“I am Still Here” Poem by Zunneh-bah Martin

I am Still Here (unfinished) by Zunneh-bah A. Martin

 

I am here thinking to myself:

How can I help my Diné/”Navajo” tribe,

my maternal grandma and my paternal grandpa’s people?

How can I, Zunneh-bah Arrietta Martin,

how can I, Old and Wise Woman Warrior,

help shideezhi Shundeen-bah, Nizhoni-bah ‘adoo Atsa-bah,

my three younger sisters?

How can I help shima, shimasani, shimasanisani, ‘adoo shi nali hastiin?

How can I help the people, shi K’e doo shi Dine’é,

that I’ve lived with most of my life?

 

I am here thinking to myself:

How can I help my Modoc tribe,

my maternal grandpa’s people?

How can I help the other 800 plus Native american tribes that are still here

in this quote unquote “country”?

How can I help the Original peoples of this land,

the Indigenous people who were here before this land was so-called “discovered,”

before this land became known as the quote unquote “united states of america”?

 

I am here thinking to myself:

How can I help my Mexican, Azteca and Mayan people,

my paternal grandma’s people?

How can I help mi padre, mi abuela,

y la familia de mi abuela, los mestizos, nahuatl, mexicanotlahtolli?

How can I help the people of Mexico?

How can I help the Indigenous people of quote unquote

“north america, central america and south america”?

How can I help the people whose ancestors were there

before these lands became known as the quote unquote “americas”?

 

I am here thinking to myself:

How can I help my African american people,

my maternal grandma’s people,

who were treated unequally because of their skin color?

How can I help the African american people that have been removed from their homelands?

How can I help the Indigenous people of Africa?

 

I am here thinking to myself:

How can I help my Irish and German people,

my maternal grandpa’s peoples,

my grandpa’s families who immigrated here,

who were treated like white trash because they weren’t quote unquote “American” enough?

How can I help the people of Ireland and Germany?

How can I help all the Indigenous people of the world?

How can I help all people of color?

 

I am here thinking to myself:

How can I help the descendants of those who survived from

Mass murder

Massacres

Forced Long Walks

Forced relocation

Slavery

Death camps

Incarceration

Stolen land

Rape of culture

&

Extinction of language?

 

How can I help we who face

Oppression

Racism

Genocide

Colonization

Assimilation

Intergenerational trauma

&

Discrimination?

 

Discrimination because I’m from the red nation

Discrimination because I’m also from the black nation

Discrimination because I have similar traits from the yellow nation

Discrimination because I’m not white enough for the white nation

Discrimination because the united states government failed to

quote unquote “kill the Indian, save the man”

Discrimination because I survived from the death camps that my ancestors were taken too

The death camps that I am living on

The death camps that are now known as reservations

The Diné/”Navajo” Rez that I call home.

 

I am here thinking to myself:

How?

How can I help not only the people and cultures that I come from,

but how can I help all the cultures in the world who are in need of help?

 

My answer is:

I am here.

I am here and I am alive

I am alive and I am breathing

I am breathing and I am thinking

I am thinking and I am thriving

I am thriving and I am living

 

I am a living product of genocide

My ancestors resisted and survived

 

I am here thinking to myself:

I am Zunneh-bah

I am Old and Wise Woman Warrior

I am

 

Still Here

Zunneh-bah Martin

10 Responses to ““I am Still Here” Poem by Zunneh-bah Martin

  • Dear Zunneh-bah,
    I love this… Love the life I feel in the repetition of “How can I help?” and the momentum that comes from the repetition of the Discrimination lines. The piece has a chant quality to it that makes me feel your power as an amazing human being, and as a word-wielder. .
    Thanks for sharing!
    Tom

  • WOW!!! This is awesome Zunneh-bah! What a profound piece.

  • Wow, Zunneh-bah! This poem is so powerful. You express your passions and yourself so wonderfully. I can’t wait to read more of your work!

  • WOWWW!!! I LOVE THIS POEM

  • Zunneh-bah,
    Your presence, your voice, and your actions not only demonstrate that you are here, but they also help us as we navigate this road together, respectfully and bravely. We are here together, in this space, in this world, in this universe and together we can work to preserve and honor all. Thank you for leading the way.
    Ceci

    • Dear Ceci,
      A’hé’hee (thank you) for your support and encouragement! 🙂 We are together and we are uniting! United people power!
      Sincerely,
      Zunneh-bah

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