Chief Standing Bear

Níka’gahi Mąčú Nąžį̀
Níka’gahi Manchú Nonzhìn

Chief, Grizzly Bear, Standing
On the island in
Niobrara, Nebraska, circa 1908
Níúbdadà, Níbdáʼska
Níubthatha, Níbtháska

You’ve all heard
about my hand
and the color
of my blood

My words
you’ve heard

But as I grey
my voice fading
to whispers
yet, never

From here
the seeds I plant
sometimes take,
rooting deep,
and thriving.

But when drought comes,

the silence of no rain
fills with winds
that come pick up
my words
flies them far
across this wide
sky above
winds carry
fruit in seeds
of words.

who we are

our names

our words
our language.
Remember …
The Niobrara
the running water
the shining river
the willows
sweet grass
spread its seed
when you
pick the sage

send your smoke

Stand like the bear
your feet
in my footsteps
visit your home place
with bear feet

feel the words
born up
from the ground
words mine
We, your ancestors

calling you back.

calling you back.
My hand darker
than yours may be
with all the fading
but our blood still
the same color
as yours.

The same
made us both.

Send your prayers
and know
we hear you.

Barbara Salvatore is a student at Nebraska Indian Community College.

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