White bones from a brown girl were mingled amoung the colonial graves. They say keys fill her marrow bones. To a life bygone of a scalded, now withdrawn people. These Indian bones bequeathed back to the earth. After death, her life dissected. They are careful to chip away at Mother Earth’s cradle around her bones. And then, after pages brimmed with sterile thoughts, a glass case to keep her protected.
From her cage, the Indian girl see’s little eyes, little fingers pressed against her walls. She hears clipped heals, a stampede of hoove-less mares and their daytime charges. Although they wear different clothes their cheeks remain the same smooth pink, skin never kissed by the Sun. There is another beside her. A warrior, his skin laid open. Toiled arrows lined out shaft-less, their wood and feather dissolved back into mother earth’s bosom.
“Wasn’t she beautiful?” asks a father, his own daughter bounced on his hip. She is a little too big and wiggles and squirms until her feet touch the ground. Behind the glass she sees a face. Deep brown, wide cheeked and stern, the Indian girl’s skull re-fleshed and skinned with a computer face. The father’s daughter smears an oily finger over the Indian girl’s brow. She traces her jaw line, presses her own nose as close to the Indian Girl as the cage allows.
The milk brown of her cheeks are hard to forget…
Image: Edward S. Curtis
Additional Info 1987: NYTimes