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Sharon Canfield Dorsey – The Invasion

An army will invade Indian Territory on Saturday, the 4th of July, led by the president of the United States, against the expressed wishes of Julien Bear Runner, president of the Oglala Sioux Nation. People may die as a result of this rash act, demonstrating a total lack of respect or concern for these First People of our land.

President Trump has invited thousands of people to participate in a fireworks display and celebration at Mount Rushmore in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. He announced there would be no social distancing and masks would not be required. What’s wrong with this picture?

Mount Rushmore is located on Sioux land. The president was asked several times by tribal leaders not to come. The White House refused to respond to their pleas. Trump has ignored the wishes of the nation that owns the land – that ownership clearly stated in a sixty-seven-page Supreme Court decision  in 1980 – the United States versus the Sioux Nation of Indians. The Court ruled that the United States had acted in bad faith, practicing deception that led to tragedy and many deaths when they seized the land in 1874 because gold had been discovered in the Black Hills. In 1980, the government offered compensation of $102 million. The Sioux refused, quoting Lakota chief, Crazy Horse, “One does not sell the earth upon which the people walk.”

That settlement has appreciated to $1.3 billion today, representing only a fraction of the gold, timber and other resources removed. The Sioux will not accept any payment for their land. They do not want money. They want their sacred Black Hills, as originally promised in a treaty in 1851 and again in the 36-pageTreaty of Fort Laramie, signed May 25, 1868, one-hundred-fifty-two-years ago. These treaties are on exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, along with many others dishonored and disregarded by the United States government.

The mountain into which the heads of four U. S. presidents are carved, is sacred to the Sioux. They call it the Mountain of Six Grandfathers. Nobody cared about that sanctity when the carvings were done and our president doesn’t care about that now. He chooses to defile land that belongs to a sovereign nation with a campaign rally thinly disguised as a patriotic celebration.

President Julien Bear Runner says his people want to protest this invasion by the U. S. president and his mob of followers. They are willing to risk their lives to voice their objection and anger. So far, eighty covid 19 cases have been reported on the Pine Ridge Reservation with one death.  President Bear Runner is discouraging confrontation, fearing more widespread virus infections will result from close contact with so many people. It’s not clear who the ultimate winner will be in this battle of wills but President Trump is attempting, by his insistence on this invasive action, to guarantee that the losers will once again be the people of the sovereign Sioux Nation.

SHARON CANFIELD DORSEY is a descendant of the Cherokee Nation and has written many articles and poems about Native American rights. She is an award-winning poet and author of four children’s books; a book of poetry, Tapestry; a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains; and a travel memoir, Road Trip. Her books are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, High Tide Publications and the author. Her newest poetry book, Walk With Me, will debut this summer.

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Sharon Canfield Dorsey – Grocery Shopping in the Age of COVID-19

Mostly, I don’t – shop, that is. My personal shopper daughter, Shannon, hunts and gathers groceries on Saturday and drops her findings off on my carport. I try to make my list as simple as possible – no specific brands, etc. Every Saturday is a new adventure, depending on what the store is out of and what substitutions she decides to make. I look forward to the surprises and the new cooking challenges. There is always a “guilty pleasure,” like ice cream that wasn’t on the list or fresh flowers. I’m getting very spoiled!

            Yesterday, I decided to venture out to the local Food Lion on my own. I chose my shopping time with safety uppermost in mind, so arrived at 8:30 a.m., during the special time allotted for “chronologically disadvantaged” people like me. My fellow shoppers were all carefully masked and gloved and concentrating fully on the task at hand. I was hoping for a “find” so went first to the aisles that my daughter tells me are normally empty. Disappointment – no paper towels or toilet paper or Clorox. Also, no cans of Campbells chicken broth which we both like for a favorite rice/mushroom casserole. BUT, in the rice aisle, two bags of jasmine rice which has been out of stock for weeks. I snatch one for me and one for Shannon and hurry to pasta. “Slim pickin’s,” as my Mom would have said, but I add two boxes to my cart and move on to canned vegetables. Lots of vacant space on the shelves, especially in the “beans” section. Is the whole town living on beans and rice? Maybe it’s just as well that we’re not all hanging out together! The fruit shelves are similarly sparse.

