A potent reminder
A potent reminder

A potent reminder

I was twelve years old and had run from the school four times. The moons were whole. The assiduous government agents were waiting, waiting, waiting generation after generation without fail for the defeated tribes to stop running. The agents, hired hunters for the givers of government, captured me once as me and three times as a bird and ran me back four times from the sacred cedar.

The first time, to teach us all good lessons not to run with the tribes and good visions of inner birds and animals, the agents forced me to wash floors and clean toilets for two months. 
The second time back, from the sixth grade then, being in the vision of a cedar waxwing, the cruel and mawkish federal teachers pushed me naked into the classrooms, me and the bird in me, and whipped us for our avian dreams. 
The third time back as a blue heron from the shallow rivers we were led on a leash to the classrooms and chained at night to a pole in the cowshed . . . 
The fourth time back to school, listen now in this darkness, handcuffed and bruised, the last time as a bird, we learned to outwit and outlive government evil.
 
Gerald Vizenor
Wordarrows: Native states of literary sovereignty (2003, pp. 117–18)

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