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Voices from the Margins

Carol A. Hand

What happens to a culture, to people,
When unknown diseases sweep their lands
Killing so many indiscriminately
The children, the wisdom keepers,
The mothers, the hunters
When their medicines fail to heal
And prayers to the gods and ancestors
Remain unanswered
When those who survive
Are driven from their homes
By hunger and unrelenting war

indians-149a

Photo: Eight Crow prisoners under guard at Crow agency, Montana, 1887 

Separated from the land that has housed and fed them
And their ancestors for generations
When the few who survive are rounded up
Confined on reservations or in institutions
Treated with scorn and cruelty,
Their children stolen and abused
Generation after generation

Carlisle_pupils

Photo: Carlisle Indian Industrial School

How can this magnitude of harm ever be healed?
Injury added to injury
To witness other peoples suffer all around the world we share
The same fate year after year
To feed the rapacious appetite…

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