Buffalo Bill opens a pawn shop on a reservation
right across the border from the liquor store
and he stays open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
And the Indians come running in with jewelry
television sets, a VCR, a full-length beaded buckskin outfit
it took Inez Muse 12 years to finish.
Buffalo Bill takes everything the Indians have to offer, keeps it
all catalogued and filed in a storage room.
The Indians pawn their hands, saving their thumbs for last, they pawn.
Their skeletons, falling endlessly from the skin
and when the last Indian has pawned everything
but his heart, Buffalo Bill takes that for twenty bucks
Closes up the pawn shop, paints a new sign over the old,
calls his venture THE MUSEUM OF NATIVE AMERICAN CULTURES
charges Indians five bucks a head to enter.
-Sherman Alexie, Spokane and Coeur D’Alene poet, 1992