A letter to my Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandmother, Barro Inken

by CS Glessner. (Barro Inken is my Native American ancestor.)

Sometimes I see your face in dancing flames as smoke curls upward to the moon. Sometimes I feel your presence as I sprawl alone on the damp forest floor, soaking up the energy of trees. If you could join me, we would talk long into the night.

Traditions handed down tell me you were a Lenni Lenape, born in 1742, a native of this land. Was it you who gave me a deep reverence for Earth Mother? Was it you who opened my eyes to the million colors in the sunset, or my nose to the subtle essence of a wildflower? Was it your genes that make me seek quite space, self-sufficiency, and connectedness with the great beyond?

Your tribe faced endless hardships as white settlers pushed you to move farther westward from your eastern shore homelands. As quickly as treaties were drawn, they broke their promises and those you loved were murdered.

I would like to know why you married a German, and joined a culture so unlike your own.
in 28 years on this earth, what influenced your life the most, what gave you the most satisfaction, what was your driving force?

White people called you a Delaware, and thought your tribe cared little for political and military affairs. it is said your world was dreamlike, a blend of spirituality and reality that prevailed as you farmed and hunted to fulfill bodily needs.

Are you the reason I surround myself with antlers bleached white with the sun, feathers dropped by the sky creatures and rocks that call out to me? Is this lineage why I lie on my back and gaze at the endless pointing out of an indigo night or join in a chorus of wolves howling across a valley?

There are so many unanswered questions, so many drawn conclusions. When you died, most of your secrets were committed to the soil with you, but even though no one was there to write your story, take heart, Grandmother, your blood courses on..

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