Original Sin

Proud anthems hide painful histories.
Call them Scar Face, the original mobs.

Maori treaties disemboweled.
Aborigine beliefs purged, land seized,
lives stolen by small pox scourge.
Wounded Knee cut beyond the pale.

Revisionist history.
Frayed band-aids cover festering wounds.
Moans for restitution reverberate.

A Quadrille (poem of 44 words) using the word “scar” for dVerse where De is tending bar at this virtual pub for poets today. Photos are from our recent trip to Australia and New Zealand. In New Zealand, Europeans came to settle and discovered the Maori people — they were of Polynesian descent. Treaties were signed that ultimately displaced the Maori. However, in recent years New Zealand has done much to rectify the situation including a formal apology, declaring English and Maori as the two official languages of NZ, giving back some key lands, having both languages taught in the first years of school. There are Maori television stations. The video is of a beautiful Maori dance on the land, given back to the Maori’s, where the original treaties were signed. A beautiful museum just opened there this year.

Second set of pictures are from an Aboriginal tour we took of the Botanical Gardens in Sydney. This man is Aboriginal (mixed marriage) and showed us many of the plants and trees used by the Aboriginee for food and shelter, and explained their difficult history. Because Aboriginees no longer have easy access to their natural foods of years ago, they now eat “normal” food and their bodies have never adjusted…the average age of an Aboriginal male is just 65. Kidney disease and diabetes are rampant in the population. The artwork is some from the garden and one bark drawing from a beautiful display at the New South Wales Art Gallery. The Aboriginees have not fared as well as the Maori in New Zealand.

And of course, the wonded knee reference is to the Massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890 when US federal troops killed 150+ native American Indians. In the U.S., the plight of the American Indian, on reservations, high alcoholism, education access etc.  In all three countries, we sing our national anthems proudly, but our countries are established on the “original sin” of taking the land away from those who were our countrie’s first inhabitants. It is a fact of our histories. This recent trip gave me much food for thought concerning history and indigenous peoples.

54 thoughts on “Original Sin

    • lillian December 6, 2016 / 10:12 am

      We were so impressed at all that New Zealand has done…and is doing. I fear the US lags far behind in restitution to the American Indian. Scars are just that….marks left from pain. Restitution can only move forward.

      Like

  1. whimsygizmo December 5, 2016 / 3:05 pm

    I love those “frayed bandaids,” especially.
    I felt this so deeply, Lill. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 6, 2016 / 10:13 am

      Glad you enjoyed. It was quite amazing to learn the history of the Maori (something I was not at all familiar with) and to hear an Aboriginal man speak of his people’s history that he still so obviously feels.

      Like

  2. Glenn Buttkus December 5, 2016 / 3:07 pm

    You had me at /revisionist history/–OMG, how will History reflect the Donald? Wounds can heal, but scars remain; ironically tattoos, for me, are just self-inflicted scars, dyed & drenched with permanent ink.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 6, 2016 / 10:15 am

      Glad you enjoyed. The toughest thing about this 40 day journey to Singapore, Bali, Australia and New Zealand was coming home to an entirely different country. I fear the “history” this one man and his blind followers will create or perhaps more aptly said, unravel.

      Like

  3. Dr. Crystal Howe December 5, 2016 / 3:14 pm

    You’ve given us another powerful, stirring and true sketch of words, I like revisionist history, band-aids, and so many more well-chosen phrases!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Linda Kruschke December 5, 2016 / 3:31 pm

    Very thoughtful Quadrille. My only complaint is that I came to read 44 words. It wasn’t supposed to take too long because I have to get back to work soon. But you gave me much more to read, and it was thoughtful and worth reading as well, so I can’t really complain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 6, 2016 / 10:16 am

      Oooh, sorry, Linda. The Quadrille was 44 words….but my explanation was more than a quadrille. Glad you did find it worthwhile reading though.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. frankhubeny December 5, 2016 / 4:13 pm

    I am glad to hear both English and Maori are taught in New Zealand. Nice quadrille.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 6, 2016 / 10:16 am

      Yes, we were very impressed to learn that.

      Like

  6. Susan L Daniels December 5, 2016 / 4:13 pm

    Oh, this has such truth to it, such sadness.

    I have the genes of the oppressed in my cells, as the face of their oppressor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 6, 2016 / 10:17 am

      Thank you, Susan, for your very thoughtful and heartfelt comment here. Much appreciated.

      Like

  7. paulscribbles December 5, 2016 / 4:34 pm

    Deeply powerful and pertinent given what is happening at Standing Rock. Thank You for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 6, 2016 / 10:18 am

      I was just reading more this morning about Standing Rock. It is quite relevant…you’re right. So glad you enjoyed this poem. We learned so much about the Maori and Aborigines on our trip.

