Sundance for All My Relations

Solo by Ruby Hansen Murray of the Institute of American Indian Arts
Solo by Ruby Hansen Murray of the Institute of American Indian Arts

I stomp my brown feet in the red desert sands

then claw my way down a pine covered mountain

to bathe in a misty shroud of morning

and listen as the Great Mystery thunders out

another universal warning


How will our little ones survive till tomorrow

if the womb of the Earth Mother is thrashed

and sprawled creating the stench of decay

how will our little ones breathe the air

if our ozone is ripped and torn away


How will the winged ones continue to soar

if the sky becomes a black bruise covering

the Earth Mother like the dawning of death

the four leggeds will be extinguished as we

the two leggeds steal the Earth’s last breath


I raise my brown arms to the sun’s living rays

pouring over the eastern horizon like love

touching the blue of the new day’s sky so softly

encouraging the green of the trees so warmly

and I pray again to the Great Mystery above


How can two leggeds continue to walk a road

that grows thorns in our hearts, greedy minds

and death in our wake as The Earth Mother

struggles to survive but we will see the end

if we refuse to heed these warning signs


How will our Earth Mother defend herself against

money hungry hordes who trample the poor ones

and rip up coal and uranium from Her sacred womb

what waters will you drink when pollution kills

all our rivers and streams that run?


I pray now to the Great Mystery of the Universe

for all my relations on land, in air and the sea

for those who crawl and dig beneath my brown feet

I am a living part of all my relations

Just as they are a living part of me


Elizabeth Anita Roastingear (Keetoowah Cherokee) is a student in the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Leave a Reply