over this land
Day by day
Tribe by tribe
Soul by soul in torment, in death, in endless opposition
To fading away into a none-too-gentle night of reservations, schools and obscurity.
Crazy Horse and Joseph
Eli Parker and Charles Eastman
Osceola and the Prophet
Nancy Ward and Sacagawea.
The People are winning. The Nations will endure.
Wampanoag and Haudenesane
Hopi and Dine
Ho and Makah
Lakota and Hochunk
They do not have us to thank for it.
Is it right that some see me here and call me not Druid, but occupier?
Is it fair that some see me here and call me White, not caring or knowing how many of my kind died as ‘great nations’ slaughtered us to prove we weren’t?
Is it true that nothing, not my love, not my faith, not my care can redeem me?
Can all of us go back?
Back to lands that could never hold all our numbers?
Back to ways that are no longer fully our own?
Our very survival has denied our passage.
So much of my blood and bone lies in this land.
The ashes of my beloved lie wrapped in the Earth Lady’s arms here.
I live and die with this land, not a country, not a flag, this living land.
If I were to leave it
My heart would never beat the right way again
My right arm would wither
And I would sink down by the waters of lands known and unknown
When I look at a map, or the spreading breast of the ground
I see a great turtle stretched out over the waters
I see a vast and vivid continent rearing up around me
I see my future home, the only one I want for my body, beside my husband
I see my past in the sunlit orchards of my late childhood.
I see the land I’d die for, my only regret to not return to it in this life.
I see my home.
I see Turtle Island.
And so then, what am I?
And So then, Where do I live?
And so then, do you?