Here is a prayer for the warriors and protectors of North Portland. North Portland has been a major powerspot of many people. Starting with the Chinook and Kalapuya peoples who met on this point to catch the Salmon, here where two rivers meet. Then the Native people: Souix, Cheyenne, Shoshone and Klamath were driven to North Portland to work in the ship yards during WII. The Asians and Hawaiian were enslaved here to work on the railroads. They were locked in these neighborhoods. Ho!
I know the history. I have not forgotten. I carry these stories told to me by Native American story tellers Johnny Moses, Ed Edmo and Tsa-La-Gi, Randi'L Teton (Shoshone/Bannock), Judy Trejo (Piaute), Martin High Bear, Drummer Smith.
It was at this place called North Portland where the two rivers meet and white men came to gain control at first for their supply boats, later they interned the people there. Later when African Americans realized they were not to share in the land grab but were to be used as slaves on the white man's farms and factories, they came here and were sent here to North Portland to be in a place that would keep them outside the white neighborhoods.
We built communities but still the white man came and subjected us to random and organized violence. Public transportation and health care and good schools were kept from us when the "great society" was built. We did not at first share in roads, hospitals and schools. We built our own. We agreed to put up with each other.
We also shared in the poverty, depression, and depravation. We know that white men came to the community to sell us alcohol, drugs and guns. These men wanted us to self-destruct so they could take away our resources and community.
Now, they come again to de-stabilized us. The land is worth millions and millions. They want to buy up everything and displace us again. They don't want people of color and people who live in poverty to be seen on the streets. They don't want to scare away the rich people who come to buy up everything and make it sterile. They harass us and try to make us afraid of one another. They sell us meth and crack and shoot us. They try to get us to shoot each other. We know what is happening. We have our own warriors and our own elders, and our own rules. We will not sit down and wait for them to take everything away.
Here is my prayer:
Great Spirit who creates all things - protect us.
Protect the warriors who stand up to the Brotherhood of the Strong.
Protect the elders who help the young.
Protect the voices so that they will be heard. Ho!
Make us not afraid. This is a holy land where many struggles have been fought
Here on this point where two great rivers meet.
Help us to remember the stories so that we will remember where we belong.
Help us to act with strength and courage because all we really have left is our community.
Bring us abundance so we can feed our children and house our families.
Protect us and make us strong from the mercenaries sent to kill our young men.
Help us all to remember that we must be together. HO!