Fayce Hammond – One Genealogy for De/Colonization

Fayce Hammond

One Genealogy for De/Colonization


born a light
brown ball         head full
of dark hair

my great-grandmother approved
that’s an Indian baby

an exclamation
her first great-
grandchild didn’t receive

for all his pale
& blond
& blue eye


by the time I was six,
my skin was no longer
hair light

I am told this happens sometimes
with mixed kids
a constant fist-fight
between gene
and bloodline


there is a picture
of my great-grandmother
in line
with her 3rd grade class

a boarding school

it floats around in history textbooks
the children      unnamed
braids                 snipped
around identical bowls

              cut           off

during high school history class
perhaps I saw it
before I knew better
thumbed over her face
before flipping to the next
sterilized tragedy

her joyless mouth
a violent after-picture


I have always been mistaken
for not my father’s child
our skin taken as the usual measure

I am told this happens often
with mixed kids
all this misrecognition


my grandmother’s grandfather
was born on the trail of tears

life crying out
in the face of death

for at least six generations
removal has been bred into our bloodline


my mother says when I was born
my nose lay flat

like my grandmother’s

my mother prayed
              (& prayed)
it would shape up
              (& away)

desperate to pretty-up
my small face

I am told this happens often
to mixed kids
hand-selecting what the breeding didn’t complete


for years
after her schooling
my great-grandmother
used to lie
called her skin anything
but Indian

the Chickasaw
off her mouth


once on an online NDN forum
I saw the post
blue eyes & blond hair is colonization

they aren’t wrong

there are people who would say
I came out of the right end of the gene pool

they aren’t wrong

I move incognito
white until proven otherwise
              by my father
              by my blood card
              by my own mouth
a shock that forces misreaders to mutter
about seeing indigeneity somewhere in my face

removal was bred into our bloodline

most people forget
most hope I forget

I used to           I remember now


I don’t know when my great-grandmother
remembered our family history

when she built herself up
away from white hands

I never knew the woman
beat into erasure
but I do not doubt her

her survival unsilenced
a refusal to stay buried
her cheeky claim
of a light-skin mixed baby
an announcement her blood is here
to stay

so we stay
and stay

tongues at the ready
to lay down reminders
teeth sharp
in case no one listens


Fayce Hammond (they/them) is a fat, queer, Chickasaw poet currently living in Columbus, Ohio. Fayce has a master’s degree from The Ohio State University in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. They are a co-founder of the Columbus Queer Open Mic and Social and value community building. They recently founded a poetry journal that holds particular space for emerging voices called Ink&Nebula. You can find more of their work in The Fem Literary Magazine, Crab Fat Magazine, and Muzzle Magazine.

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