This image is of Peggy (R), then a 19 year-old SNCC member, next to future civil rights icon, Dr. Dorothy Cotton (L), after a 1962 church burning in Georgiathe state that Peggy's great-great grandparents, William & Ellen Craft, famously escaped from slavery nearly 115 years earlier...

MY

WEEKLY 

WORD

7.11.20

Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely

Dr. Dorothy Cotton

In light of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark case on the sovereignty of treaties with First Nation tribes as it relates to Oklahoma, I was moved to write the following poem:

FROM LANGSTON HUGHES TO THE FIRST NATIONS

They, too, sing America.

Muskogee (Creek), Seminole, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee!

Let us say their names… out loud.

Hear the music in these eponyms; give then their righteous recognition.

This is our essential lament,

Has been since our very beginning.

A drum-beat never silenced.

They never left the table.

Refused to disappear…to be the disappeared.

Would not be chased or driven into oblivion.

And so they fled

hid…

rode

drummed…

sang

danced…

bided their time.

Were relegated to the outside

pushed aside

rounded up for genocide,

Invoked a tribal patience beyond the realm of colonialist time.

Oh, see how inspiring is the arc of their history

A people all the colors of the earth.

A First People who wore the blankets of uncertainty,

with such dignity

for an eternity

teetering on the brink of extinction

enduring legal circumvention

for generations.

 

 

© 2020 Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely. All rights reserved.

Who refused to be white-washed,  discounted, erased,

set apart, considered irrelevant

Were stamped Invalid in the great galloping Western psyche.

 

But never-the-less they persisted,

Insisted on their ancient sovereignty

In their steady stance

Piercing glance

Communal dance.

                                                        

The Great Pow Wow is come full circle

And the scene has shifted

because they persisted.

                                          

And a ruling came down

Gave some uplift,

some float of hope:

One map redrawn.

For a people knew who they were

all this time

even

if

America

did

not.

Say

it

loud:

FIRST

NATIONS

MATTER!                                          

— Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely

© 2016 - 2020 by Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely

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