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Man-made Squaw

By: Rosa Lopez

Art by: Jackie Wright

Stretch marks of mountain ranges

Valleys and city hips collide seamlessly intertwined

The forest bedding, pillowed by smog clouds

Man and mother nature

Falling into each other engulfed in time

When temptation overcame the sacred relation

Grass dances were wiped away by John

His Deer tracks pushed into her tea-colored skin

An offering of new tillage

A put-put-put drum beat to the mechanical greeting

A cry for consent rose as the birds flew from wildflower fields

Lust lifts the skirts of coal mines

Broken–backed, blackened–breath

Penetrating the gifts of time

Hold onto all she can give all you can take

Bricked up, piped, frack deep, pumping

Gasps of release

Drill her down

Raise her up

Inject the formations and watch as she crumbles to the will of your hand

Man has made a Squaw of the surface

Overbearing to demands, strapped to the papoose of rapacity

Primal rage bites back, winded she screams

She aches, she Aches, she ACHES

Quaking, upwelling, ocean rising, flooding the cities you can’t maintain

Caught in the act of violation

Reconcile with empty promises

Green-wash the lies you cannot unpack—a flexible film to the truth

Crackling of falsified veiled protection

Each motion grows louder, deafening the heart

The spoils of quick pleasure

Empty endlessly

Into a river, she weeps

Slugged against landfills and the crashing of ice sheets

The cycle never completes

She runs dry with each affair

And when the winds no longer whistle in her sweetgrass hair

She will be barren

And the shame will be yours to share



[1]Squaw has historically been used as a sexual slur against North American Indigenous women. These were women who did not comply with structures of colonialism and women the settlers could not conquer. Reclaiming the word Squaw focuses on the empowerment of retaining self-autonomy. To compare nature to a Squaw is to portray the settler relationship of overexploitating natural resources as an act of assault on the environment and Indigenous bodies.


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