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Wetbacks

Intro

[Contrary to popular belief; this land is not your land. This land is not my land. This land was not meant for you and me!!!! This land is the dust and bones of our ancestors and until we leave, no other has a right.

While the famous words of King and Kennedy "remind" …. me of Hin-mah-too-ya-la-kekht's speech addressed to President Hayes and Congressmen in (1879) eighteen seventy nine, where he said: "Let Me Be A Free Man. Treat All Men Alike. Give Them All The Same Law - - And I Will Obey Every Law, Or Submit To The Penalty"; here among you today, swift tongued patriots shield their way, saying: "If you can make a better country, make it"!!!! Then further dare persuade: "If you're Illegal, go home"! "It's an invasion". "Speak English"! "Either Love America or Leave it, no one's asked me to stay".

And in remembrance of thunderous voices which once rang clear upon deafened ears that never wanted to hear, I address you my country, as Chief Joseph once did, as he spoke to you my country, my country, mine]:

I thought it was just me, when I was growing up,
who was treated unkind and unjust by surrounding white children, 'til I researched and realized, "how relatives had been treated; that I wasn't alone!"

Oh, it's been written through history though text books won't show:
"How the West Was Won and the West Was Lost;
How the USofA is proud today;
How a Nation of Immigrants tamed the wild;
How a Nation of Savages lived in exile;
How history was rewritten to build your pride;
How the Settler's cause was justified [Manifest Destiny].
How religious freedom for us was denied."

And The Five Civilized Tribes,
a Federal Treaty forever,
Andrew Jackson declined,
and that Treaty's been broken since the Southern States inclined to say:
"Move a little further; you are too near me."[1]

We've learned our lessons; you've taught us well.
Your promises long broken were not upheld.
And what of the fate of the Peace Loving Man,
of Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt and his Nez Perce band?
And what of the fate of the Peace Loving Man,
the death of Motovato - - (Black Kettle) and his Southern Cheyenne????

America, America, the secrets you hide,
now that you've got them civilized.
And my Native Tongue is your spoken language,
And my Long Hair is cut to your chosen fancy;
And our ancestral designs give your culture fashions.
And our traditional names changed through your enhancement.

Stripes red and white "on" solid blue,
hand on my heart,
I salute you your Victory.
Though The Liberty Bell's Broken,
"The Bill of Rights Failed,"[2]
The Statue of Liberty Crept into the Sea.
And what of your Great Men, the Presidents who rule?
How did they get there?
What did they do?
They lied, they cheated, they tricked me and you:
"Condone the present,
forgotten the past,
no care of tomorrow,
and to Hell with the rest."

Now that the bones of my Ancestors stand on Smithsonian display;
Now that "My blood," you claim, "flows in your veins";
Now that our words are Noble and dear;
"Now that your Laws, they Govern us too"[3];
Now that "it's a struggle to Believe in a God."
Now that our children are feeble and few;
Now that our "Earth Mother" is your prime debate;
Now that intoxication is our usual state;
Now that our hearts have been fractured and broken;
"Now that your 'Wide Eyes' are finally opened"[4];
Now that America's become "So Concerned";
Now that our lessons, you say, you've learned";
Now that you show me and tell me you care.
I wonder what customs you hold and partake -
while complaining of Rain Forests in far away Brazil,
no talk of "Clearcut Logging,
Deforestation for Progress" in your own backyard hills.
I'm weary of corruption, because I've seen too much greed,
and I wonder what life you will make through your need.

An IMMIGRANT NATION, or so it is said,
'til the "WETBACKS" start coming and a fear is spread.
And the Laws are kept changing to keep out the few,
from Oaxaca, Bolivia, and on to Peru,
Who came to this country the same as your kind.
What difference exists there? Are you so blind????
Save harm to a people-mixed-Indigenous by birth!
"Mestizo" - means this, or hadn't you heard ?
And talk a'new about the wrongs that they do -
from people with hospital bills and medical dues;
NO MENTION OF 1700'S DIPTHERIA, POX, MEASLES,
or the COMMON FLU, -
Where were your hospital beds then? -
Indigenous devastation, does that haunt you?

