What’s the apple Adam ate?
Doesn’t matter – this I know:
Central clue how Elders grow.

What’s surrendered now and then
To the ‘children of the glen’
Is direction’s time of choice
Often made but given no voice.

Why do we capitulate?
Easy answer for us Cree
“Self control is up to thee –

“If you reach out, take my turn
Costly lessons you will learn
Not by my hand, ’course you’ll see
Once you learn, then we’ll agree.

That’s my way to get to heaven
Not alone ’cause that would be
Height of my stupidity.

“Being last one to survive
‘Watch the big man as I strive’
Goes against much better sense
‘What’s the rush, we’ll get there hence’.”

Asked the Elders, “Tell me, say,
’Bout that famine in your day
When there was no safety net
People died when needs not met”.

Said one man, “It was not nice
Ate a lot of squirrel and mice
But there’s one part you’ll not see
Even if it’s told to thee”.

“Have a try, give it a go,
Tell me, then at least I’ll know
In my head if not my heart
Who knows’ maybe seed you’ll start.

“ ’Twas no hoarding in the group
Everything went in the soup
Sometimes lots, but mostly lean
Little game by us was seen.

“Weaker people died, of course
Least the rest felt no remorse.
We all shared, whole group went down
Weaker ones went to the ground”.

“You are right, I hear, can’t see –
What informed approach by thee?”
“I’ve no interest being found
Last one living on the ground”.

Two years later – southern Church,
Elder led communion – first
Time as my replacement now
Took my place, I took a bow.

Standing at the Church’s rear
With my camera, I could hear
Those same words he’d said that day
“This my body – down I lay”.

Over time, that seed has grown
From that day the word was sown
By the ones who’d lived that way
Lived their lives and seen this day.

’Tis the Scots that value spine
Thrusting, striving, getting more,
Winning battles, steeped in lore.

I was raised both ways in life
TCK’s feel inward strife;
Strive or yield, which way to go?
Christ and Elder seem to know:

Fighting for our place in life
For it all or just for wife
Gets us what we want indeed
Fails to satisfy deep need.

In the years since those two days
I’ve discovered lots of ways
It’s not fun to take that route
Letting others grab the loot.

But somehow I’ve slowly learned
Each time I’ve my striving spurned
Elders and you, Lord, are right –
Things are lost in striving’s fight.

’Course there’s loss, this other route
Which is why folks scrap and shoot.
Takes a while to grow into
‘You go first, since you want to’.

There’s a fight both ways, I see
Fight with you, or fight in me;
Fight with you I get my way
Fight in me – the Elder’s day.

But if we don't deal with us
After we’ve avoided fuss
Inner stress will break out through
Weakest link that’s part of you.

Suicide, or drunken row,
Cancer's cell not turfed somehow,
Stroke from pressure high inside,
Heart attack where you reside.

One surprise on Rez I’ve seen
How much laughter there has been
Now I get it, don’t you see?
Giving way, no stress, needs glee.

Pacifist some people are
Mennonites, some Scots, by gar,
’Cept in economic sphere
Just from guns they tend to veer.

So, there’s overlap in view
’Twix these groups in what they do
’Cept the Cree don’t buy the shame,
In old ways, or in His name.

Clausowitz on War wrote book
Strategy and tactics took
Each to have a place that’s right
First is use, the second fight.

Tactically there’s lots of ways
Each engagement’s won and pays
Off for winner of the fight
If its use comes into sight.

Crees fight battles now I see
Giving way thus tactically
Wins a battle, seems absurd,
Till its use for them is heard.

They step back and let you win
Trophies bright for all your sin;
You’ll go far, then maybe see
Can’t do that sustainably.

Then perhaps you’ll smarten up
Pause in handing out your guff
They can wait, for you with glee
Then all win strategically.

Thirty thousand years or more
Cree ancestors walked this shore
A thing or two they learned round here
How to live with those most near.

What if Scots and other folks
Just looked closer ’neath Cree jokes;
Cree gave way, Scots seized the land
Perhaps some day they’ll understand:

Take the apple, we can wait;
Share our laughter, bread and wine”.