      Liked by 1 person

      • paulscribbles December 6, 2016 / 10:21 am

        Some good news there at last. I’m surenyour trip was amazing on many levels.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. whippetwisdom December 5, 2016 / 4:40 pm

    A very deep quadrille and your opening line ‘Proud anthems hide painful histories’ applies to so many nations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 6, 2016 / 10:18 am

      Exactly. The trampled are often hidden by the “progress” a nation makes.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. kim881 December 5, 2016 / 5:02 pm

    Lovely to see you back at the pub, Lill! And you’ve brought some of New Zealand back with you. Have you ever seen the film ‘Whale Rider’? It’s a must for anyone interested in the Maori culture.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 6, 2016 / 10:20 am

      So good to be back! Have not heard of the film but have it written down now. Will definitely watch. We were so very impressed that all New Zealand is doing…it certainly is not without controversy but seems like a positive movement to us. And one that many we spoke with are quite proud of.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Grace December 5, 2016 / 5:33 pm

    Your words resonate as we also have the same issue here ~ The First Nations history erased with the purging of beliefs and the taking away of lands ~ A meaningful share Lillian ~

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 6, 2016 / 10:25 am

      So glad you enjoyed, Grace. We learned so much during our travels. And yes….this problem exists in far too many places. We were so impressed with what New Zealand is doing in terms of the Maori peoples.

      Like

  11. ghostmmnc December 5, 2016 / 7:40 pm

    Thanks for sharing the history of the native peoples in all places. Very important to remember.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 6, 2016 / 10:26 am

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed.

      Like

  12. sree December 6, 2016 / 12:13 am

    Great opening line…it sets the mood…such a meaningful poem!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 6, 2016 / 10:27 am

      Glad you enjoyed. We learned so much about these two nations (Australia and New Zeland) in our travels. For me, experiencing the culture is as important, if not more important, than seeing the beautiful scenery.

      Like

  13. petrujviljoen December 6, 2016 / 2:16 am

    Speaking from South Africa, we live this. People are angry. Can’t blame them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 6, 2016 / 10:29 am

      It seems to be a truism in so many places. We were so very impressed with the actions of restitution and the attitudes in New Zealand. Would that many nations could learn from them, including the US.

      Liked by 1 person

      • petrujviljoen December 6, 2016 / 11:18 am

        I’ll try and tell them over here. Somehow don’t think they’re going to listen.

        Like

  14. Rosemary Nissen-Wade December 6, 2016 / 3:44 am

    What can one say? Too true!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. sarahsouthwest December 6, 2016 / 4:02 am

    The same story told over and over, and we don’t seem to learn from it. Lots to ponder, and powerfully written.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 6, 2016 / 10:31 am

      Thank you, Sarah. I think one cannot erase the actions of history….but one can begin to apologize and make restitution moving forward. Something we found that New Zealand is intent on doing. It is not without controversy and naysayers….but the actions prove the intentions.

      Like

    • lillian December 6, 2016 / 10:33 am

      Thank you, Hank, for your thoughtful comment here. In New Zealand, there are naysayers and controversy — but restitution is occurring — One can never erase the past or correct all the injustices but the actions happening there are testament to the intentions. Would that many nations could learn from them.

      Like

  16. Brian December 6, 2016 / 11:15 am

    A very timely scar to reveal given the political mess around the world.

    Like

  17. Ginny Brannan December 6, 2016 / 4:52 pm

    Not just “scarred,” but scourged. And you just touch on three of many. Thank you, so glad you shared this food for thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 6, 2016 / 5:41 pm

      Thank you Ginny, for your thoughtful comment. Yes, there are sadly, many many more examples. The Aborigine and Maori came to mind as I just returned from a 40 day trip that included Singapore, Bali, Australia and New Zealand. We did an Aboriginal tour of Sydney’s Botanical Gardens with an Aboriginal man — it was fascinating and he told so much about his history as we tasted plants, learned how barks and trees and foliage and fauna were used long long ago — not near so much now because they have no natural access to it. We also went to New Zealand and toured a Maori museum that just opened in February 2016 — also talked with a number of folks about all New Zealand is doing in restitution to the Maori — including a formal government apology, working throught the giving back of lands, enacting Maori and English as the two national languages (Maori is taught in the lower grades as well as English), Maori tv and radio stations, etc.

      Like

  18. Truedessa December 6, 2016 / 10:36 pm

    Your post is timely, as a protest has been going on at Standing Rock where an oil company thinks they have the right to go across sacred land. (shaking my head)

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 7, 2016 / 3:43 am

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Truedessa. Yes — was not aware of Standing Rock when I wrote this….but this kind of sad situation exists in many nations. We cannot undo the past — but we can work for some restitution and recognition of earlier wrongs.

      Like

  19. Bryan Ens December 8, 2016 / 8:13 am

    So much harm was done and covered up. Glad that many nations are attempting reconciliation.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Victoria C. Slotto December 10, 2016 / 6:11 pm

    So tragically true, Bjorn. I could wail when I think of what “we” did to Native Americans. David recorded some really old cowboy series from my youth and they make me cringe now and again. Last night, Bat Masterson, hunting buffalo as the Sioux just stood by and watched.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 12, 2016 / 12:02 pm

      I remembe those movies from when I was young. I always hated to see the horses pulled up and then falling. I always imagined how much that must hurt the horses. Sadly, in those days, I never thought anything of the Indians…..and then, as I was older and taking American History in school…I began reading. So very very sad….

      Liked by 1 person

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