QUEER INDIGENOUS GIRL ISSUE 2 Curated/Edited & Cover Art by Se'mana Thompson
CONTACT IG: @misssemee Twitter: @semanathompson Submit: mysterygirl-moongirl.tumblr.com/submit Shop: queerindigenousgirl.etsy.com Published by queer indigenous girl press, O'Otham Jeved, Arizona, United States. Copyright 2016 Se'mana Thompson. All Rights Reserved.
From the Editor by Se'mana Thompson
Yá'át'ééh. Shi éí Se'mana Thompson yinishyé. Kin łichii'nii nishłį dóó bilagáana bashíshchiin. Kiis’áanii dashicheii dóó Naakétł'áhí dashinalí. Ákót'éego diné asdzáán nishłį. Gila River Indian Community dęę' naashá. Hello. I am called Se'mana Thompson. I am of the Red House People (my mother's clan) and I am born for the White People (my father's clan). My maternal grandfather's clan is the Hopi People and my parental grandfather's clan is the Flat Foot People (Pima aka Akimel O'Otham). In this way I am a Navajo woman. I am from the Gila River Indian Community. Añi añ ap che:gig Se'mana. Amjed Gila River. Shamai chuig? Sha chup has wua? My name is Se'mana. I am of Gila River. How are you all? What are you working on? I've introduced myself to you in two of three of my culture's languages - Diné bizaad and O'Otham ñeok. I am the creator & editor of queer indigenous girl, a zine for black, indigenous, people of color (BIPoC) particularly BIPoC who are queer, trans, 2-spirit, nonbinary, disabled, chronically ill and neurodivergent. I identify as a queer femme, disabled, chronically ill, neurodivergent, urban indigenous person. I am a single mother to two black Akimel O'Otham/Hopi/Diné children who also have a zine - Black Indigenous Boy. About the QIG cover: Because I'm chronically ill & disabled, my activism is from home through art, this zine & social media. The front cover depicts a person sitting in a chair wearing a shirt that reads "Protect the sacred" "Muhathag Tho'ag" "Shu:dag od doakag"; Muhathag Tho'ag means greasy mountain which is a sacred place to the O'Otham, Pee Posh & many other
From the Editor by Se'mana Thompson tribes. This mountain is part of our creation stories, songs and is part of who we are. A proposed freeway extension of Loop 202 - will cut through part of the mountain; to do so, part of Muhathag Tho'ag will be blown up. This is like blowing up parts of our bodies. Shu:dag od doakag means "water is life". As an Akimel Otham (river person) even though our river is no longer flowing, I am, we are, still river people - Akimel O'Otham. Water is life is also in reference to what is happening at Standing Rock with Dakota Access Pipeline. The destruction of our lands, water ways & landscapes is the destruction of not only indigenous life ways, but it also means destruction for all human beings & creatures. I am here to reclaim space, to practice being Otham, Hopi, DinĂŠ which means essentially to be a person, a human being. I do this through using O'Otham Ăąeok and art informed by my Otham & Hopi identities. I provide this zine for others to reclaim space & their humanity through words & art. To speak words, to take images and put them into the universe is a sacred act - powerful, healing and balanced. We are all healing, even as we face daily racism, discrimination, the murder of our people, the destruction of our lands & life ways, and the threat we pose just for existing as brown & black bodies. Take care of yourself. Love yourself. Be kind to yourself. Live in this moment and ground yourself. Thank you always for your support. Sape. Much love & respect, Se'mana aka queer indigenous girl
Se'mana Thompson Areli Arellano Alecia Deon Ashanti Marshall Se'mana Thompson Nancy Cardenas Se'mana Thompson Brittanni Billups Isa Benn
Build an Altar Hey Beautiful Brown Girl Resilience Tightrope Meridian Reclaiming Space To Mexico and Back Living with ADHD Depression Two Girl Act Play
Hey Beautiful Brown Girl by Areli Arellano
Hey beautiful brown girl, one day you will learn to love your complexion and hair. You will embrace your culture and your roots. You will no longer be bothered by peers that try to bring you down. You will flourish and be strong, standing against injustice. You will understand your self worth. You will enjoy being exactly who you are. You will develop a hobby into a career. Your hard work ethic instilled by your parents will take you places you never would have dreamed of. They will be proud to call you hija. You will fall in love with your dreams and aspirations. You will be successful. You will be amazing at what you do. You will learn to be. You will learn to be compassionate. To be forgiving. To be encouraging. To be a friend. To be a warrior. Most importantly you will learn to be you. You in your beautiful brown skin, you beautiful brown girl.
