Sunday, October 5, 2014

"A Toddler's Yearning"

Gvgeyuhi, Unetlanvhi.
Wado, Nugvwiyusv.

Thank You for awakening
the language of my people
deep in my heart.

I want to learn.
I want to speak.
I want to communicate.

But it's hard, Yowah.
How can I learn?
Where can I start?

I know I have already begun.
I've practiced the writing.
I've memorized the sounds.

Where can I speak?
Who can I learn from?
When can I learn more?

A heart beats inside me
throbbing to express itself
in the tongue of my ancestors.

My soul searches for understanding
and my spirit yearns to sing out loud
but I don't know the words.

Wado, Yowah, gvgeyuhi.
I know You awoke my desire
and so I know You will help me.

I know I will speak in the language
of my people and my ancestors
in the perfect time You have set.

I know I will be taught well
and I know the process of learning
will be a challenge and a joy.

I can't wait, Unetlanvhi.
But I will wait, and I will trust You.
I will find steps along the way.

I am like a child who has taken
his first steps, but yearns to run;
a toddler who uttered a first word
but struggles to understand
and wants to speak so much more.

I've seen my own children
go through this very feeling.
I understand, and like them
I also will learn as I grow.
Wado, Yowah, gvgeyuhi.

(Like the scribbling of a child,
like this picture I drew above,
a child yearns to draw from his heart,
and though the learning takes time,
in the end it will show Our love.)

1 comment:

  1. After writing this, I was somewhat ashamed to remember that many Natives *cannot* re-learn their languages because of removal, assimilation, and the wars against the culture by the North American governments... and many fluent speakers have walked on so that no one is left who can remember the languages. That's the case with the Piscataway I visited on my last trip to Maryland. I can only begin to imagine how that feels...