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Mrs. McKeown's Poetry
Native American Poet

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Empty Kettle

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Introduction:
What part of native American life is this poem talking about. Read the poem twice and then discuss the question with the class.

I do not waste what is wild
I only take what my cup
can hold.
When the black kettle gapes
empty
and children eat roasted acorns
only,
it is time to rise-up early
take no drink-eat no food
sing the song of the hunter.
I see the Buck - I chant
I chant the deer chant:
"He-hebah-Ah-kay-kee-no!"
My arrow, no woman has ever touched,
finds its mark.
I open the way for the blood to pour
back to Mother Earth
the debt I owe.
My soul rises - rapturous
and I sing a different song,
I sing,
I sing.
-- Louis (Little Coon) Oliver --

From Celebrate America in Poetry and Art, published by the Smithsonian Institution, 1994.

Extension:
Have the students write a poem about some aspect of native American life and illustrate their poem.