Areli Arellano is a Chicana artist currently working on her bachelor of fine arts in studio art & ethnic studies. She has a passion for art education. Her work focuses on Chicanx pride.
Resilience by Alecia Deon Here to confront myself. The self I’ve been hiding from. The self that had her heart broken half way across the world. I became hard. Cold. Unbearable. I took a descent into survival mode. So much so that I barely remember my journey. I can hide from myself as much as I want but I know because these scars remind me daily. The atrophied muscles. Near emaciation. Looking in the mirror was a reminder that I had been to war. Went up to battle a few times and lost. Lost the will to fight for my own life. But won the war and it remains a proven fact that I survived. Deep sobs at midnight and wanderings on why I can’t be freed feeling like laying in a hospital bed for one month took something from me that I’ll never get back. I’ve been love scorned and hurt but nothing had caused an irreparable damage such as this. And that is saying a lot. But I’m here again. Not fully content with life but satisfied with living it the best I can. Seeing myself rise from the ashes I was something remarkable. Something inspiring. Something to sustain me. By any means necessary…I'm a fucking fighter.
Alecia Deon is a Caribbean immigrant living in the United States surviving sickle cell anemia. Her tools of resistance: self-love, writing as activism & artistic expression @msdeonb roseandconcrete.com
Tightrope Meridian by Ashanti Marshall How many steps does it take us to get home? One. One foot in front of the other / outside of comfort, just outside of knowing outside of ourselves. Do we truly come back home? You started as something, you had no clue, no instructions, no guidance for / Nothing but trust Can take you very far back through memory, back through lesson, back into yourself. Kick up dust, let them know you are HERE with your rattling feet and hurricane breath. Beware of the roads into people that quiet your journey. LOOK OUT AND THEN BACK IN.
Ashanti Marshall is a black queer femme digital archivist based in Chicago. Ashanti is the creator of Black Ampersand, a community-driven initiative expressing unapologetic narratives of black queer women. blackampersand.co
Reclaiming Space by Se'mana Thompson 4. Gi'ik: Your name is Se'mana Flower Girl not semana for week or "weak" as teachers allow to believe. 10. Vestma:m: Just because you had to cut your hair because you got a'ach (head lice) doesn't mean you're dirty. 16. Gami Cudp: Beautiful Otham girl you will survive your attempt to leave this world. Do not go! 22. Gokko Go:k: You are 3% of your people to receive a higher education. Be humble, yet proud. 28. Gokko Gigi'ik: As a mother - je'e - & Akimel Otham, you are like waves of the ocean. Sing for strength. 34. Vaikko Gi'ik: It's time to shed your outer layers; it's not you. Cut your hair to mourn. Sit in prayer & light.
For Obvious Reasons Or, For Survival by Se'mana Thompson
1. Hemako: Do not leave strands of your hair around; pick it up and put it in your pocket or, wrap it in a tissue, flush it down the toilet. A witch can take it and try to use it against you. 2. Go:k: Hang up very few pictures in your work space, especially of your children or family members. A witch can take it and try to do harm to them. 3. Vi'ik: Beware of a person shaking your hand for too long as they may be trying to take your breath/energy. 4. Gi'ik: Do not mock death. Do not display/use/wear anything that depicts skeletons. It's harmful to the living & our ancestors.
Nancy Cardenas born in Guadalajara, moved at a young age to San Diego with her family. She was born with Spina Bifida and has used a wheelchair for most of her life. She has an Art degree from SDSU and is currently working on her Masters in Chicanx Studies. She hopes to inspire & empower disabled brown women through art & activism.
