Indian baby, small, dark, and warm
in your mother’s arm
Will soon be taken away to cold, white places
Beaten, unloved, uncared for
A white family
Filled with love for children
From your minority . . . position
Slowly the mental wounds of previous experiences are removed
From your young and growing body . . . yes, you are fortunate.
Your skin and face
Do not give your secret away.
You are loved
and accepted (as white).
Poor girl! Don’t be frightened or sad.
Do you ever wonder
where your place might have been?
Perhaps the reserve
(to be hopeful)
on the streets of a city
where your Indian pride and dignity
Would be stripped with each man who bought you.
Death would come
through white man’s liquor
or through disease
from too many
But worse yet
death would come
from people’s hate for minorities.
Such unpleasant thoughts! * * *
Rest peacefully in your white husband’s arms
for you are protected. * * *
You were raised white.
You think white.
Are you really white?
– – – by Ivy Claire Fraser
Ivy says about this poem:
This poem was written in the late 1970’s. I was not certain as to what my heritage was. It was not definitive until about 2003 what my background was. All I knew is that whenever aboriginal people were maligned by others I would feel a deep sadness within myself. The poem was not only meant to share the inner struggles of being “white” and “Indian” but the inner struggles a person can experience when they are part of more than one cultural background. The poem was written to awaken people to recognizing these inner struggles. In an ideal world it would be nice if we could respect each other and accept each other as we are rather than thinking about how we would like others to change to our way of being.