Survivor (Poem)

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Photo by Paul Martini.


By Irene Hamilton

Hai Asdzââ, shimá.
On cold wintry, windy days
I think of my mother, Shimá,
Shepherdess astride her horse,
Bundled up against the cold
Keeping herself warm with thoughts of
And prayers for her children away at
Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school.

She was never separated from her mother,
But she got separated from her children
As they went to learn of another way of life,
A way of life
So foreign to what she knew.
But they lived, they survived.
It was a trade-off.

Áshinee’ Shimá, bless me with courage.
I remember you as I bundle myself
Against the cold.
Áshinee’ Shimá, bless me with courage.

–Irene Hamilton is a Diné writer and educator who grew up near Bluff. She splits her time between Utah and New Mexico.

–Read “Dishwasher,” another poem by Irene Hamilton, published in the Canyon Echo.