by Kory Wells

– Letter to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs from Dr. Joseph McDowell, Fairmount, Georgia, October 19th, 1869

The Catawba
  are now in a state
    of poverty. Moved and
      removed. Sold out. Lands

exhausted. Good citizens
  compelled to become
    subservient to the whites.
      Ever peaceable,

anxious to join
  their friends
    west of the Great River.
      Justly entitled.

They have never before
  asked aid
    from their Great Father
      the President.

In all about seventy souls
  in whose behalf I write –
    in what way
      are they to proceed?


Kory Wells is a seventh generation Tennessean whose poetry has previously appeared here on Deep South. She is author of Heaven Was the Moon, a poetry collection from March Street Press, and also performs her poetry on the album Decent Pan of Cornbread, a collaboration with her daughter, old-time musician Kelsey Wells. Twice a finalist for the Rash Award for Poetry, Wells is a mentor in the low-residency program MTSU Write. “Remnant,” a found poem, is from a letter written on behalf of a remnant of native Catawba, descended from the Saponi people, which included her second and third great-grandparents. Follow Wells on Twitter. 

Images of Grace
Forgive Us Our Debts