            One of my goals was to find some Extra Strength Tylenol which has been harder to track down than Big Foot. Bingo! Two boxes on the shelf, but each securely locked into a special container that can only be opened by the cashier and sporting a sign, “One per Customer.” O. K., I can live with that. Who knew pain relief medication would someday be locked up like diamond and gold jewelry? I wander up and down the aisles and gather what I can, then fill in the gaps with fresh veggies and fruits, which seem abundant. Proud of my bounty, I stand on the big black X, separating customers, ‘til it’s my turn at the check-out. The cashier behind the plexiglass barrier, in her mask and gloves, thanks me for shopping at Food Lion. I thank her for working at Food Lion, so I can shop. Her eyes smile at me and I’m out of there.

            At home, I repeat my weekly routine — empty the bags, clean all the boxes and cans with Clorox wipes, place them on a separate shelf in the pantry where they will stay for at least a week before I use them. Then I clean the doorknobs at the outside door, scrub my hands while singing Happy Birthday twice and collapse in my chair. Grocery shopping – bah humbug!

SHARON CANFIELD DORSEY is an award-winning poet and author of four children’s books; a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains; a book of poetry, Tapestry; and a travel memoir, Road Trip. Sharon’s books are available from Barnes Noble, Amazon, High Tide Publications, and the author. WATCH FOR A NEW POETRY BOOK, WALK WITH ME, OUT IN JULY, 2020.

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Sharon Canfield Dorsey – Study In Contrasts

In a tiny village in Uganda, twelve-year-old Sena
leans closer to the static-ridden radio, listening
to her biology class on the government channel.
Her school is in total shut-down due to the coronavirus.

In a small town in Kentucky, twelve-year-old Adaline
sits at the dining room table, I-pad in front of her,
participating in a zoom biology class led by her teacher.
Her school is providing online learning during the pandemic.

Sena’s family can only afford to send one child to the local
school since her father’s fishing boat was destroyed in a storm.
She finds it hard to concentrate as her four boisterous
siblings run in and out of the tiny room, squealing and crying.

Adaline’s younger brother and sister tune in to classes
in their rooms, on their individual devices, supervised by
their dad, who is home, training remotely for a new position.
He was laid off five months ago from his job of twenty years.

Sena is expected to help with household chores and her siblings
while her mother mixes dirt and water to repair the walls
of their small hut, also damaged by the recent storm. She worries
there will be no money for Sena to return to school when it re-opens.

Adaline’s mom has become the primary bread-winner since
her husband’s lay-off. She is concerned her salary won’t be enough
to pay the mortgage and keep food on the table, but is determined
to shield her children from concerns about family finances.

Both mothers wonder about their children’s futures.
Both fathers hope they will be able to support their families.
We are all different, each facing obstacles in this changing world,
but beneath the surface differences,
we are all the same.

SHARON CANFIELD DORSEY is an award-winning poet and author of four children’s books; a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains; a book of poetry, Tapestry; and a travel memoir, Road Trip. Her books are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, High Tide Publications and the author. WATCH FOR A NEW POETRY BOOK, WALK WITH ME, OUT THIS SUMMER.

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Cindy L. Freeman – I’m Ashamed, 06/09/2020

I’m ashamed; ashamed to be white; ashamed to be American.

I’m ashamed to live in a country where the so-called justice system is blatantly unjust; ashamed of the few white policemen who condone and participate in violence against fellow humans because of their skin color; ashamed of the looters and inciters who would take advantage of a situation for their own selfish gain. As a Caucasion parent and grandparent, I’m ashamed that Black parents must teach their children, for their safety, not to trust the police, not to wear hoodies in public, not to jog in public, and not to walk down the street with their hands in their pockets. 

After all the gains made in the 1960s by Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. through intelligent rhetoric and non-violent demonstrations, how is it possible that our nation has barely moved one inch closer to sanity or equality?

