A CHILD STARED ME DOWN

Photography by D. Plasman

 

They gathered in northern Michigan

for an August powwow,

the tribes of the Chippewa and Ottawa.

 

Clockwise, around a circle,

a procession in native beads

and feathers and furs adorned.

 

With parents, children too,

like this little one with hair braided

and pacifier between lips secured.

 

Someday, this child

will learn the history:

 

300 Sioux, or nearly so,

at Wounded Knee massacred

by the U.S. Army.

 

20,000 Cherokee displaced

and forced westward

on the Trail of Tears.

 

500—and more—treaties broken

by a white America determined

to claim its Manifest Destiny.

 

Church-run boarding schools

that stripped away native tongues

and customs and dignity.

 

Someday, this child

will learn the history—

the good, the bad, the ugly.

 

But at this moment,

the little one looks directly

into the eyes of my camera.

 

For a long, extended,

confident moment,

a stare. Fearless!

 

And my camera

is the first to blink.

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3 Comments

  1. Jeff Kisner August 28, 2017 at 11:50 am #

    All your stuff is excellent, Dan. But I really like this poem.

  2. Phil Garrison August 28, 2017 at 5:40 pm #

    Beautiful, Dan.
    Thank you for your eye.
    Thank you for your word.
    Thank you for your heart!
    Yes!

  3. Ron Dirkse August 29, 2017 at 10:07 pm #

    Excellent