Yet, I pledge allegiance to the Flag, with Liberty and Justice...
in the Home of the Brave.
And I sing the Church Hymnal, Patriotly So,
in words much meaning:
"My Country 'Tis of You."[5]
And I celebrate with you, your favorite holidays:
Fourth of July and Thanksgiving Day.
And I see how you treat me, and I know how I've lived,
and I wonder if kindness is now your uptake?
But tomorrow, for our "southern relatives," the story's all the same.
'Cause you're still playing the same old games.
Malicious and haughty, I know the disease.
You spread it wherever you damn' well please.
At the Texas Border, you see what I mean;
Indian faces re-labled: "Slant Eye De-por-tees."

A baby "morenita" is found in the Arizona desert today,
no word of her fate except by television en Español.
And a Mexican man swims for life and liberty;
he drowns before a camera, while no buoy he's thrown.

We have been taught that we are many;
our voices are strong;
yet at each stop light I come to, for Indian faces, I long.

"Illegal" and "Wetback," proud names you fling,
not knowing that I speak English and have been listening.
For the Ignorance goes on here still today,
As many North Americans confused-mumble-say
that "He's Illegal! Go home! Speak English! It's an invasion! Now swim back," when they look at me;
just because my hair's not blonde and my eyes aren't blue.
Preclude us our destinies, if we don't cease to be.
Re-label us our existence, our identities, on paper for local authorities.
Threatened by "La Migra" -
Immigration, Driver's Licenses, E-Verify, The Anti-Harboring Law or Social Security, except for Cheap Labor,
"Unwelcomed Are We, If We're Not of Your Northern Tribes
so highly esteemed."
Deport us if you can, to a life of war, starvation, poverty;
Out of sight, out of mind, so long as You're not suffering
Can't you see above racist trickery?

"We The People" from the Iroquois Confederation, Benjamin Franklin did profess, "How can a nation of savages, a higher civilization ever possess"? Just imagine how things could have been if whiteman had not come to our shores and done us these wrongs.

What tribes would remain? How would it be?
What of our cultures would we retain?
How many lullabys would continue to be sung
in our own ever present native tongues?

How mixed up? How deranged? How ass backwards things have changed? Inside out, upside down, how twisted around things have become. In the past 500 +,- yrs, Inside out, upside down, how twisted around things have been done. What's right is wrong; what's wrong is right; What's right is right and what's wrong is wrong. Who knows what's to come????

For a nation of natives pure and sweet, now be considered exotic in their own northern territories, for this I weep, and in the home of the free, land of the brave, most civilians known as the blue and green eyed's, are blinded by greed, Such that natives from the south, new to these streets, are still held back clean and neat; Held Under thumb, pressed against the wall, so-called illegals held in check, by the throat behind the scenes, in back of the bodega, cocina or at the mall.

It's just so stupid", I guess I have to say,
It's got me all up in arms and in a big roll just talkin' 'bout this
It makes me want to go and take a piss
On all of this injustice, arrogance, fear and hate
I see spilled all around me on this immigration debate

"Go home and come back legally", many will say
They don't realize the price today of said ideas.
To do that you have to have lots of money, be rich, be married,
own property such as land, a house, and car, have a good job,
and even then many times this doesn't qualify you.
So what if the natives who come here are poor?
We need more natives here.
So what if they don't have visas, or are not doctors or engineers already,
or are not rich as are many muslims?
At least they are not suicide bombers either.
They do not make planes fall from the sky.
They do not mean you harm. They are not your enemy.
They are good people and hard workers.
Most are Christians and Aborigine American Indians or their descendants, after all, by God.
What more do you want? That they be white? To be legal citizens?
Legal in whose eyes? - yours or in God's?

"It's just not right", I guess I hafta say: "that only salt-water-immigrants
or their descendants say, "yes" and "no", on immigration issues.
"Where's the corn?? Where's the squash??" "Where are ndn faces at each stoplight??" If seen, most oft' are thought to be Latinoaméricano illegals. We need more meat and potatoes in this melting pot stew. We need more natives here. It's not right that only salt-water-immigrants with blue-green eyes or kinky hair be in this melting pot brew, where really the principle ingredients of this soup should be made of the original inhabitants of the americas, as in Europe, most are white and in Africa, most are black.

To this land I brought my niece and wife, I lovingly draw them near
And I ask for justice, for truth,
I ask for righteousness for the few natives who remain
a vital ingredient in this melting pot brew.
For them I make this stand
So proud, us nativz, so proud yet few today,
just look to the Navajo, Hopi, Shoshone and Sioux.

You conqueor and divide, pervert truth to your own good and need.
Teach us to quarrel among ourselves. Teach us "we are plentiful" - more lies construed, just look around you at each stoplight - how many natives
there are viewed? I take a stand for my people before it's too late;
We are a disappearing people in our own homeland, assimilation takes its toll;
That's the reason for this poem, for these words overflowing
true and clean from the heart.

