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I believe in the sun.

In the tangle of human failures of fear, greed, and

forgetfulness, the sun gives me clarity.

When explorers first encountered my people, they called us

heathens, sun worshippers.

They didn’t understand that the sun is a relative, and

illuminates our path on this earth.

After dancing all night in a circle we realize that we are

a part of a larger sense of stars and planets dancing with us


When the sun rises at the apex of the ceremony, we are


There is no mistaking this connection, though Walmart

might be just down the road.

Humans are vulnerable and rely on the kindnesses of the

earth and the sun; we exist together in a sacred field of


Our earth is shifting. We can all see it.

I hear from my Inuit and Yupik relatives up north that

everything has changed. It’s so hot; there is not enough


Animals are confused. Ice is melting.

The quantum physicists have it right; they are beginning to

think like Indians: everything is connected dynamically

at an intimate level.

When you remember this, then the current wobble of the

earth makes sense. How much more oil can be drained,

Without replacement; without reciprocity?

I walked out of a hotel room just off Times Square at dawn

to find the sun.

It was the fourth morning since the birth of my fourth


This was the morning I was to present her to the sun, as a

relative, as one of us. It was still dark, overcast as I walked

through Times Square.

I stood beneath a twenty-first century totem pole of symbols

of multinational corporations, made of flash and neon.

The sun rose up over the city but I couldn’t see it amidst the


Though I was not at home, bundling up the baby to carry

her outside,

I carried this newborn girl within the cradleboard of my


I held her up and presented her to the sun, so she would be

recognized as a relative,

So that she won’t forget this connection, this promise,

So that we all remember, the sacredness of life.

Talking with the Sun

Joy Harjo

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translated from the Polish written by
Tomasz Różycki