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Moondancer

Wampumpeag is dedicated to the Spirit of my mother, Lillian Mary Fortier.


Nokace cawammaunsh

Wampumpeaag
by
Moondancer

1996 Frank O'Brien (Moondancer)


Aquidneck Indian Council
12 Curry Avenue, Newport, Rl 02840-1412
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Credits
Some poems in Wampumpeag are selected from Food and Fire: A
Collection of Poetry, Analects and Neologisms, 1990, Frank O'Brien
[Moondancer].

"Moontime" has also appeared in Chrysalis , Vol. 1, Number 1,1993. "O


Spirit" appeared originally also in Chrysalis , Vol. 2, Number 3,1993 as did
"A Walk on the Seas " (Vol. 2, Number 1,1994).
"Keihtanit-oom" ("O
Spirit") is written in the extinct Algonquian language Massachusett (Natick),
and is reprinted from Moondancer & Strong Woman, Understanding
Algonquian Indian Words (New England). Newport, RI: Aquidneck Indian
Council, 1996.

Contents
1. Keihtanit-oom
2. O Father! Teach Me the Ways of My People
3. The Dream
4. Moontime
5. A Walk on the Seas
6. To Them
7. A Survivor's Prayer Under the Hunter's Moon at Dawn
8. The Wail of the Coyote
9. Bird Song
10. Pining
11. The Voice of My Past
12. On What American Indians Want Today
13. Kehchisog
About the Author

O Spirit

Keihtanit-oom

O Spirit
That gives us our breath
Watch over us

Keihtanit-oom
magunt'che nashaiionk
wadchanish

O Spirit
That gives us our food
Watch over us

Keihtanit- oom
magunt'che meechummuonk
wadchanish

O Spirit
That gives us our family
Watch over us

Keihtanit- oom
magunt'che teashiyeuonk
wadchanish

O Spirit
That gives us our happiness
Watch over us

Keihtanit-oom
magunt'che wunnegenash
wadchanish

O Spirit
That makes all living
Watch over us
O Spirit
That makes us one with you
Watch over us
O Spirit
You are the only One
Watch over us

Keihtanit- oom
magunt'che pomantamoonk
wadchanish
Keihtanit-oom
kesteau yau ut nashik ohke
wadchanish
Keihtanit- oom
pasuk naunt manit
wadchanish

Keihtanit- oom written in Natick-Massachusett Algonquian language

O Father! Teach Me the Ways of My People

0 Father!
Teach me the ways of my people
I must know why the bird sings
and flies so high in the sky
Why the flower blooms
and smells so pretty Why the
sun warms my face
and the moon stares at me Why
the water washes me clean
and makes my skin bump
Why the wind whistles
and makes the trees dance in the sky
Why the coyote wails
and I can never see him Why
the thunder roars in anger
and the lightening cracks
Why the fire warms my hands
and then is gone in the night
O Father!
Teach me the ways of my people
Talk to me in words I can know

The Dream

A big black bird flew to me in my dreams


He circled round and round coming closer and closer
Then he landed on my right shoulder folding his wings
He looked up into the sky Then directly into my eyes and
there peered for a long time
Suddenly he spoke to me "Your People are near. Soon you
will be at one with them."

Moontime
The moon looks at me in a cold curious way
The Man-in-the-Moon carols a wide-mouthed song
Moonbeams dart through dancing leaves
On a cold country road
He dares me to tread it
"Go home," He whispers
"Night is moontime."

A Walk on the Seas


I took a walk on the seas To
find my mother, the Moon
She lifted me up
To the skies And
showed me the past
I saw a fiery ball of all colors
That opened and closed
Embracing in all directions
Then she put me back on the shore
And resumed her watch over the seas

To Them
To them
The rocks are dead
The water is dead
The trees are dead
And all the animals are dead
They even see their own people
As dead

A Survivor's Prayer Under the Hunter's Moon at Dawn


The sun is my father

The moon and seas are my mother

The stars are my brothers and sisters

The land is my kingdom


Here there was a time they say
When there was no time
A time when there was only time
A time when there was no space
A time when there was only space
But all that was before
The Time
Now There is
Only Time
Only Space

The Wail of the Coyote

There was a bird once


Who knew a man once
They danced and sang together once
For they were brothers always
Now the bird is sad always
His brother has vanished from the Land
Always

Bird Song
I died
And was resurrected
Somewhere in the wind and ashes
Upon the land
Among the birds
Who fell from the sky
To me
And from me
Winged to the wind
To sing again

10

Pining

I know a tall pine tree in a Newport park

They say it blew its top one hurricane day


Upon first acquaintance I saw that
This evergreen bleeds Mom, noon and dusk to dawn
Pine sap So clear, sticky, and tasty
Its lower limbs are severed to the bark
Perhaps so tourists can touch and film a real tree
And feel safe amidst the mist of a moonless night
But only black ants march up and down the fir trafficking thenwares in fast streams of quiet dignity
They live in the holes under the tree
Where the white blood streaks and seeps
Yellow-jacket bees visit the green pine in a slow, busy search
Maybe they come to sharpen their stingers on the needles
And gray park-pigeons still parade about its snaking roots head bowing in
rhythmic ceremony
I too come once and again
I like to touch the tough dark bark
And drink from its wounds
For the tree and I are brothers

11

The Voice of My Past

The voice of my Past


My People
Dancing to the seasons
Of their Cycle

12

On What American Indians Want Today

They want to dry the tears that drowned the sun


They want laughter to return to their hearts
They want to go home! <> To Mother and Grandmother
They want to hear their ancestral voices 'round the fire

13

Kehchisog
(The Elders)
The Elders pray for the rising of the sun

The Elders pray for the setting of the sun


We pray for the Elders
"Elders, please pray for the rising of the sun"
"Elders, please pray for the setting of the sun"
The sun rises
The sun sets
The Elders pray

14

"If the Sacred does not live in you


You are not alive"
(Anonymous Native American)

15

About the author of


Wampumpeag

Dr. Francis Joseph O'Brien, Jr. (Moondancer) is a mixture of European Canadian-Indian


heritage. His mixed Indian heritage dates back to the 1600s when a fisherman from Normandy
named Antione Fortier married a Huron girl in Beauport, Nouvelle France, on November 21,
1677.
"My mother taught me to see connections among all
things under the sun. So, now I dedicate this book
to the honor of her memory and all Native Peoples
of the Americas."
Frank has authored 7 poetry chapbooks and has published poems in obscure sources.
He has graduate degrees from Columbia and makes his living as a government research
mathematician.
His Indian name is Moondancer. Moondancer is President of the Aquidneck Indian
Council, and lives in Newport, RI with his wife Strong Woman (Julianne Jennings) and their
beautiful children Brian (age 8) and Julia (age 6).
Moondancer and Strong Woman currently are completing Understanding Algonquian
Indian Words (New England).