Anchor Babies, unwanted guests, immigration reform, the Dreamer's Act,
Lou Dobbs vehemently protests, Sean Hannity follows soon,
then Ann Coulter puts in her two bits, all upset
complaining about this Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
And these salt-water-immigrants complaining loudest and most of all
do not even seem to care for the air that we breathe, the land or sea,
Just look to oil spills along the Gulf of Mexico or the Exxon Valdeze

From Edward S. Curtis Catalog portraits,
native faces to these streets reclaim,
No compassion, no respect, no hope, no escape,
cause - "you owe them nothing", I often hear it complained,
but to return to their homeland where they can find only
war, starvation, hunger, poverty, or pain.

"We did not ask you whitemen to come here", Crazy Horse did speak.
"The Great Spirit gave us this land as a home".
"You had yours. We did not interfere with you.
We never wanted your civilization", but now that we have it
You say we're unwelcome in our own homeland when a few of our relatives to this land do come. "What one fears, one destroys", words so true, Chief Dan George did speak, "Go back home and come legally", words I often hear salt-water-immigrants beseech.

And the time is drawin' near soon when you'll turn back the tide, deter their population flood, and no more you can blame them for anymore of your crud. That day my friend is drawin' near fast, for down my cheek a tear does flow, 'cause all of them to me are held all so dear just for their native blood. We are the first peoples, the original peoples of the americas. We deserve a right to be here just for our DNA and the blood in our veins, to be primary ingredients in this melting pot stew. To this land I brought my niece and wife, I lovingly draw them near

It's just so stupid", I guess I have to say
It's got me all up in arms and in a big roll just talkin' 'bout this
It makes me want to go and just take a big piss
on all of this injustice, arrogance, fear and hate
I see spilled all around me on this immigration debate

So, I laugh at the stars:
"Do prophesies come true?"
as my Bolivian Love presents me the view.
And I smile at the families from the South
who have come to these streets to live among us,
where before there were none.
And I laugh at the stars,
"a White Buffalo" was born????,
as we watch the Comet Hale-Bopp slow make its debut.
And I laugh at the stars,
and I pray that "she'll stay,"
yet I know that in the States, all
except "The Most Rich and Lucky"
of all Salvadorians are refused.

Obtrusive and insolent, impatient and blind,
I've seen your Bureaucratic nature too many times.
So I've written this poem acknowledging my life,
and pondered what's to be "known" in the Home of the Free:
A Nation of "Conquerors," I attest to that.

For while you keep trying Imperialistically to convert us to your Christianity,
I keep thinking: "Already were we in balance with Nature and Our Maker."
For if a God-Fearing People "did" cross the sea,
Surely, a God-Loving People, once were we.
A God-Loving People along the Eastern Shores,
who will never be here again no more.
A God-Loving People, butchered and diseased,
whose children's children's children, many, no longer believe.
A God-Loving People, whose Bird Songs We Sing
with the rekindled voices of the Eno Occanneechee.

While the Preachers they preach now on the tube.
And the Good Book's Words are frequently used:
"In God We Trust on a Dollar Bill."
And a Baptist Minister's words do spill before a Local Powwow
and the Dancing starts.
Then words arise and the Drumming embarks.
"Why do they pray?," a Seneca says.
"There Is No God!,"[6] her Cree mate proclaims.
"Do you believe it's so?," they both ask me.
My heart in my throat; their pain I know.

For We Must Never forget how spread the "News" of Our Maker,
"Your Version": King of the Jews.
A message so good, wonderful and great,
how could this have been so ill used to change our fate????
For if we stand on the side of Our Maker, you say
that no one can ever stand against us, you say.
These "words" you use and use a lot,
but were you on His side?, Her side?, when you came to take????

I've lived my life as best I could,
in the steps of my Grandfathers and Grandmothers, the way I should.
My prayers ascend in the morning daybreak.
And it's hard for me to resign one day in seven,
when all days are Holy.
"How's that for faith????"
... And even if we were Pagans as claimed,
We believed in God; we were on the Side of Creation.
Though still you came, and still you take.

So it's hard to trust you when a struggle erupts
and you claim again, "your cause is just."
For it's been done before in the Name of Freedom,
in the Name of Christ, which you brought to us, and
anxiously "taught to ARGUE in how Our God We Should worship and trust"[7]:
Be Catholic or Baptist, be Protestant or Presb', but please, oh please, don't be an LSD Saint!!!!"

