inayofuata ni another straight-up so inspiring kinda hadithi that it got reposted-as-is, kwasababu sharing is caring, and it is betta to speak our truth, remembering we were never meant to survive…..

To counter some aspects of popular native literature that portray native people as stoic or create characters who speak pidgin English, we are pleased to be able to include some poems that give tender insight into the world of a Lakota mama. The fact that they were written by

the late Isabelle (Ten Fingers) Kills Enemy, a respected Lakota holy woman whom Tilda Long Soldier met in the early seventies, reveals a deeply touching side of a holy womban.

Isabelle’s daughter Valentina Janis explained that during the years when her mama was most active as a healer, she was not around her much and went to only a few of her ceremonies. Valentina shared what she could and then said, “ You know, there is something about my mom that not many people know. She loved to write poems and songs and she even wrote her own music.” Here is a poem on the loss of a child:

SINGING TO HEAVEN

On a moonlight

In a dream, lil’ darling

Dream denotes so you will be gone-gone-gone

From this whole wide world of living.

Just memories you are leaving

Singing, winging your way to heaven

Singing, winging your way to heaven

In this dream world

We’re happy, little darling

Missed you soon from our midst you’re gone-gone-gone

In vain your name we were calling

Searching then we heard your singing.

-RISING WIND (ISABELLE TEN FINGERS), 1906-84

Mother, daughter, granddaughter-these holy womben we met or learned of were not the isolated, childless crones of popular literature. Valentina also showed us a set of songs her mama had composed on staff paper. Not only could this womban, a reservation full-blood born on April 18 1906, write poetry in English but she had also acquired all the skills involved in songwriting.

Cultural anthropologists tell us that shamans were the first poets, artists and songwriters of the human race. They also point out that high intelligence and being multitalented were almost prerequisites to this sacred calling. At the end of her life, Isabelle wandered into the Badlands near her home. Her body was not found for some time.

BEAUTY OF MY MAMA’S PRAYERS

My dearest memories of Mama

As she trod along life’s way

Serenely she paused and stood there

At the altar she knelt and prayed

There’s a sweet strangeness when

Mama prayed for you and me.

And the peace and love on her face

Was like the glowing dawn of day.

The sunlight seemed brighter

Round her

When my mama knelt and prayed.

Like rainbow o’er the flowers that grow

Beauty of my mama’s prayer

Like singing or a river that flows

Beauty of my mama’s prayer

Like breezes o’er my fevered brow

When life is low, and the joy of love on her face.

Was like the glowing dawn of day.

The sunlight seemed bright around her,

When my mama knelt en prayed.

-RISING WIND (ISABELLE TEN FINGERS)

Ese.

[excerpts from Healers, Dreamers, and Pipe Carriers – Medicine Women of the Plains Indians –  Walking in The Sacred Manner

by Mark St.Pierre & Tilda Long Soldier]

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