A Thimble-Full of Native American Blood

I don’t need a DNA test to tell me who my mother is; I know who she was. –A.D.

I tell you that what you know is wrong;

we are not natives, we are whites

more British than the British, in fact

I tell you that your mother

registered white on the census;

she was never half Indian

I tell you that the memories of her chewing

a black gum tree twig, dancing

in circles with my father, laughing

while fry bread sizzles

in an iron skillet

are just country

       I tell you that the only record remotely

supporting this identity

is the marriage record saying


It never occurs to me to consider

race was a perception

not an identity

and perception lies

It never occurs to me

that one culture

can completely erase


Yet there it is on paper:

              colored = powerless, vulnerable

                           White = Entitled To Own

There it is on paper:

my native antecedents slipping

off their indian skins, a thin layer

of vanilla ice cream melting

from their chins

Rebecca Whitman
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    1. Rebecca Whitman

      Thank you, Liz, for reading and commenting. I hope you take the time to explore other writers here as well. This is a lovely magazine.

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