Sunday, June 11, 2017

Tierra del Sur



Just seeing a name
one of many in the south
I never heard growing up
never knew beyond
the colonization
struck a place in my heart
and I want, I wish...

I wish I could know you
Explore you
Go visit you
Listen to you
Hear your elders' stories
Talk to your children
Hug my relations

But I can't right now
for apart from the means
there is death and bloodshed
spilling across the land
as it did in your history
and I can only pray
and ache in my heart

For a time yet to come, I hope
when I can walk among
your deserts
your mountains
your jungles
your shores and beaches
your trees, hills and bushes

Listening to the rhythms
of your vistas
the speech of my people
seeing the land of my ancestors
the wrinkles and smiles
of beautiful elders
the fabrics of their weaving

I long for you, Mexico
I pray Creator watches over you
holds your old and young close
comforts you in your pain
brings healing and peace to you
restores what has been stolen
and makes you shine in your beauty

Monday, June 27, 2016

Smitten by the Mountains



Last Thursday between classes I took a walk outside the high school where I teach English. It's a suburb of Osaka (Higashiosaka), not too far from the Ikoma mountain range. A few times recently during class when in certain rooms, I've looked out at the mountains...

And loved them. They remind me of the Smokies. Especially when it's raining and clouds roll over them. Tall. Green. Large. And... distant.

Because of the flatness of the city and the endless buildings, I can't always see them. But walking last Thursday in a direction I hadn't taken before, I came to an open place where I could see them, and even from such a distance and with the city up in my face between us, I was just smitten...



I took a picture to remember it, and looking on the ground I saw a beautiful feather. Creator does that a lot for me, putting feathers in my path to let me know I'm where He knew I would be, and on His path. (Wado, Yowah.)



A couple days later when praying I felt moved to make a quick painting of that day when I stopped, when I was smitten by the mountains.

The mountains smote my heart.

Hah, I don't use that word often, but that's the exact word that came and hit me. Smote.

And I knew exactly why.

Tonight I wrote a poem about it to go with the painting:

****

"Being Drawn Home"

The mountains smote me
I don't know much really
About mountains or being in them
I have little experience in any

But there they were
And there I was
Captivated as I looked
As if reminded of home

A home I've never lived in
But that I long for
Deep inside
From generations before me

Much stands between
Like the city between us
Between me and the mountains
They are far away from me

But they're quietly calling me
My spirit is quietly longing
For the green mountains
The home of my ancestors

And I rejoice just to see them
One day, one day
I'll be there again
One day I'll come home

Friday, February 12, 2016

Being Brought Back



I talked with an Uncle today and it was good. He understands more than most about the feeling of being called and drawn by heritage. The longing for the people, the tribe, the songs, the fires, the ceremonies, the land... the "home."

But I couldn't share it easily. I was shy or afraid. After we hung up, my heart started to explode and I nearly wept.

I ache.
I long to know them.
I long to be near them.
I long to be with them.
I long for ceremony.
I long to learn to dance.
I long to catch up for
all that I have missed.

****

It's been three weeks since I wrote the above. I started writing but then caught some stomach bug and was out of commission for the next week, and... have been afraid to continue writing because I've had fears of facing things.

The ancestry search has stalled. Things weren't looking good, and I've been waiting to hear back from someone. A lot of fears have crept back, and... you probably get the idea.

I've considered taking this blog offline for a little bit until I find better proof or certainty in either direction. Part of this is because I have heard a lot of Natives upset about people appropriating Native identity, and I can sympathize with that. Facing as many issues as Indian Country does, having people loudly claiming to be Natives out of the blue with a great-grandmother story that doesn't check out... it's not cool at all.

So I've been praying. I don't want to be afraid of having been wrong. I want to accept and embrace the truth. And most of all I don't want to offend anyone.

Praying about this, I'm leaving the blog up for now. I hear not to be afraid. So I will try to trust that and not walk with fear.

All I have to go on now is a prayer and spiritual experiences that were deep to me, and were not things I was asking for or looking for. I have to be honest about this. I wish these things could count for more, but I know people logically require more than that. Heck, so do I, or I wouldn't be as bothered as I am by the lack of evidence thus far.

At the same time, I can't discount them. A couple Uncles have been encouraging through all of this, and the one I spoke with above felt it was particularly important that I had felt the calling of my ancestors. He told me last September:
Realize the ideal Indian is a product of the colonial imagination... that especially goes for the Federal recognition identity. If your ancestors are calling you, there is nothing more that needs to be proven. It does not change our relationship with them, the earth, our stories, our ceremonies, etc. Same Creator still speaks in the same ways. Dreams from the plants and animals still visit us. Creator Jesus speaks through everything and sometimes nothing. The point is just to accept it and live with a good heart, teach your children in the good ways and be of service to your community, whether Indian or not. Being Cherokee is being and doing but never fearing what another says about you. Nothing to prove, just something to live... but I realize, hard to learn from Japan...
So I'm thankful for that. And I'll take up the search again, which I've set aside partially from fears but also from having other things going on in life since last spring.

A couple of days ago the Spirit gave me a new picture about this... showing that He brought me here, and now after being "away" for awhile He's brought me back here to this place that I've found such connection with. It's a nighttime picture, and I think that reflects how things are hard to see clearly in my heritage now. But even though hard to see, it has been moving and breathtaking for me.

****

"Brought Back" (2/12/2016)

As I have come
to know my Creator more
I have been brought here
to these mountains
and a longing for them
that He set in my heart

Like on a dark night
I can't see clearly why
But though they're partially
enshrouded by smoke and mist
I am stirred to my very core
and I long to be here

Mysterious and majestic
Haunting my day and my night
Pervading my deep longings
Hiding beneath their clouds
roots of many desires for which
I had sought fulfillment elsewhere

When I didn't understand
I tried to forget their call
But Creator brought me back
So I will look on them again
I will pray and wait to see
the roots of the mountains

Friday, January 8, 2016

"A Vision of My Mother"



Lost in a torrent
Of longings and expectations
And hopes unfulfilled

Suddenly a vision comes
Of lying enfolded in
The bosom of Mother Earth

Peace floods in
A longing is fulfilled
In the vision of home

Where I am meant to be
What I am made for
And who I am

The child of my Mother
Born from her ground
Part of her life

I never knew her
For most of my life
But now she calls me

To rest on her bosom
To breathe deeply
To feel her life

And there to know
For this I was made
I am part of her

I will rest here
In the sacred circle
Creator has made for me

I will embrace my mother
From whom I was born
For whom I was created