At this time of looking forward, Joy Harjo, our country’s first Native American poet laureate, reminds us also to look back and remember the wisdom we need to bring with us into a new year.
Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is. I met her
in a bar once in Iowa City.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe. I heard her singing Kiowa war
dance songs at the corner of Fourth and Central once.
Remember that you are all people and that all people are you.
Remember that you are this universe and that this universe is you.
Remember that all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember that language comes from this.
Remember the dance that language is, that life is.
– Joy Harjo, in She Had Some Horses
May wisdom guide our thoughts, our words, our actions in the new year as we continue taking steps toward right relationship among all peoples.
If you would like to support the Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples program, please make an online donation here (select Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples), or send a check to Friends Peace Teams -TRR (and write “TRR” on the memo line), and mail it to Friends Peace Teams-TRR, 1001 Park Ave., St. Louis MO 63104. Thank you!
To learn about Friends Peace Teams’ anti-racism and anti-colonialism work around the world, including our Toward Right Relationship work in the U.S., please read our PeaceWays Newsletter.
With good wishes and gratitude for all that you do to build relationships based on truth, respect, and justice.
Paula Palmer and Jerilyn DeCoteau