Momma sews for us on great grandma’s Singer machine.
Today she’s making our clothes for Land Run Day.
She bought a few yards of eggshell cotton & some bright Pony Beads.
Sister & I are getting new Pow Wow dresses. We’re gonna be Indians at the Land Run.
My momma’s making outfits for us for Land Run Day. She’s working hard.
She’s a good sewer—she makes us new clothes for school every year.
Me & Sister, we’re going as Indians for Land Run Day. Ma’s making Pow Wow dresses.
She said we might even wear them when we go to the Indian Fair & Parade in Anadarko.
Momma’s real good at using sewing patterns--makes us school clothes every year.
We’re even building a teepee to take to school for the Land Run. Daddy said he’d help.
Sister wants to wear the dresses in the Indian Parade in Anadarko next year.
Ugh. Dresses aren’t as nice as I expected. No buckskin or seed beads. No dancing shawl.
Daddy’s helping us build a teepee to take to school. It’s not very big though.
We’re gonna set it up around the rusty red wagon—that way we can roll it around.
No buckskin or seed beads. No shawl. These aren’t real Pow Wow dresses. Not at all.
Momma used a Halloween costume pattern. She made us white girl Indian dresses.
We set the teepee up in the little red wagon—now we can roll it around behind us.
The dresses aren’t right & you can still see a lot of the wagon. I’m trying not to cry.
Momma made us white girl Indian dresses. Why would she do that?
I think I’m going to be sick. My stomach hurts. I don’t want to go to school now.
The dresses aren’t right. Nothing’s right at all. I’m trying really hard not to cry.
After I told everyone about how great our outfits were going to be. I told everyone.
I feel awful. I feel sick. My stomach hurts. I can’t go to school now.
I was so excited earlier. Why was I so excited?
I told everyone about our great new outfits. I told everyone.
If I don’t go, they’ll all think I lied. If I don’t wear it, Momma’s gonna be mad.
I was so excited. So happy, so excited. Why was I so excited?
I hate Land Run Day. I really truly hate it. What a stupid day to have to dress up.
Everyone will think I lied about our dresses. Mom’s mad I don’t want to wear it.
Daddy says she worked hard to finish them on time for us. He says we should be happy.
I hate Land Run Day. I really really hate it. What a stupid day. Dumb ass Land Run.
They say I have to go. Sister’s too little to go by herself. I have to help pull the wagon.
Daddy says Mom worked hard to finish new dresses for us. He says I should be happy.
He says he’ll take us to school in the truck with the wagon next to the tailgate
& I have to go. Sister’s too little to go by herself. I have to pull the wagon. I have to.
Grandma says not to cry, she’ll braid my hair pretty for me before bed.
Dad takes us to school in the old farm truck with the wagon rolling around in the back.
Sister & I look exactly alike—matching dresses, sandals, & feathers in our braided hair.
Grandma braided my hair pretty and way too tight before bed. My head hurts still.
I watch our wagon through the glass & hope the teepee breaks before we get to school.
Sister & I look exactly alike—matching dresses, sandals, feathers in our braided hair.
We are the last ones to make it to school. Everyone is probably waiting on us.
I watched our wagon through the glass all the way. The teepee didn’t break.
I have to carry it up the stairs—sister is too small, but she tries to help.
Everyone is waiting on us. They stare as we walk to class.
I’m the only Indian in my class. I apologize as my teacher gives me a strange look.
I had to carry the wagon up the stairs—sister was too small to help.
Teacher says it’s ok—just leave the wagon in the hallway.
I’m usually the only Indian in class. Today I really feel it.
Everyone is in pioneer dresses, button up shirts, & boots.
Teacher says we’ll get the wagon in the hallway on our way to the buses.
First, we have to finish our Land Run History coloring books.
Everyone is in pioneer dresses, button up shirts, & boots. Even in the book. All but me.
The principal announces we’ll go to the football field after the Pledge of Allegiance.
We have to finish all the pages in our Land Run coloring books & turn them in.
I don’t know how I’ll get the teepee to the football field. Sister’ll be mad if I don’t.
The principal announces we’re going to the football field in the buses.
The school board is going to be at the field to give out prizes for best costume.
I don’t know how I’ll get the teepee into the bus. Maybe some friends will help.
Other kids made covered wagons—they seem to fit in the bus aisles.
The school’s giving out prizes for best costume. My friends all want to win.
I just wonder what we’re going to do at the football field for the rest of the day.
Other kids made covered wagons. No one else made a teepee.
Everyone stares at it. At me. People always stare at me. At my family. I don’t like it.
“What are we going to do at the football field all day? Costume contests don’t take long.”
“I heard we’re going to play pioneer games and square dance.” “Better than real school.”
“Yeah, square dancing in an Indian costume. That’ll be fun.” People always stare at me.
“Why are you dressed up like an Indian? There weren’t no Indians at the Land Run.”
“We’re really going to play & square dance all day?” “So much better than real school.”
“I would rather be in real school. This is stupid.”
“Why are you dressed up like an Indian? Indians didn’t go to the Land Run.”
“Because I’m Indian—I’m Comanche & they weren’t allowed to run. It was Indian land.”
I’d rather be in real school. It’s hot and there’s no shade. This is stupid.
Sister & I sat together in the grass--the only Indians in a school of white settlers.
We are Indian. We’re Comanche. Our family didn’t run for land. We were nomadic.
No one knows what to do with us, what to say. We didn’t win the costume contest.
Sister & I sat together in the grass--the only Indians surrounded by white settlers.
The games were over pretty quick. The Land Run too. They’ll send us home early.
No one knows what to do with us. The kid with a fake monocle won the costume contest.
One of dad’s friends on the school board said our costumes & teepee were most original.
The games were over quick. The fake Land Run too. They are taking us back to school.
“Mom’s gonna pick us up. She’ll ask if everyone liked our costumes. Be sure to tell her
Dad’s friend on the school board said our costumes & teepee were the most original.
Things like that make her smile.”
Mom picks us up in grandpa’s truck. Sister tells her how everyone liked our costumes.
Momma sows from her hand me down machine.
Things like that always make her smile &
all she had to do was buy some cheap cotton & beads.
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Shauna Osborn is a Comanche/German mestiza artist, wordsmith, and community organizer in New Mexico. Her poetry collection Arachnid Verve will be available from Mongrel Empire Press in 2016. She was a 2015 Artist in Residence at A Room of Her Own Foundation’s Writing Retreat, has received the Luminaire Award from Alternating Current Press, a National Poetry Award from the New York Public Library, and the Native Writer Award from Taos Summer Writers’ Conference. You can find her online at shaunamosborn.wordpress.com.