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Evolution

Buffalo Bill opens a pawn shop on the reservation
right across the border from the liquor store
and he stays open 24 hours a day,7 days a week

and the Indians come running in with jewelry
television sets, a VCR, a full-lenght beaded buckskin outfit
it took Inez Muse 12 years to finish. Buffalo Bill

takes everything the Indians have to offer, keeps it
all catalogues and filed in a storage room. The Indians
pawn their hands, saving the thumbs for last, they pawn

their skeletons, falling endlessly from the skin
and when the last Indian has pawned everything
but his heart, Buffalo Bill takes that for twenty bucks

closes up the pawn shop, paints a new sign over the old
calls his venture THE MUSEUM OF NATIVE AMERICAN CULTURES
charges the Indians five bucks a head to enter.

Submitted: Friday, July 21, 2006
Edited: Wednesday, August 18, 2010


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Comments about this poem (On the Amtrak from Boston to New York City by Sherman Alexie )

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  • Laura Kiernan (2/16/2008 1:03:00 PM)

    Amen, brother. It's not culture if you can buy it for less than you spent on a tank of gas.

    7 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Walter Durk (3/10/2007 6:37:00 PM)

    This is poignant. Right on the head. A sure-fire expression of America and how it has delt with Native Americans, as well as everyone else to this day.

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