Tuesday, February 24, 2015

War Zone

Here is more powerful writing from Lyla. The first lines really resonated with me. I've always felt I was born in a war zone. As a 5 year old just starting school, first time among others than my grandparents, mother and uncles, the only brown spot in a classroom of 12 children in Marsing, Idaho, speaking another language, looking like the enemy back then in 1950, I remember the clues which made me realize it. As Sharon Anderson, my playground friend said, explaining why I was the only one not invited to her birthday party, "my mom said you can't come because you killed my brothers." How does a 5 year old digest that one?
In 1937 my indigenous grandmother attended Rehoboth, 
a Dutch Reformed Church school near Gallup, New Mexico.
She tells me stories of children writing one
hundred times on a piece of paper:

I will only speak English.
I will only speak English.
I will only speak English.

To be born into this body--this beautiful brown body--is to be born into a warzone.
The world will never stop telling you that you are inferior.

I know who I am.
I am equal to the sun, to the grass.

Beautiful children like my grandmother
with smiles so pure and hearts so loving
were told they were a broken form of human
with every word and action.

Beautiful people, who held the cure for cancer in their songs,
and lived in harmony with one desert for so much longer than
any archaeologist or anthropologist could ever detect,
were called uncivilized.

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"from Outside the Belly" was also known as "TBAsian" from 2008-2010. Thank you for reading.

from Outside the Monster's Belly

from Outside the Monster's Belly
. . . following Earth instead (Rakaia River, site of Salmon Ceremony, photo credit Ruth Koenig)


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Eugene, Oregon
I am a citizen of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. I am a Nikkei descendant sansei (third generation);retired teacher, involved in the Winnemem tribal responsibility to Water, Salmon, and our belief that the Sacred is our Teacher. Working locally for human rights and supporting youth leadership.