As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Charli Fool Bear – #DearNativeYouth Honorable Mention (College)


Long live the brown kids
with dirty feet­­
playing basketball in the street skin beating the ground

like drums in the cool summer nights like the dancers pressing their vitality into the earth.

Long live the powwow princesses­­
Little Miss Powwow’s been eyeing cigarettes.
we can’t speak our language
but I know the word chundi
because the homeless men beg my mother for one every day outside the grocery store

Long live the broken homes with hungry children bingeing at school to make it through the night.

bless their beating hearts and joyful smiles
and souls that grew too old.

Creator, bless the children.
bless the dirt on their noses
and their sun­chapped lips
and the beautiful skin of every shade from snow white to cinnamon.

Long live little Indian children
who know what it means to be addicted and what it means to be

Long live the girls with crosses ‘round their necks and barbed wire around their bodies
to protect themselves
from being the 1 in 3.

Long live the boys who watch their fathers beat their mothers and spend their lives trying
not to become them.

Long live the Indian children
who were told they weren’t human
whose braids were slashed
whose ceremonies were pushed under a colonial rug whose language was beaten away
whose names were burned to ash and caught in the wind who were told to kill the Indian but save the man
who watched their father hang with the Dakota 38­­

but kept dancing anyway.



Charli Fool Bear

Charli Fool Bear is a Yanktonai Dakota from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. She is a theater major at Dartmouth College with a minor in English. Her dream is to integrate theater and creativity more prominently into Native communities in order to improve the mental health of Native youth.

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