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QUEER INDIGENOUS GIRL QUEER INDIGENOUS GIRL ISSUE 5 Curated/Edited & Cover Art by Se’mana Thompson CONTACT IG: @misssemee Twitter: @QueerIndgnsGirl Website: semanathompson.weebly.com Published by queer indigenous girl press, O’Otham Jeved, Arizona, United States. Copyright 2017 Se’mana Thompson. All Rights Reserved.




be insecure in peace. allow yourself lowness. know that it is only a country on the way to who you are. - traveling ~nayyirah waheed~ It’s been a year since I published the first issue of queer indigenous girl which started out as a perzine; after that the zine became submission-based with contributions from 5-15 queer & disabled artists of color each issue. While this zine series has provided a space for many, it’s time for me to travel in a different direction; as of this issue, queer indigenous girl is no longer. Although I won’t carry QIG zines in my shop, all issues are available to read for free at issuu.com/queerindigenousgirl. I’ll continue to sell zines at zine fests and other events as well as distribute to select distros and libraries. I hope to one day archive and make available on my distro website audio and image descriptions of QIG writings and visual art. So what’s in the works for me? I started a new zine - Decolonizing P@ renting, a zine by & for queer parents of color - and my very first comic, queerballs. I’m still going to keep queer indigenous girl in the form of a podcast (which I hope to air the first episode by end of summer 2017) and a small zine distro. Thank you to everyone who has made everything possible including contributors, readers, patreon subscribers, those who’ve made donations, friends and family. Sape. Se’mana aka queer indigenous girl



TABLE OF CONTENTS ISSUE 5 Heather C. Lou Heather C. Lou Heather C. Lou Anjulie Te Pohe A.J. Hayes Kathryn Johnston Lenora Sam Hill Sam Hill Jae Sharnya Tileiya Brenda Eman Khan Veronica Saucedo Thierry J. Benson

Father Betrayal You You You Culture = Me = Culture = Me Don’t Touch Me Untitled My Head is So Clear Beyond the Pines Untitled Young Dream Reader Our Sacred Spaces Lisa-Kaindé Diaz y yo Exhausted Spirit No More Fears Untitled


Father by Heather C. Lou/@hclou we lost each other when you watched my mother sit on top of me and hold me down to raise her fists to beat me her frail hands fell like lead to my body as i tried to break free struggle you said “you deserved it” i packed my things and left home panicked, confused i could never trust you again how could you be so fond of a person full of so much hate the kind that has been embedded deeply in her dna so much that i likely live the legacy of such trauma my sister once told me i was “too angry that i was full of hatred” she never talked to me again except for a message that declined the invitation to my wedding the convenient amnesia remembering to forget my existence must be exhausting i haven’t spoken to you, or my mother, or my sister, or my mother’s brother since that day the wound and betrayal is deep i cried for days couldn’t get out of bed grief over the living is a tragedy haunted by the ghost of relatives that have declared you dead when your heart still pumps blood through your veins longing for truce praying for forgiveness forgiving myself for escaping and isolating for my own healing and care maybe i should take responsibility for recognizing that i am worth much more than conditional love and threats we lost each other maybe i lost you maybe i found myself maybe i will be okay



Betrayal by Heather C. Lou/@hclou the convenient amnesia remembering to forget my existence must be exhausting i haven’t spoken to you since that day the wound and betrayal is deep grief over the living is a tragedy haunted by the ghost of relatives that have declared you dead when your heart still pumps blood through your veins


You You You by Heather C. Lou/@hclou stop and take a deep breath you you you are worth it you you you are magic you you you are enough



Culture = Me = Culture = Me by Anjulie Te Pohe/@AnjulieWrites Pull eye from socket tongue from mouth heart from rib-cage foot from leg And leave me without sight speech breath or feeling Lay out all of my stolen parts scrub peel cut whiten And slap a price tag on each one You make money from my pain while I’m left lying here numb waiting for the next cut


Don’t Touch Me by A.J. Hayes/@ajh_books Assault is an invasion upon my sacred self; a declaration of war against my sovereign nation. Do not touch me. I will retaliate.



Untitled by Kathryn Johnston/@kittenhumyn I. We are amateur detectives posing as wanderers because we don’t want to be let down and disappointed by what we do or don’t find. We don’t belong to anyone but each other. We have scraps of paper, ripped photos, secrets buried so deep we wonder if the events really happened or if we just made them up. We are aimless, but steady. Devoted to each other and preserving our small lives and our stories...the ones we don’t feel ashamed to tell each other. II. Uncle Peewee tells us how he and his friend would get out of school on Friday afternoons and plant rows of onions for weekend spending money to go to the closest big town 76 miles away and buy a six pack of beer. III. Mamá tells us about getting in trouble at school and running all the way home to tell her mom about the vile ways of her racist teachers. She tells us about the time she was locked in a hotel room by her abusive alcoholic fiance and had to climb out the window to escape...into the arms of my white airman father. She tells us about the time she took a young Uncle Leon for a ride on her bicycle handlebars, only to crash and give herself a broken wrist. IV. Papá tells us about walking the streets of Houston and Corpus Christi, looking for work, as a 14 year old. He also tells us about the time his friend gave him a special brownie while working the fields and how he tried to hide his buzz from Grandma. V. Grandma tells us how she knew Papá was acting funny that day and how they were so poor when she was growing up that she would hunt rabbits for them to eat. Before she died, she told me how strange it was to think of she used to shoot, kill, and eat these rabbits because now when she sees a bunny in the yard, she can’t imagine shooting something so cute. VI. They all talk about the way mi abuelita or Lil G as we used to call her, would smoke cigarettes, but never inhale, leaving a long ash dangling, much to the annoyance of my great grandfather, who I never met. VII. Every story that elicits a laugh from the mangly bunch that is my family usually marked by a sadder inner truth housed in the gut, away from the heart. We laugh as often as we can and when we can’t laugh, we sigh and say “Lord, have mercy” and try to only shed tears when we are alone.

