At Navajo Monument
Valley Tribal School
from the photograph by Skeet McAuley
the football field rises
to meet the mesa. Indian boys
gallop across the grass, against
the beginnings of their body.
On those Saturday afternoons,
unbroken horses gather to watch
their sons growing larger
in the small parts of the world.
Everyone is the quarterback.
There is no thin man in a big hat
writing down all the names
in two columns: winners and losers.
This is the eternal football game,
Indians versus Indians. All the Skins
in the wooden bleachers fancydancing,
stomping red dust straight down
into nothing. Before the game is over,
the eighth-grade girls' track team
comes running, circling the field,
their thin and brown legs echoing
wild horses, wild horses, wild horses.
Poetry Extension: Read slowly twice, pay particular
attention to the verbal queus exhibited in the sentence structure and the line breaks.
Break the class into groups for a choral reading. Each group has a designated reader which can be alternated
with subsequent readings. It is important that the readings flow so everyone must pay attention and be ready to read. Let
the students decide which words to emphasize through voice or action as they read aloud. For example, some will choose,
"stomping" some will run the words "wild horses, wild horses, wild horses" together or whisper them.
Follow up with a local Native American presenter. The local tribe can be contacted ahead of time to request
someone willing to speak to teens. If the speaker is a poet or an author, invite them to share their work. Make sure to verify
ahead of time if they are willling to answer questions.
In preparation for the visit have the class research the history of this tribe. Have each child prepare
one question, checking to make sure they are not duplicates or offensive. A preparatory talk on manners and appropriate audience
behavior is always a good idea when having a visiting speaker.
After the visit have the students write thank you notes and enclose poetry if they so choose on what they
gained from the talk.