And who is to blame and where is the cause?
The American Government with it's many Laws?
European--Roman philosophers with their continuous flaws?
Look at Jerry Springer!
Or maybe, "El Diablo" really does exist!
As Buffy Sainte-Marie once said, "Ah, what can I do????"
These wounds may heal if only you knew....

If you hold high your Indian claim,
or you think much of history's all past, and a big shame,
Act today!
Do what you can!
Show much Love, Respect and Compassion for our "southern cousins"
[Latinoaméricanos] in a community near you.

Live a life as Christ would have us do. "Rather than dwell on what should be done, do what can be done, you might just accomplish what should be done" (Ponca Wisdom).

It depresses me when I condemn all white people
for the actions of "many" or a few,
because no one can control how Our Maker puts us here,
on this Earth,
but we can all control how we act and treat one another,
given that we are loved.
These wounds might heal, if only you knew...

"Though many wrongs have been done me;
I can forgive, but I cannot forget. I have not got two hearts"[8].

As in the past, it seems today, "there is no spot under those twinkling stars where the redman can plant his foot and sigh: "A-la-ba-ma", (Here We May Rest). It may be that Wakanda will grant us such a place, but it seems that it will be only by His side"[9].

(Only You Lord, with Earth and Sky endure. I only live my life as Our Maker would have me to do and try to bring Honor to the One Who brought it to me, just a simple man, just a native man, just a peaceful man. Great Spirit, Creator And Ruler Of All, help us to walk in beauty and to love, respect, and show compassion for all our brothers in this world and the next. Let us live as you would have us do, dancing, singing, laughing, eating good food with you always and always in a good way, and forever.)

And to these faces of "illegals", if "illegals" they be, we owe respect, love and compassion, for we are Christians after all, you see. Their faces could have come from any Edward S. Curtis Catalog, more Native American ndn than you or me, more native to these americas if white, black, or asian you be. Nigh, though the heavens should fall upon me, I want to do what is right. We are all brothers in this melting pot stew. "All is silent around me! My words therefore must be few"[10].

"But there is a change of worlds"[11].

  • 1. Compiled By T.C. McLuhan, Touch the Earth, a Self Portrait of Indian Existence, "Speckled Snake speech," Promontory Press, 1993, p. 73
  • 2. From poem: "My Country, 'tis of Thy People You're Dying," Copyright- Buffy Sainte Marie.
  • 3. From poem: "My Country, 'tis of Thy People You're Dying," Copyright- Buffy Sainte Marie.
  • 4. From poem: "My Country, 'tis of Thy People You're Dying," Copyright- Buffy Sainte Marie.
  • 5. B.B. McKinney, Music Editor, The Broadman Hymnal, "America," Broadman Press, 1940, p. 458
  • 6. George Martin of the Eastern Cherokee, and his girlfriend, a Seneca. We met at a 1987 Guilford Native American Pow-Wow, where they told me of their opinions, after a Baptist Minister had given a prayer, and because I was wearing a necklace cross.
  • 7. T.C. McLuhan, Touch the Earth, a Self Portrait of Indian Existence, "Red Jacket speech," Promontory Press, 1993, p.63 (and) Dee Brown, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, "Chief Joseph speech," Washington Square Press, 1970, p. 302
  • 8. Dee Brown, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, "Motovato/Black Kettle speech," Washington Square Press, 1970, p. 67
  • 9. T.C. McLuhan, Touch The Earth, A Self Portrait Of Indian Existence, "Khe-tha-a-hi, or Eagle Wing, pays tribute to what the Indian has left behind him", Promontory Press, 1993, p.156
  • 10. T.C. McLuhan, Touch The Earth, A Self Portrait Of Indian Existence, Opposing immigration and hoping that his tribe, the Choctaws could stay for a while longer in their homes east of the Missippi, a chief addressed Colonel Cobb, a government agent who had come to remove them. Promontory Press, p. 128
  • 11. Dr. Henry A. Smith, Chief Seattle's 1854 Oration, Seattle Sunday Star, Oct. 29, 1887, http://www.halcyon.com/arborhts/chiefsea.html

Dedicated to Hen-mah-too-yah-la-keht, Thunder Traveling To Loftier Mountain Heights, or Chief Joseph as Americans called him.

Copyright © 2001, Davíd Lee Yellowmoon Rose, all rights reserved.

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