Freckle Face, Arapahoe woman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Traffic roars down
Past Conoco, Whole Foods, Mustard's Last Stand,
And my thoughts turn to you, Inunai-ee.
Have you given us just a name
Whose meaning most forget?
You left no monuments,
Raised your dead on a scaffold tree.
The gold in these hills meant nothing to you,
You counted your wealth in ponies,
Abundance in buffalo.
You took no plough to the soil,
Though you fired the prairie,
So fresh grass would grow.
You built no roads or bridges,
Constructed no fences or walls,
Made your way without map or compass,
For you knew this land
Like your mother's face.
Settler's Park was your winter camp,
Sheltered from blizzards and gales,
On Haystack peak you watched for bison,
Raced your mustangs
Where now golf carts cruise.
Living lightly in the place of prairie dog and beaver,
You marked it only with your spirit.
Wisdom of fox and coyote,
Of jumping mouse, eagle and buffalo,
Unfolded in your stories and your songs.
On the forked sun dance tree
You pierced and hung,
Blessing this land,
With your selfless sacrifice.
Long and bitter was your road
From Sand Creek Massacre to
Yet the Flatirons and the mesa do not forget you.
Firstborn among the nations--
For so do your myths call you--
May we, your younger siblings, learn from you
That a land cannot be bought with gold
Or won with cannon.
It belongs to those who know its ways,
Who heed its spirits,
Who walk on it with softly moccasined feet
And dance into its heart,