Reflections about Loss

Carol A. Hand

What happens to a culture, to people,
When unknown diseases sweep their lands
Killing so many indiscriminately
The children, the wisdom keepers,
The mothers, the hunters
When their medicines fail to heal
And prayers to the gods and ancestors
Remain unanswered
When those who survive
Are driven from their homes
By hunger and unrelenting war


Photo: Eight Crow prisoners under guard at Crow agency, Montana, 1887 

Separated from the land that has housed and fed them
And their ancestors for generations
When the few who survive are rounded up
Confined on reservations or in institutions
Treated with scorn and cruelty,
Their children stolen and abused
Generation after generation


Photo: Carlisle Indian Industrial School

How can this magnitude of harm ever be healed?
Injury added to injury
To witness other peoples suffer all around the world we share
The same fate year after year
To feed the rapacious appetite of empire –
A hunger for ever more power
That can never be satisfied

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

34 thoughts on “Reflections about Loss

  1. You write immensely powerful words mon ami and I could not help but be moved by them. I have just finished watching aTV series called (I think) How the west was won…I was embarrassed to be a member of the white section of humanity in light of not just what the ‘immigrant land stealers’ did in America, but what they have done the world over. I know, sins of the fathers and all that, but it is still a painful excercise becoming aware of what my ‘culture, did to others. If only we, as a species could learn from history, but I’m afraid it will never happen. (we never got taught at school how your nations suffered because of the white man’s greed and diseases)
    Anyway carol, you write powerfully, as I mentioned keep writing and I’ll keep learning.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words, Pat. I so appreciate your kindness and willingness to look at history honestly. It is a necessary step for all of us to be honest – I think greed exists to some degree in all cultures but not all honor it equally as a trait to be emulated…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Your thoughtful comments are greatly appreciated, Cindy. Thank you. (And this is why I really intended to become a chemist and ecologist rather than a social worker…)


  2. “How can this magnitude of harm ever be healed?”

    I doubt that it can ever be completely healed. But changing the world so all of this can never happen again, would certainly help.

    I want to reblog this as well, Carol, in the next few days. Okay?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. What happens? As you depict it: genocide, the wholesale murder of culture, the people’s way of life, and unspeakable human suffering that spans generations into the future, perhaps never to be entirely quelled.

    No, the harm can never be healed. You can not resurrect what has been murdered. You can only save and nurture the remnants of what survived, perhaps to nurture that into what is has now tragically been fated to become a new, different and hopefully flourishing mode of life. But to my mind, even that will be forestalled until the Empire of capital itself dies the death that it truly deserves.

    My wife is of Mi’kmaq decent. But you would never know it. Nothing of that legacy in her survives that might have. Not for the past three generations. The extirpation, in her lived experience, is complete. Experiencing the demise of the culture could not have been easy for her ancestors, as you well attest.

    I’m downstairs and she’s upstairs in the kitchen and is calling to me. So I have to end this here.

    Kind Regards,


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your incisive and thoughtful comments, Norman. I agree with your analysis of the “Empire of capital” and the challenges of rebuilding what we can from the foundations of what remains.


  4. A sad post, Carol. Sometimes I have no hope for the world and think we are just going to blindly drive ourselves into extinction. But I don’t heal anything when I’m stuck in that despair. I have to keep hoping and believing that love and compassion and kindness have the power to make a difference. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, D. Sometimes the subject matter I’m rereading – editing -writing is unbearably sad and overwhelmingly hopeless. The feelings from the last section I worked on yesterday just needed to be expressed before I could go on to the next chapter.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on steelcityman and commented:
    Carol A Hand is a fellow blogger whose words of wisdom I follow avidly and the ‘Reflections about Loss’ that carol posted on the 12th Jan really struck a chord with me. They reminded me of the pain that so often comes with increased awareness of our history and culture …. so deserving of a reblog……..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Europeans are still struggling with the after effects of having their culture destroyed when we were driven off the commons 300 years ago. Fred Harrison writes about this in The Traumatised Society. He blames this event for the voracious greed and love of war of European culture – when our original culture of collective interdependence and responsibility was destroyed, it was replaced by a culture in which the ultimate ideal is to get something for nothing.

    Liked by 2 people

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