The Unwanted Gift (A history of Indian Affairs)

     This is the final poem of ‘Native American Week’. Today’s Indians are, for the most part, destitute, indigent, people. Not all tribes have big fancy casinos raking in the dough, from the suckers. No. Most Indians have to rely on what the government “gives” them. And it is paltry and pitiful! The land that they have on the Reservations is poor, the health care on the Reservations is poor, the housing on the Reservations is even less than poor, it is appalling! The pictures that I have seen recently, (thanks to It’s Just Life at have brought that to my attention, and I wish all of you, would go to It’s Just, and search Beth Ann’s  recent past issues, to see for yourselves.


     Anyway here is the final installment;

The Unwanted Gift

(A history of Indian Affairs)


The peoples of the old ways,

are all gone now.

Yet, their spirit flows among us,

as the wind.

And the tears they had shed,

in the old days,

return to us as rain,

once again.


But, the sun no longer lives,

in the heavens,

and no life does it give,

to the land.

And now the land it is poor,

and it is barren,

and leaves the peoples of today,

breathing sand.


While taking refuge in the whiskey,

of the ‘white man’,

to take away the torment,

that they live.

But, the spirits of the old days,

give us warning,

beware, of what the ‘white man’,

wants to give!


Jack Downing

July 2011



About poemsandponderings

Hearth and Health are wonderful things and if you're without either such sorrow that brings So I cannot express enough thanks to my Lord and to my family and friends for the support you afford! ~Jack Downing~
This entry was posted in Americana, Earth and Us, history, Indian Affairs, life, old days, poor land, tears, torment, torment, warning, whiskey. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The Unwanted Gift (A history of Indian Affairs)

  1. Such despair. If you have time research alcoholism/addiction stats Native Americans North and South Dakota et. al. Esp. youth. You will be shocked. I am developing a theory upon which to assess the mindset of relatively second world and disorganized and impoverished societies of today that had illustrious histories in ancient times. I call it “living in the shadow of the past”. I imagine one’s frustration and low self esteem living as an inferior in today’s world being Greek or Egyptian or Native Mexican. Striped of greatness and inconsequential in the world of today must cultivate resentment and disappointment. I think if our leaders understood the magnificent history of Persia they could understand the mindset of Iran as it tries to assert itself today. For Native Americans living in the shadow of the past is especially demoralizing. Americans seem able to see themselves as individuals but for people whose self image is based on heritage, race and ethnicity the world must be an empty place indeed if those associations have evaporated. Filling that emptiness with self destructive habits becomes the new paradigm.

    • jack downing says:

      Very well said, as usual Carl. But, I will play the devil’s advocate for a second, if you don’t mind. Were not the Spanish, Portuguese, the French, Dutch, and English, all once,
      great and powerful nations as well? Yet, their people adapted to their situations and moved forward, (Perhaps with hidden resentment,) I don’t know how or where the line is drawn, but some people never move forward or if they do, it is at a somewhat retarded pace, with or without alcohol, or drugs ie. Iran. And in fact addiction/alcoholism, cannot be laid solely at the feet of the poor or downtrodden, and sadly not even at the feet of
      the uneducated. It is Universal, and it is genetic, and it is impossible to legislate it’s demise. Unfortunately, I can’t forsee and end to it.

      But, to your point, I would say that low self-esteem, lack of economic relief (work), and lack of educational opportunities in the poorest communities, exacerbates the problem exponentially…And to offer a ‘Welfare State’ to those people only serves to lower their self-esteem and self-worth. Then rather than depend on their own devices and drive, they will always be dependent on the ‘Public Teat’ to provide for their needs. And that creates a “Pandora’s Box” of intertwined, problematic situations for all of us.
      I will raise a glass (of the beverage of my choosing) to the weaning. May it come soon!

      Sorry for the long winded oration, though not technically an oration as I didn’t acually speak. (But, my lips did move as I typed).

      Have a good day, my friend,

  2. Beth Ann says:

    Going to link up to your blog finally today, Jake. I am sorry—meant to do this all week every day and just did not get it done as some other things were creeping in on me. Thanks so much for the great posts all week long—hopefully your pieces have enlightened some and challenged others. I am very appreciative to you for all of this. You rock!!! Have a great weekend!! 🙂

    • jack downing says:

      I did not have much of a response this week. I was rather disappointed that more people did not respond to the categories at least..I’m going to have to take some time to revisit my blog and see how to improve the readership. I may take some time off to do that.. My daughter’s wedding is two weeks from today, This may be the perfect time to take that break. I know I’ve said that before and couldn’t shut up, so we’ll see.

      I have written a poem for “The Day” that I’m having caligraphy done and framed for them. I’ll send you a copy via e-mail but, shhh, it’s a secret. ok. lo

      I hope this finds you well, on this sensational Saturday,

  3. Pingback: The Unwanted Gift (A history of Indian Affairs) (via poemsandponderings) « It's Just Life

  4. improve readership? Subscribe to blogs other poets. A network will begin to flourish. 3 I like are adeeyoyo – South Africa, sixsmith – Russia and stillfuge USA. Go to them from my blog roll.

    • jack downing says:

      I know this may sound stupid….But how do I get to your blog???????????
      I did manage to find ‘scribe of ages’ through your profile at gravatar. It really looks like something I will enjoy.

  5. “I Know I Made You Smile” You are in for a treat

  6. pattisj says:

    Visiting from Beth Ann’s today. Thanks for the enlightening posts.

    • Well a big thank you from me to both you and Beth Ann. I hope you will come back more often, I have poems on varied subjects, I am sure, as I have said before… that the poems that you will find here, will either entertain or offend your sensibilties at some point or other. But, you’ll have to visit, to discover which it is, on any given day.
      Thank you again for encouraging words.

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