The poems

I have written most of these poems as members of the First Nations might speak them.

Notes and sources

The primary source of these words is my spirit of identity, as a person of Native American heritage and member of the Seldovia Village Tribe of Alaska, living in Seattle. When my words do not ring true, blame is due only to me. Otherwise, I have derived inspiration and details from the following sources.

Unangan Suite

My main source for these thoughts has been Aleuts: Survivors of the Bering Land Bridge, by William S. Laughlin, NY: Hold, Rinehart and Winston, 1980.

I have borrowed lines and ideas from my own poem “Family” in The Great Ideas. That, and my own feelings, such as expressed in my poem “Grace” in The I Ching.

Unangan is the singular form of the word meaning “people” in the language spoken on the Aleutian Islands, by the people otherwise known as Aleuts.

Fishing Rights Suite

Water Rights Suite

Cherokee Suite

The Four Mothers were the four tribes who lived in the east before the Cherokee moved there. I derived these verses from three translations of a talk by Bill Bolin and some information from Sam Chadoin given to me by Albert Wahrhaflig, James Mooney’s history, and the Swimmer Manuscripts.

The poet

Tom Sharp is a member of Seldovia Village Tribe, and is the author of numerous books.

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