Poem: Misunderstandings

Joe Gaskill, contributor
you know,
y’all used to say to Us that
the only good Indians were dead Indians
as you looked to Our lands full of civilized and complex communities 
and talked Us down
as places of savages and uninhabited lands of opportunity
suckling to the greed that sustains the white invader’s imperialism
that is to no surprise to any Black or Brown body
who witnesses the white man’s obsession to materialism

so forgive Me as I misunderstand your pleas for peace
when you ignore 
the biological genocides you’ve used to force Us to Our knees
when you ignore the scalps you’ve hung in celebration within your towns
because you misconstrued 
your own deceitful treaties forged to steal lands from those birthed of Blacks and Browns
when you ignore the stealing of Our relatives who had to watch their whole world collapse
forced to disappear into deceitful urban lands 
with robbed cultures of unfinished traditions and memory gaps
when you ignore public education where only 50% of us make it out to survive
further increasing the number of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women 
who are only now being counted as their injustice is on a steady rise
when you ignore Our boys and men who are targeted and incarcerated 
by a long expired and broken time-out station
that really needs some reform from an institution that’s really outdated
and as you flaunt around with your fabricated Mascots of “indian” brutality
that make Our people out to be novelties or savages
in mistake of Our Native cultural heritage and reality 

forgive Me for being
of your claims and excuses of being ignorant like a mindless sheep’s herd
batting your eyes at Our disappearing and brutalized bodies
as Our dreams are ripped from us and deferred

innocently you wipe the Indian blood off your hands
never really acknowledging 
that you stand on long forgotten but stolen Indian lands
a history so simple that you often tend to forget 
that one day real soon 
it will be time to finally pay your debts