By Gillian Joseph
treaty of Mendota
august 5, 1851
in consideration of the occupied / congress’ mouth / shall blacksmith instructions
rights relinquish to
the Indians / the dollars
farms of sums / and chiefs
former peace of the country
a thousand thousands / set apart / by the boundaries of
Dakota | Minnesota
United the Sioux
the Rivers said
a spirituous reservation / bounded on the west / to balance out
conditions perpetual / with consent of / stricken
ten cents / acre
to force their hands in
Med-ay-wa-kan-toan and Wah-pay-koo-tay lands
(my ancestor) ■
This story is part of the Indigenous Rust Belt project, supported by Ohio Humanities.
Gillian Joseph (they/them) is a queer, 2-Spirit Ihaŋktoŋwaŋ and Mdewakaŋtoŋ Dakota storyteller who grew up as a guest on Waxhaw and Catawba lands. They work in Indigenous health education and are the author of Protector of the Beads: a Dakhota Poem (forthcoming from Wíyouŋkihipi Productions).
Cover image of the Traverse des Sioux by Lorie Shaull (creative commons).
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