When They First Came

When they first came it was 1619. My people and I didn’t know how to respond. Bringing with them animals and weapons we’d never seen before. It felt as though we were being introduced to a whole new world. And in a way, I guess we were. Faces more pale than any I’d ever seen. ┬áPanic began to set in throughout my village. As chief, I needed to calm by people. But how was I supposed to do that when I couldn’t even calm myself?

When they first came we attempted diplomacy. The hope that this could be a peaceful relationship was short lived. The diplomacy lasted until the rumors began. Rumors of innocent people being kidnapped in the dead of night. Chaos and confusion soon engulfed my kingdom. I felt as helpless as a newborn child. Talk of a new world across “the pond.” A nation that needed “slaves” for farming. All these new words, this whole new language. What did these pale faces want from my people and I?

When they first came how was I supposed to know my whole life was going to change? Soon my kingdom had all but evaporated. What was a chief without his people? All of my people had either disappeared or run away with the fear of being the next to go. And honestly, I couldn’t blame them. When I went to sleep that night, I could feel that my days were numbered. When they first came there was fear and hope. When I felt the pale faces awaken me in the night and shackle me to strange dark skinned people, that once present hope was no longer there. Perhaps that fear was gone as well. As we were loaded onto a boat, surrounded by pale faces and shackled like animals, all I felt was shame. Shame that I couldn’t save my people. Shame that I couldn’t save myself. Would I be shackled for the rest of life? How was I to know everything was going to change so drastically?

Why did I let this happen? I should have stopped them when they first came.