The following questions are from the book An American Sunrise, Poems by Joy Harjo, an internationally renowned performer (she plays the saxophone) and writer of the Muscogee Creek Nation. She was named Poet Laureate of the United States in 2019.
“FOR THOSE WHO WOULD GOVERN, p. 74
First question: Can you first govern yourself?
Second question: What is the state of your own household?
Third question: Do you have a proven record of community service and compassionate acts?
Fourth question: Do you know the history and laws of your principalities?
Fifth question: So you follow sound principles? Look for fresh vision to lift all the inhabitants of the land, including animals, plants, elements, all who share this earth?
Sixth question: Are you owned by lawyers, bankers, insurance agents, lobbyists, or other politicians, anyone else who would unfairly profit by your decisions ?
Seventh question: Do you have authority by the original keepers of the lands, those who obey natural law and are in the service of the lands on which you stand? “
I found this poem provocative and thought it most fitting for contemplation on this day of commemorating Indigenous Peoples Day.
An American Sunrise : poems/Joy Harjo. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2019.