a story about searching for one’s lost tribe
Lost, But Not Lost
According to the anthropologists and historians,
My people are obliterated, the extinct ones
Rubbed out in language, culture, ceremony
Diminished in memory, unnamed on the birth records
Unrecognized as a people, place holders in the evolution of time
A history of place washed clean in the soul-less eyes of those who
Who took without asking.
Even in my own family, it is clung to like a lifeline
With firmness of jaw,
“We are WHITE.”
The disowning of self is a tragic suicide.
Except, my ancestors live on in my blood.
I awake at night to the sounds of the drums,
The pulses echo the Great Heartbeat.
I walk among the wild woods and hear the plants and trees
acknowledge me as I pass
They nod, “Sister”, and I to them.
I hear the rocks and mountains, groaning their old history through
their creaky, ancient voices.
They talk so slow, I have to get very still to hear them.
And I know the old ways, without knowing them.
It is inside me, in my body, in my cells
Yes, warring at times with the blood of my European lineages
I feel the conflict, the two sides of every story,
The Takers and the Ones Who Walk In Balance (my maiden name)
The irony of carrying these opposites is not lost with a name like
I know the spirit medicine, and I am learning the medicine of how
to be in this world, at this time
How to love all, how to save us, how to honor my True Mother.
I can feel the earth express through my body
I am an extension of Her knowing.
That is the definition of Soul. I know this because my ancestors
The Earth’s memory lives on through me, and holds all that has
lived and all that will ever live.
And I walk. As I walk, I
say to Her,
Yes, I feel your presence. I am of you, you are my Mother.
I am not extinct.
As long as She exists, my people are not extinct.
Licia Ballance Berry, copyright 2012