Oral Histories with the Thompson Family Living with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by Se'mana Thompson
Se'mana: What's it like living with ADHD? Havani: It reminds me of, me like not feeling well. It makes me have problems, that's why we have a mentor and a therapist. Like, I have problems at school like anger issues. At home, I have anger and anxiety. All these thoughts in my head, it's too much! Se'mana: Why anxiety? Havani: Because at school, I get mad at other kids. At home, I'm a worrier and I can't afford to watch over anger issues. You know how I get anger? I can't stop myself. My anger issues pushes my happy issues to the ground. That's what gives me anxiety. Se'mana: What does mental illness mean to you? Havani: It means like, I feel sick in my head. There's like, it's like being trapped in a dimension and I'm stuck. When it's night time, it's comfy. When I run, my illness falls away, the wind blows it away. ***************************************************** Se'mana: What's it like living with ADHD? Nehemiah: I like it because everybody who has ADHD is nice and helps you. Se'mana: What helps you? Nehemiah: Calm box, stress ball Scoot, coloring books, playing outside, loving my mom. *****************************************************
Oral Histories with the Thompson Family Living with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by Se'mana Thompson
Havani: How's it like to be living with ADHD? Se'mana: Difficult at times. Hard to focus. I lose things a lot. I forget stuff really fast like after you tell me something I don't remember what you said. It's very hard for me to read because I read the same words over and over and don't remember what I read. Havani: How's your blood pressure rising? Se'mana: Usually when you and your brother cannot focus on what I'm saying or giving you directions. Havani: How's it like to be a mother to kids with ADHD? Se'mana: Well, it's interesting. It's tiring but fun. I'm like a kid myself so at least we can laugh together about it. ***************************************************** Se'mana is the creator/editor of queer indigenous girl & editor of Black Indigenous Boy. She is a self-taught artist residing in Glendale, AZ with her two sons & mother. Havani (10) is the co-creator of Black Indigenous Boy & O'Otham Universe Comics. He is a self-taught artist, 4th grader and hopes to one day be a stay-at-home dad, substitute teacher, scientist, & comics artist. Nehemiah (7) is the co-creator of Black Indigenous Boy & O'Otham Universe Comics. He is a comedian, 2nd grader and hopes to one day be a firefighter, sanitation worker, & landscaper.
Depression by Brittanni Billups The deepest sadness is the one without origin, the heavy of your angst weighs on your soul and you buckle in the most emotionally human way. That cloud that sings the same tune to your thoughts. This plague is hereditary. Remembering my mother sip necessarily until she fell into slumbers, my shaking her, wouldn’t budge. I sip necessarily now, and with every bout comes blurry clarity. I squint my eyes and see demons that know me on a cellular level. We negotiate my moods in the morning time before dew hits my window. Your God don’t exist; there is no hero in the sky for you. Those burnt bridges were meaningless. We are all we have, so, I wrote you a letter today, spilling my inner most pity and pleading for mercy that you might spare me a nights rest. That you might gift me ease, only to curse myself for asking. I wrote about our potential bargains, how I would grant you access if you would grant me just 60 seconds of peace, of quiet, of normalcy. I understand your profession, your persistent existence but for only a moment can we part ways? Because I can’t seem to find the reflex that allows for breathing. At first I ran from you, the oil I inhaled as if it made me faster. My attempts to drown you out became routines that amused you and now here I am, pen still clenched as if I have more to say. You will read this and walk away, but I'm left…standing here..with you in mind, stumbling over the rubble you left for me.
Brittanni Billups is a graduate student in social work. She has lived with depression and anxiety her entire life.
Two Girl Act Play by Isa Benn twist and squeeze - the simultaneous motion - slow and pronounced, as thoughtful as you would a citrus fruit or dishrag for her juices. this twist was thorough and clean and cold; this twist set off a motion of life and cells screaming under its weight. Twist, not as delicately as you would a faucet or a door handle - sharper than that - like the gateway to a stubborn garden hose or jail cell sink. this twist would reminisce for days, for months and perhaps, even years. Though its leavings would be microscopic, if not, invisible, it's life would be prolonged in memory and memory and memory. This twist, for now, is punctuation in a sentence and that sentence a part of a paragraph and that paragraph a part of story: young girl and her father; her father and her mother; her mother's mother and the rape that brought them to be. this story began in beauty, in pain, in slave house, on island, landlocked in time, sweet and sea salty chutney on sticky thirteen year old finger, in rhythmic tongue and shame. this story has been homeless and eight years old, cast out by mother and father run away. this story has been shunned and quieted and until now without this sentence. This sentence brought about by a young man and the twisting of his wrists and spasm of muscle as he alarms but not shocks my skin. He is angry and black and young and I suddenly understand everything. Every story ever told and untold. My whole life come together like atoms in the body, like stars in the cosmos; at this time, in this moment I am free and trapped: enlightened by this twist and straight of fate and limb.
Isa Benn is a first generation Toronto native of AfricanCanadian & Caribbean-Canadian descent. Isa is an award-winning screen writer, playwright, filmmaker & multi-media visual artist. isabenn.com