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On the Zuni Reservation, we stop to shop
at the “All Tribe Trading Post.”
Nick offers us a cup of coffee.
He is slick and slimy.
His girlfriend sits behind the register,
polishing her long nails,
smiling pretty for the customers.
They are obviously not Native Americans.

We ask about a small Zuni fetish.
The white and brown bear is carved from quartz.
The sun god symbol,
created from turquoise, mother of pearl and coral,
is attached to the stone.
Polished to perfection,
it shines in the display case.

We ask, “What does this fetish cost?
He answers, “$125”,
but for you, including tax and four free arrowheads, $100.
We buy it, walk out, and get into the car.
We watch a man who had been carving stones in the parking lot,
walk through the back door.
He gives Nick a bag full of his life.
Nick hands him a $5 bill.

This ancient art of exploitation
is handed down from father to son.
Its mouth is agape like a hungry child.
Its eyes are opened wide in begging posture.
Its paws are outstretched in prayer position.
A small cross is embedded in the heart line.