I wrote this for my Grandfather 10 years ago. Today, I mourn him.

What is Aleut?

What is Aleut? It’s something that flows through my veins.

It’s faith that made land from sand, and ocean from tears.

It’s grandfathers being chief to their dwindling clan,

yet standing tall with pride.

It’s learning that faith is more than hope and dreams combined.

And though my Aleut blood runs thinner,

it’s something that I can say mine.

Not something you’ll find often in anyone else’s bloodline.

You don’t hear of us fighting to keep our little patch of land,

we aren’t sitting and waiting for the government to hand us our deed.

It isn’t needed, we believe that home is where family is,

because that’s where our hearts beat strongest,

Like drums in the wind.

I turn to my grandfather cause I believe in him.

I trust that his life wasn’t wasted,

as he tries to make my Aleut life better.

My chief is my shelter, my arms to come home to.

His hands rough and worn from the work he has done.

His back nearly broken, a token of his love, to pass thru the lines.

My Aleut chief made me princess of our Aleut kind.

So when I say I am Aleut, I say it now with pride,

because my grandfathers blood is flowing inside of me.

I feel it’s more than words could ever explain, thru blood, sweat and pain

He made my life better than I could have ever dreamed.

And now I know with each beat of my heart,

what being Aleut means.

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