Monday, October 10, 2016

"My Father's Grandmother was Native American"

Recently, my uncle made a DVD of a bunch of old family movies and sent it to my father. There, for the first time, I saw my great-grandmother -- a Native American woman I had heard about my whole life, but had never seen a picture of.

Throughout the country, there is a strong push to have Columbus Day renamed "Indigenous Peoples Day." Here's why I would support such a change...

*****

My father's grandmother was
Native American.
No one knows
What tribe she was from.
To hear Dad tell it,
His grandfather married her
Because he loved her,
Never mind how much it
Angered
The rest of the family.

I have seen her:
A thin woman
In a faded print dress.
The grainy
Sixty-year old
Super 8 film
Renders her skin
The same shade of gray
As everyone else's.
And yet--

When she died,
The family refused
To even name her
In her obituary.
To the best of my knowledge,
She has no tombstone.

My father spent years
Trying to follow
That branch
Of our family tree.
But it is long gone,
Leaving a hole in the sky

As every branch does
When it falls.
Still--
My father,
Eighty-one years young,
Remembers her.
And every time I look in the mirror,
My Great Grandmother peers back at me.


*****

1 comment:

A GAL NEEDS said...

That is really sad that your great grandmother wasn't honored the way she should have been. She could have brought much more richness into your life tapestry had you known more about her! But so good that you can make up for lost time and write such a beautiful tribute to her!