Feeling White, Feeling Red, and Often Feeling Blue

By Robin LaDue

Skin, white if it's winter: brown in the summer sun
Hair, brown in the winter, red in the light and heat
Eyes, green all the time, a twist of genetic fate
Never one or the other, always both in the middle where they meet

In an uncomfortable mix of culture and history and trauma deep
A winding together of language lost, of land taken away
A whirling, swirling hash of other's rules telling me their "truth"
As I try to figure out where the ladder is to climb away

From the blueness in my soul as I contemplate my waning days
Knowing that time waits for no one, no one at all
And knowing that I feel as mournful at times like now
As the echoing down my mountain of the coyote's call

Red is in my blood and deep in my spirit, a soul spurned
By a world that sees the term "Redskin" as an endearment
A bloody scalp, a child's dying breath, a bounty paid for those
And yet I am supposed to feel honored by such payments?

Red in my veins split wide with the pain of a million million gone by
Of not believing they want to beatify Father Serra, a killing man
Who stripped the lives away of my people, a monstrous sin
Yet, hand him the Medal of Honor and then give him a great big hand

For killing the ones who mysteriously disappear from the history books
Children, women, men, taken at birth, forced into prisons for no sin
Except being like me, red inside an empath's soul and
White in the light until the warming sun darkens my skin

Who am I? I wonder as the end rushes closer? A squaw, a savage
A chief, a drunk, a Redskin, a child to throw beer and slurs at?
These things wound, deeply as the scars on Mother Earth
And the killing of Brother Wolf and the torture of innocents that

Like me, were born the wrong color.

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