Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Unknown Algonquin Females, Circa 1800s
Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate
Carol Willette Bachofner is Rockland’s new poet laureate. She reveals in today’s poem that injustices toward Native Americans, a longstanding feature of our national history, continue in the present day. Carol writes: “As an Abanaki poet, I heal the hurt and honor my culture by writing."
Unknown Algonquin Females, Circa 1800s by Carol Willette Bachofner
They dug up my grandmother, moved her to the museum. No one stopped them. I had no say. De-recognized by government, filed at the BIA under “I” (Indian, former), she’s been reduced to anthropology, curated by bureaucrats, her bones on display with the bones of a woman from an enemy tribe: (Unknown Algonquin Females, Circa 1800s) No one sang a travel song for her to ease her bones along the way; no giveaway, no mourning strings to soften the sorrow. I have watched their grandmas prayed and cried into the ground, names cut into marble, bodies preserved under stones safe behind iron gates. The governor’s announcement claims today: There are no Abenaki Indians left in Vermont.
Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2009 by Carol Willette Bachofner. Reprinted from Crab Orchard Review, 2009, by permission of Carol Willette Bachofner. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to David Turner, Special Assistant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-228-8263.