Wounded Knee Uprising, Two Poems

(written in Rapid City, SD during American Indian Movement occupation of Wounded Knee, responding to call for support and doing so out of a small house/office)

March, 1973

Early morning quiet,
stranded/thrown together
by winter’s last gasp
expression of its power.

Rapid City, South Dakota
north of Wounded Knee
Where the brothers,
and sisters,
are isolated even more.

First the feds,
now 12 white wet inches.

In this small house
which has become
an office
are we:

A 3-month-old baby,
myself, 6 women,
3 men, a 4 year old boy,
and a telephone link
to the world outside.

Outside the wind
and the snow
rage on,
up to
45 mph of power.

there and here–
rages on our burning desire
for justice.

Rages on
our willingness
to risk jail, death,
for the truth.

Rages on
our connection
to history,
our knowledge
of past wrongs,
our hope
in future change.

A plains blizzard
may make
travel difficult,
but it cannot isolate
the human bonds of solidarity.

Black Hills

Dark, towering hills,
Away over the
evergreen treetops.

Sacred lands,
by the white man.

Snow-drops, honeyed-rain
fall from the glistening”
green needles
of upper reaches
over Rapid City.

South Dakota,
land of insurrection,
mass collection,
mass deprivation,
mass depreciation
upon this land’s inhabitants:

And I sit atop a hill
witness to
the remnants of
the reborn pastin Wounded Knee.

Among the Indian people
of this,
my native land.