NativeTech: Native American Technology and Art ~ Poems & Stories

Little Two-Hands, Talking


Ted Wilburn

Ode to Nancy Jane Martindale
A Cherokee speaks secrets
from her final resting place

Nancy Jane, to me so dear

Many moons ago you lived, I hear.

The gloves you wore.... a little pair,

Were left for me with a lock of hair.

In our family bible.... Psalm thirty-five

I found your hands. Theyíre alive.... Alive!

So carefully cut from paper with knife

They speak of you, my people, your life.

Around the thumb and fingers and wrist,

The paper you cut and wrote a list.

Not a style that is so easily read,

But in "skin language" for us you said

Your Indian mother was Cherokee.

You speak in truth. I see.... I see!

Many things with Little Hands you tell

So honor our family Iíll try to do well.

The way of the Cherokee for me was lost

In the passing of many moons, many frosts.

You tell about walking the Trail of Tears

With our family those dreadful years.

Written above Psalm 35, in my search I came

To find W. H. Haynes, a white man's name.

A reference to enemies who raise their hand

Against people who lived in peace in the land.

Long I had searched records in white manís lands,

Only to find what I needed was in your Little Hands,

How many you were and your status in life,

Your brothers, sisters, father, his wife.

The record you left me is a valuable treasure

So dear to my heart, has brought me much pleasure.

You left us a great legacy with your Little Hand

And I pass it on to Terri W. Martindale of our band.

To leave it with my daughter, I feel that I must

And praise the Great Spirit, the one I trust.

It surely was He who showed your secrets to me,

And led me to the one who could open them, I see.

I trust your sweet spirit has found eternal rest

With The Great Spirit forever in His Heavenly nest.


Nancy Jane Martindale
Date of birth - 27 July 1867
Date of death ń unknown

Sister of Julia Ann Martindale
Daughter of James Martindale
and Julia Ann Page.
Aunt of T. R. Wilburn
Great-aunt of:
Ted Wilburn (this author)

Genealogy as recorded in my:
1853 BIBLE

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