Throughout my years of unstandardized history classes,

I’ve been taught about Columbus

And Vespucci

And John Smith.


I’ve been taught this country was stolen

From the friendly and naïve.

I’ve been taught this country was fought for

From the vicious and savage.


I’ve been taught the truth,

The barest facts,

That there was an expansive people here when settlers arrived,

And we fought,

And we killed,

And we forced them away from their homelands.

Who started the fight is irrelevant;

A fight five-year-olds have to place blame.


The truth is,

No one knows for sure

Who exactly was friendly and who wasn’t.

We have journals,



We have a recording of a fight

Between one tribe and one settlement,

But it’s always out of nowhere,

Isn’t it?


What we don’t know

Is if people within the tribes

Protested the violence

And the few that attacked were just that—


We don’t know if these few

Controlled the tribe

And that’s why whole tribes attacked.

We don’t know what the colonists did—

Cheat them, sure, push them away—

But them,

The Native Americans,

We don’t know their side of the story,

If they’d had enough

Or if one event

Set them off.




This poem is about: 
My community
My country


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