Analyzing the Text
The speaker also describes “black mammy dolls holding white babies.” This imagery directly involving race, furthers the point of power imbalances and mistreatment by various groups by others.
The speaker is implying that the Spanish conquistdors went mad with greed.
The speaker describes DeSoto as mistaken and driven by greed. The Creek are described as very wise, knowing what DeSoto needed better than he knew himself. The Creek are also portrayed as very normal and simple, and not consumed by greed. The descriptions indicate that although DeSoto intended to strip the Creek of treasure, the Creek were smart enough to outwit him.
This imag refers to the trolley car tracks. It relates to the silver blades and crosses because they both represent the onslaught of whites’ progress changing the landscape and the lives of the Creek.
To the speaker, DeSoto represents greed and violence to the Creek. The speaker says that he should have stayed home, and that his heart wasn’t big enough to handle the “New World.” She also refers to him as “mad,” pointing out his overwhelming greed.
The “voices” are a metaphor for Creek culture generally. She describes the voices as “remnants” and “buried in the Mississippi mud” to signify that they have been quieted, or killed. The Creek people and their culture have been literally and figuratively buried by the white people.
The speaker notes that the rocks or earth have a memory, that she has a memory, and that the Creek people have a memory of the tragedy that befell the Creek people. The speaker wishes to convey that the violence and moral wrongs perpetrated against the Creek are still remembered by some. Their story is still being told in the echoes of their “voices.”
The speaker wishes to communicate the idea that New Orleans represents a confluence of many people–their cultures and races. DeSoto is buried in the river, along with the Creek. In addition, New Orleans represents the site of another part of the history of discrimination. The black mammy doll holding the white baby calls to mind the enslavement of blacks by whites.