Operation Geronimo – A Poem and audio recording

he was known by his people
as Goyahkla
which means “one who yawns”
you probably know him better
as Geronimo
as made popular
in American culture

to Indigenous North Americans
he is a hero
a warrior who fought for years
to protect his people
and their lands
from invasion

you shout “Geronimo!”
doing cannonballs into the lake or
parachuting out of a plane
but do you know why?
i’ll tell you
because Geronimo is
a symbol of courage
and bravery
for standing up to fight back
in the face of fear
and adversity
to shout his name
is to wish for a tiny slice
of his courage
for ourselves

he is not akin
to a man who has reigned
terror the world over
and waged holy war on America
for all these years
“Geronimo is dead,
enemy killed in action”
i heard them say
on the news
you wonder why
we kick up such a fuss
about the Navy SEALS use of
his name to capture
and kill Bin Laden?
it angers me to see
how ignorance blossoms
and thrives in this
climate of fear and terror
reminds me of how useless
the government thinks our lives are
in this country where we have been
stripped of our rights
cheated out of our lands
forced onto reservations
only to be forced back off
for uranium and oil deposits
bludgeoned into government
boarding schools
our sacred names and symbols
turned into mascots
cartoon caricatures
of our own history of terrorization
disrespected and dismissed
when we stand up to fight back
made to feel
like we’re not even worth the time
and told how stupid it is
to speak out about
such a trivial matter
“just sit down and shut up!
…but it’s only a name”
you say…

but don’t you see?
a name
for a hero
to call our own,
insignificant as you may think,
it’s one of the few things
we have left
and it is worth
fighting for.

(in response to the hateful and racist comments I read regarding the Operation Geronimo controversy)



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