For Koweenasee

Day 79

photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

This civilization is built on violence.

My tiny house, my neighborhood, my town, my world,

built on stolen land.

Land that was home to many people before,

people systematically, and intentionally,

removed, wiped out, murdered.

And that is what it does,

this culture of oppression we were born into.

It consumes lives, and ecosystems,

Men, women, children, animals,

Forests, streams, lakes, and oceans,


And maybe I’m kidding myself when I think we can get away,

that this monster will let us leave quietly to start again.

There were people who lived here once,

when things were in balance,

when the land talked and the people listened.

It’s time to honor the ones who came before.

Seek out the stories of the Native people in your area.

Find them, sit with them, pray to the ancestors,


Understand the past,

because our future depends on it.

And to the Native Americans of my local area,

I am so sorry for what happened here.

And to Betty,

Whom I wrote about the other night,

murdered in the prison workhouse,

in the old town square.

Your name’s not fucking Betty,



soft, like the whisper of wind in the leaves, the chirp of the junco,

the beat of my heart.


Remember the names, honor the people, honor the land.

Our future depends on it.

The following is a list of the Susquehannock Native people murdered by the Paxton boys here in Lancaster 250 years ago almost to the day.

I love you,

thank you,

I’m sorry,

Please forgive me.


Wa-a-shen (man)

Tee-kau-ley (man)

Ess-kanesh (boy)

Tea-wonsha-i-ong (woman)

Kannenquas (woman)


Kyunqueagosh (man)

Koweenasee (woman)

Tenseedaagua (man)

Kanianguas (woman)

Saquies-hat-tah (man)

Chee-na-wan (woman)

Quaachow (boy)

She-e-kah (boy)

Ex-undus (boy)

Tong-quas (boy)

Hy-ye-naes (boy)

Ko-quo-e-un-quas (girl)

Karen-do-uah (girl)

Canu-kie-sung (girl)

This civilization is not kind, does not care about things that are living.

Our names could easily be listed here too,

if we’re seen as a threat,

to this beast.

Remember that.

Act accordingly,

May the rebellion reflect that truth.

Let it be a lesson.

It’s going to be a very hard fight.

We must be clever and brave,

fierce and strong,


Do not be afraid.

Thank you for listening,



photo by Wilson Alvarez

photo by Wilson Alvarez


2 responses to “For Koweenasee

  1. Thank you for creating the space for us to speak their names proper and thus honor the lives of those who suffered a horrific death, allowing many who came after to learn the dishonorable lesson; that such an act shall never again be allowed to be repeated.

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