- by Sveta T., age 16
I had a family before
I had people I loved
I still smell the baked, brown, glazed chicken made by mother.
And I still remember the day I was taken away forever.
They rushed into my home,
grabbed me and never let go,
the last words heard from mother and father:
stay strong and never give up.
Tears roll down my cheeks now,
wanting to stay with mother and father in our home
and wanting some of that yummy, mouth-watering chicken.
Here the days seem like years
and the chores aren't the chores that I used to do at home.
And now I miss them even more
and wonder do they miss me and want me home?
[Editor's note: This poem describes the experience of forceful removal of Native American children from their families to attend government-sponsored boarding schools. The poem is the result of an English class project examining local history through literature. After reading poetry, fiction and non-fiction representing various groups who lived in or came to Oregon in the 1700s and 1800s, youth were asked to write a poem from the perspective of someone new or established in the region during that time.]