Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bleu Estui or The Long and Short of a Tall Tale

conceived as bad news
I was stewed in her blues and 
creator smacked me
with a Mongolian tattoo
right on the backside
to let me know who
I was
even before

I'd cried

torn in two
my mama
with a big shout
finally shoved me out
with a noose
of our own knots
(that I can't seem to lose)
tied tightly round
my cyanic neck

me  a tiny eight-month baby
crazy to sing but my cries were
all blue notes  and doc   worried
about a code   says to the nurse
let that baby loose
momshung on to his every word
trying to find out  what she'd had
then. when I finally cried she
just glad  I'd lived

pops was out working
on the railroad   layin down track
so moms was all alone
with her first brat
they wrapped me in an indigo shawl
to take me on home and since
they thought I was a boy what
should all my clothes be
but cornflower blue
to match everything
about.  the brand new me

I grew up on the south side of Chicago
steel mill's smoking blues in my front yard
it wasn't hard to be poor because
kids don't know much from rich
all we cared about
was if we were loved
but that was in short supply too
like money and food
and clothes and shoes
those things hard to get by

but my motto was
you can't hurt steel
that was my groove
and as I grew I forged
a shiny blue shield so
everything that happened
after that was a breeze
I drove around

in my first car
a '57 Chevy
and I was

©/s Odilia Galvan Rodriguez, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

dancing for life

cool wind at sunrise
loosed the light fog from dark claws
undressing the day

danced dreams-visioning
chokecherry flesh blossoming
thick the tree of life

humble offerings
our prayers twisted tight
flown in multi-colors

day undressed   sun merciless
on the altar    of my flesh

© Odilia Galván Rodríguez, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

a sprinkling of flor y canto

freshly felt
squeezed accordions
bellowing out emotions
a pleated release

La Conquista
we mourned   captive the
earth  cried  vilified virgins
prayed for the future
but Spring never did arrive
for many  many winters

tinkling  silver
spurs skittering  lightly these
tiny telling bells

el horno de barro
bread rises   the sun
brother of fire  red clay
oven  of blessings

© Odilia Galván Rodríguez, 2008

a wrongful death case

the darkness of eternity
swallows up a drop of life

doors and windows

a contact shot
a gunpowder star
not far from his heart

and his hand
locked around
the weapon

survivorsthe residue
no note

but suicide
in families

death is final
a sign
a behavior

cracked paint

cold floors
wanting more

wanting 1963
when he could be
could change

vermilion flowers

spread across his chest
may he rest

born under

a lethal star
blown into a galaxy


© Odilia Galván Rodríguez, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Declaration of Affirmation of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 with Recommendations to the United States of America

We affirm that the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 was enacted in 1868 as an international agreement between the Sioux: Brule, Oglala, Miniconjou, Yanktonai, Hunkpapa, Blackfeet, Cuthead, Two Kettle, Sans Arcs, and Santee, and Arapaho and the United States of America. We affirm that the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 was enacted and ratified by the Congress of the United States of America under Article VI (2) of the Constitution of the United States which states:

"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereon; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."

We affirm that the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 was further protected by United States federal law, Statutes at Large, 16:566, the March 3rd Act of 1871 which states: "Provided, further, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to invalidate or impair the obligation of any treaty heretofore lawfully made and ratified with any such Indian nation or tribe…"
We affirm that the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 was not a treaty of land cession but was a treaty of peace, and that no land within the Treaty Territory as delineated within the 1868 Treaty and stated in Article 2: "…commencing on the east bank of the Missouri River where the forty-sixth parallel of north latitude crosses the same, thence along low water mark down said east bank to a point opposite where the northern line of the State of Nebraska strikes the river, thence west across said river, and along the northern line of Nebraska to the one hundred and fourth degree of longitude west from Greenwich, thence north on said meridian to a point where the forty-sixth parallel of north latitude intercepts the same, thence due east along said parallel to the place of beginning;…" has ever been ceded to the United States or any other government.
We affirm that the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 also did not cede any water, forests, minerals, air, animals, or other 'natural resources' to the government of the United States of America or any other government.
We affirm that the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 did not give to the United States of America the unilateral authority to make any laws regarding any aspect of the Indian tribes so named.

