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Reclamation
inspired by Gather.

You tried to destroy us,
Killing our buffalo
Stealing our land
Putting circles around our freedom
With government cheese,
And other weapons of destruction.
WE ARE FIRST PEOPLES.

You stole our traditions
In favor of yours,
Put your language
In our children's mouths,
Perverted our land
For your purposes.
WE ARE FIRST PEOPLES.

Today, that stops.
The land remembers our hands,
Sprouts healing, power,
As we gather, we remember.
In reclaiming our land,
We reclaim ourselves.
WE ARE FIRST PEOPLES.

The beat of our culture
Survives in the heart of our children.
Determined DNA
Whispered and empowered
Never again.

We are First Peoples.
And we will rise like
The shaconage
Of the mountains
Every. Single. Time.

© Carmen L. Brown

Carmen L. Brown is a community college English professor living in East Tennessee in the mist of the Smoky Mountains that her great, great, great Cherokee grandmother Narnee Ross called home.

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