an iikaah is a Navajo sand painting, a sacred mandala created to summon the Holy People to fix damage to hozho- the balance of good and evil, which can only be disturbed by ignorant, careless, or evil people.
It has been many years since I have perfomed iikaah
And walked in beauty to the four corners of this piece of soil.
I have sold false paintings to the heavy-footed white men
With the tall white socks, cameras, wide-brimmed hats and burned necks.
But I have not called forth the Holy People for long and long.
As the sun begins to set tonight on the holy western mountain called San Francisco by white men,
I will light a fire and sing until the sky is black and clear and the crescent moon licks at the top of the skytent.
Tomorrow I will walk the corners, inscribing the signs,
Carrying the four sacred stones in my buckskin pouch,
Singing and calling for hozho, the balance that has been disturbed.
"Great Father, Sacred Mother!" I will chant, "Grant this place peace!"
"Restore to my land the balance and the assurance of your protection!"
"Illness has come to my land! Death has come to our family! Come to this place!"
"Here I lay out your sacred figures, the ones you taught us! They are unchanged and pure!"
"These are not the false and pretty pictures we sell to the white men!"
"They come and we sell them our rugs and our pots and our false face and turquoise and they leave!"
"Great Father, Sacred Mother! Your faces have not changed! We keep them sacred!"
"Come across the white path to claim this, our dead brother, away with you!"
"This is iikaah! This is the sacred calling! Come, hear me singing! Hear me sing!"
I will circle the four corners of the iikaah until I am answered, then,
Before the sun sets again, I will have my frenzy. I will sweep away the sands
Into a blanket and release them to the wind to be carried to safety,
To protect the Final World from prying eyes and greedy fingers.
Then, I will sit and I will be at peace and as the sun sets I will light a cigarette and sigh,
And the fire will burn out, and when it is dead, I will know that Altse Hastiin and Altse Asdzaa have visited me with the Holy People,
And they have taken my brother Ashkii Dighin away with them.