We affirm that the land, water, forests, minerals, air, animals and all other 'natural resources' within the boundaries of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 according to Article 2, were and are "set apart for the absolute and undisturbed use and occupation of the Indians herein named…"

We affirm that any use, abuse, sale, or exchange of the land, water, forests, minerals, air, animals or other 'natural resources' within the confines of the territory as delineated in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 is illegal, trespass, and theft.
We affirm that the environment of the 1868 Treaty Territory has been almost completely destroyed under the illegal occupation of the United States of America.
We strongly recommend that the United States begin an awareness process to educate all of the people living in the American states of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska that they are illegally trespassing within the confines of the 1868 Treaty Territory.
We strongly recommend that the United States begin a process to compensate their citizens for any losses they sustain as a consequence of their believing they were able to live legally within the confines of the Treaty Territory, and also to provide assistance to relocate said citizens to other places.
We strongly recommend that the United States develop a plan for the return of the 1868 Treaty Territory to the Indian tribes so named, and that such plan shall also include compensation for the repair of all environmental damage including damage to the land, water, forests, minerals, air, animals or other 'natural resources.'
We strongly recommend that the United States develop a plan with enough appropriations for the repair of the societal structures of the Indians named for a period of at least 10 years.

We strongly recommend that the United States cease blocking the Great Sioux Nation and other Indigenous nations of the North American continent from participation at the same level as other Nation-States in the United Nations and other International Forums by the practice of the United States declaring that such Indigenous nations are domestic nations when in reality the United States is illegally occupying Treaty territories and destroying the economies of once independent Indigenous nations.

This Declaration was duly discussed and consensus reached at the 140th Anniversary of the signing of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 at Mni Luzahan within the confines of the Great Sioux Reservation on April 12, 2008.
Charmaine White Face, Spokesperson
Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council
Clifford V. White Eyes, Sr. Witness
John W. Long, Sr. Witness
Garvard Good Plume Witness
Vincent Brings Plenty Witness

I was made aware of this declaration only today after I had posted the poem "palavering" and it struck me as very profound how the image of the coming together of the Chiefs who met with Gen. Sheridan to sign this treaty kept coming to mind periodically for the last few months. I kept thinking that I would like to write a poem about that image but my creative process doesn't work that way. 

I have to be given a poem or a story, it has to come to me in a dream or while I am in the shower or driving a car or right when I wake up or before falling asleep. There are other times I am inspired to write but these seem to be the most prominent. That is why there is always a journal next to my bed, and
 when I drive, which is not often, there is always a journal in my purse.

I write a lot of poems which later
 are paired up with images, not usually the other way around. I'd say that 99.9% of the time I go looking for the image afterward. I see it in my mind's eye for the piece I have written or am working on and then go looking for the one that best fits what I see, then pair it with my work. 

Of course, this image of the Fort Laramie meeting is one that is burned into my brain as are so many others like ones from Wounded Knee and photos of the captured "Apache" Tinde warriors being taken in a boxcar far from their homelands into forced relocation. There are other images, that never let go in one's life, like that of Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Ðức, who died June 11, 1963, when he burned himself to death at a busy Saigon intersection in protest of the persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnam's Ngô Đình Diệm administration.

There are too many horrific images of man's inhumanity to (hu)man, to mention but I know there are certain ones that have affected my life in very profound ways not only because of what they depict but also because of the historical facts leading up to and the aftermath of these incidents. In the image of the Laramie, Wyoming meeting I get the feeling of great sorrow and resignation on the part of the Chiefs who are assembled and at the same time I know that there is great strength in what they are doing not only because they are sitting on the earth, on the mother, but also because 'N'dn people have survived.

We are still here despite the broken treaties, promises, and lies. Despite the disunity that is perpetrated by US gvmnt infiltrators against Native Nations - especially when they are trying to defend what is legally and rightfully theirs. This blog could go on for pages, but I just wanted to post this document as an addendum to the poem I posted a few days ago which deals with the same topic.

star gazing

contemplating nebulae
firefly  whirlwinds
amber stars winding
time  spiraling  crystalline
future's seeds  our DNA

© Odilia Galván Rodríguez, 2008