Where do we go from here? For how long will we, as a country, tolerate the white men and women who think they are superior to anyone who is not white? When will we stop tolerating white people who control because they can; privileged white people who get away with overpowering people of color because they can? When will we stop teaching our children to avoid, shun, or bully non-white children? 

When will it stop? When will the legal system, the judicial system, and the penal system finally uphold the Constitution of the United States of America? When will Native Americans and Black Americans and Mexican Americans and Asian Americans and Latino Americans finally be protected from the minority group of racist whites who think they are in charge because they are allowed to be in charge?  

I’m convinced that nothing in America will change or improve until the sector of honorable, respectful, honest, ethical, just and lawful white men and women–and there are many–stands up, once and for all, for what is honorable, respectful, honest, ethical, just and lawful. Honorable white men and women need to take action, to stand up and be counted. Americans of color are tired of fighting battle after battle while white men and women let the war rage on because it perpetuates their position of privilege.

Sunday afternoon I attended an inspiring, unifying “Black Lives Matter” rally in Colonial Williamsburg. At least as many whites gathered in front of the Capitol as people of color. It was organized and led by the Williamsburg Police Department and clergy representing numerous local denominations. The speakers, both black and white, were articulate, informed and respectful. It was so uplifting! I wanted to shout, “Finally the message is getting through!” At least maybe it’s getting through in our small community that until Black Lives Matter, no lives matter. But it’s only the beginning. We must keep the momentum going. 

Honorable white men and women are the only ones who can affect positive reform in this country. Honorable white cops, business owners, clergy, and elected officials. Why? Because they are the “privileged white.” Our communities need confident, brave white men and women who refuse to remain silent, who refuse to be racist or oppressive or abusive, men and women who refuse to tolerate hateful speech and behavior in other privileged whites.

Relinquishing our white privilege does not weaken us. On the contrary, it simply trades white supremacy for mutual respect.

America needs to hear from respectful white men and women who believe that every human is created in the image of God, possessing the absolute, inherent right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” I’m convinced this is how we make America great.    

Cindy L. Freeman is the author of two award-winning short stories and three published novels: UnrevealedThe Dark Room and I Want to Go Home. Website: www.cindylfreeman.com; Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cindy.l.freeman.9. Her books are available from amazon.com or hightidepublications.com

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Sharon Canfield Dorsey – Our New World

The coronavirus villain in this strange fairy tale is elusive, resilient, and deadly. It has taken control of our lives, locked us behind our doors. It has stolen friends and loved ones from us. We are forever changed.

            We will never walk into a movie theatre, restaurant or department store without feeling  anxious when we hear someone cough.

            We will never again take for granted full shelves in grocery stores or the workers who keep those shelves filled.

            We will have more respect for the skilled educators who teach and guide our children.

            We will be more grateful for our jobs, even boring ones, that allow us to pay the rent and the electric bill.

            We will appreciate being able to go to our doctor or dentist, get a hair-cut or manicure.

            We will elevate all of those health care workers to super hero status along with Wonder Woman and the Avengers.

            I would like to think we will emerge from this darkness more enlightened, more compassionate and more determined to contribute something worthwhile to our new world.

            I hope we will be more aware of the “haves” and “have nots,” and become activists for equality—in housing, in employment, in health care.

            I hope we will finally decide that our first responders – teachers, police, firefighters, nurses — deserve to earn more money than baseball players.

            I hope we will remember what clear skies look like and clean air smells like and join with the rest of the world in one last attempt to save our planet.

            I hope we will all agree that science trumps conspiracy theories and refuse to be taken in by ignorance or misinformation.

            I hope we will embrace the blessing of more time with our families and slow our lives enough to continue to play games and tell stories together.

            I hope we will heal from the losses with stronger empathy and caring for all people.

SHARON CANFIELD DORSEY is an award-winning poet and author of four children’s books; a book of poetry, Tapestry; a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains; and a travel memoir, Road Trip.  Her books are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, High Tide Publications, and from the author. WATCH FOR A NEW POETRY BOOK OUT THIS SUMMER.