My grandmother is wrinkled leather that dried under the sun
while my aunt is slightly smoother, lathered in lotion and tanned appropriately

My skin is not as dark as theirs and I forget sometimes that I am
also a product of this native culture whites forget they trampled on

I was not forced into assimilation by a white culture that took my religion and
Virtue. But my grandmother, well – she has two daughters

yet I stand as a solution to her cries, and in her place,  I feel that I
have to be a woman of our culture, defends us when we are forgotten:

tossed on reservations with the resources for casinos that make profit
off our own gambling addictions – and the American addiction to starving us.

These policies are designed with us in mind but there is not a mind
in Washington that cares if their laws are carried the same way they carry out our bodies.

Because when Georgia forced the Cherokees to move, they
didn’t care that our bodies accounted for the largest genocide.

You’ve never heard about the Trail of Tears the way you hear about the Holocaust because
Americans prefer to write their history books with more foreign paper.

This soil was once foreign to you, but my grandmother tells stories of a place where her family
lived and the soil was theirs – but this land is no longer hers; they called it America,

and then they used it to name us.


Tea Riffo graduated with a Bachelors in English from George Mason University in 2017. She now lives in Atlanta, Georgia with an almost dead plant. Most of her time is spent painting, rejecting diet culture, and enjoying the frequent thunderstorms. You can follow her on twitter @soteariffic.


image: Used with permission, this image is of Connie Brownotter, a member of the standing rock Sioux tribe. Her social account is Instagram: @frybreadthighs_chokecherryeyes