Tsitsalagi(I am Cherokee),set into my heart my spirit,the living words
| The treasures of a life time stored,
a pebble found on mountain trails,
a feather gifted from above,
a shell found on sandy shores,
the print of ferns pressed forever into the stone.
Pine cones and pinyon,
maple candy made in the winter,
pecans and walnuts, baskets,
and grass mats made by grandmothers,
toys carved of wood by the loving hands of grandfathers.
Memories of warm fires,
of stews made beneath bare stars,
of stories shared and children's laughter,
of cuddling close to cousins on a cold night,
wishing these days would never stop.
Splashing in the river water,
swinging on an old worn tire,
broken shells from bird nests left over,
daring each other to jump from the hayloft,
running barefoot in the bright sun.
Soft drum beat keeping time,
gentle songs burned in my mind,
happy dances of thanks giving,
green corn times and sacred ceremonies,
births, namings, and weddings ,wakes held with joy and sadness.
Bloodlines told over and over,
knowing exactly who you are,
understanding what it means,
to give back for everything,
showing honor to ancestors, welcoming home beloved warriors.
Family gathered five generations,
sharing meals, love, and blessings,
taking time to teach the children planting,
how to cleanse and make proper offerings,
being told about Creator.
It is these I inherit,
these are my gift to those who come after,
a world of precious possessions,
one by one we share the counting,
what greater gift could one give to another, than our love of each other?
Keep the hoarded gold and silver,
it has no meaning beyond its glitter,
it can not buy true happiness,
it can not restore you to life or health,
it only holds your heart in fear, that from you someone will steal.
Give to me instead,
the freedom to laugh, play, and live,
and when my life time is done,
let me join with joy, those who wait on the other side,
let me teach the same to my children, let this be, their inheritance from me!