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By Tanaya Winder

Wake up, greet the sun, and pray.
Burn cedar, sweet grass, sage—
sacred herbs to honor the lives we’ve been given,
for we have been gifted these ways since the beginning of time.
Remember, when you step into the arena of your life,
think about those who stand beside you, next to, and with you.
Your ancestors are always in your corner, along with your people.
When we enter this world we are born hungry,
our spirits long for us to live out our traditions
that have been passed down for generations.
Prayer, ceremony, dance, language—our ways of being.
Never forget you were put on this earth for a reason—
honor your ancestors.
Be a good relative.

illustration of a girl in front of a beige/yellow background
Illustration by Colin Laurel

Source: Poetry (March 2021)

  • Relationships
  • Religion
  • Social Commentaries

Poet Bio

Tanaya Winder
Poet, writer, and educator Tanaya Winder is an enrolled member of the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe and has ancestors from the Southern Ute, Pyramid Lake Paiute, Navajo, and Black tribes. She grew up on the Southern Ute reservation in Ignacio, Colorado, and earned her BA at Stanford and an MFA from the University of New Mexico. Winder centers her poetry and activity around expressing and building community. She cofounded As/Us, an online journal devoted to writers of color; cofounded the traveling exhibit Sing Our Rivers Red to raise awareness of missing and murdered indigenous women; and founded Dream Warriors Management, a company that manages indigenous artists. Winder lectures and teaches widely and is the director of the Upward Bound Program at the University of Colorado. See More By This Poet

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