ISSUE 5 Our voices croak, but we keep going, keep moving forward because we have no concrete ties to the past. We exist now and that’s all we know. VIII. We didn’t know other Chicanos primarily ate tortillas maiz and that we are thought to be imitating los gueros by eating flour tortillas. We didn’t know we were complicit in anti-blackness, only ever learning that we should fear each other and that the more white-passing we were, the more likely we would be “to make it.” We didn’t know that one day, we would all thirst for the knowledge of who we are, who we were, where we come from. IX. We wonder if we grew out of the dirt, were weeds that didn’t get ripped out of the soil by the root; stubborn as hell, bitter, and relentless. We are sick, we are addicted to sugar and salt and the carbs that house them, suffering the consequences of having no ties to our theoretical motherland and eating habits learned from milpa. X. We drink or we smoke or we dance to drown the trauma and sometimes it works and we laugh till our bellies hurt and most of the time it doesn’t, so we sit quietly and pray to a g-d that we aren’t sure believes in us.



My Head is So Clear by Lenora/@nopallady

My head is so clear here I feel so safe here I come here often to clear the chaos The panic in my thoughts is calm here Soap, water, more water, more soap Rinse My hands are like sand paper and I don’t care because you don’t worry about holding hands much when you have OCD I don’t often worry about finding someone to hold my hand OCD sounds so neat and clean so “organized” It’s nice and packaged and comes in an abbreviation So people often assume OCD is a clean anxiety disorder OCD can be a prison, it’s that nagging gut feeling that something bad is going to happen, amplified with a bull horn It is screaming louder than your frustrated mother It’s louder than the noise from the party It’s louder than the doctor tell you, “We’ll start with 25 mg now and see how your system reacts” Be patient with yourself...



Quiero lavar mi mente Como me lavo las manos The day will come when this will be less of who I am “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and walks of life and occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress.� - International OCD Foundation iocdf.org/about-ocd/



Beyond the Pines by Sam Hill/@TurtleMohawk You buried me beneath the Earth A silent suffocation beneath the dirt Now I see what you truly are a blanket of snow to hide the scars You took me far from all I should’ve known to a place where my heart now feels alone Lay me down in the sand on the beaches Push me out to the water that surrounds You’ve stolen parts of me that I didn’t know that I would need just to feel whole And as I wonder the unknown I wonder if my heart would ever feel at home You tried to bury me beneath the earth A silent suffocation that didn’t work Now I see you for what you truly are A devastating snowstorm to hide the scars Lay me down in the sand on the beaches push me out to the water that surrounds Let me lay beneath the quiet of the waves the chaos of the current to unlearn the mess you made



Untitled by Sam Hill/@TurtleMohawk



Young Dream Reader by Jae


Our Sacred Spaces by Sharnya Tileiya/@tileiya



Lisa-Kaindé Diaz y yo by Brenda/@clearestblues


Exhausted Spirit by Eman Khan/@punnysamosa



No More Fears by Veronica Saucedo/@yayasaladito


Untitled by Thierry J. Benson/@thierryj.benson




HEATHER C. LOU (she/her/hers) is an angry gemini earth dragon, multiracial, asian, queer, cisgender, womxn of color based in Minneapolis, MN. Her mixed media pieces include watercolor, acrylic, gold paint pen, oil pastel, radical love, & hope. Each piece comments on the intersections of her racial, gender & sexual identites, as they continue to shift and develop in complexity each day. Her art is a form of healing, transformation, and liberation, rooted in womxnism and gender equity through a racialized borderland lens. ANJULIE TE POHE is the founder of Koru Mag and is currently studying a BA in English and Creative Writing and Screen Production. Anjulie is Takatāpui (Māori and bi/queer). A.J. HAYES is the author of over twenty books & chapbooks of poetry, fiction and fantasy (as A. Jarrell Hayes). He invites you to visit his website at ajhayes.com. KATHRYN JOHNSTON is a Tejanx illustrator, poet and information science student living with rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and chronic migraines. LENORA, Oaxaquena and Mixteca, has lived with anxiety, depression & dyslexia. She collects troll dolls and creates to help cope with anxiety. SAM HILL (she/her/they) is Kanien’kehá:ka registered in Six Nations of the Grand River. They are a musician (under the name Good Morning Hellen) and an artist. They are gender nonbinary and queer. JAE (she/they), is a two spirit Black Indigenous Girl haunting the middle of nowhere in NE Ohio. Check out their written work at anejea.wordpress. com, their art & charms at work etsy.com/shop/GalipotShop and their witchy stuff at thephilosopherwitch.tumblr.com.


ISSUE 5 EMAN KHAN is a punny, disabled South Asian who constantly tweets and blogs on punnysamosa.com on intersectionality, ableism, and clearing up misconceptions about Islam. She is also invested in making memes, photography, and writing essays and poetry. The artwork that goes with the haiku is Eman’s first attempt at drawing on her new tablet. BRENDA (she/her) is a queer afro-mestiza teen from the suburbs of Los Angeles with strong roots in Boyle Heights. SHARNYA TILEIYA is an Afro-Indigenous woman of multiple cultures and is currently residing in South Carolina. She often speaks of her experience as a Black WoC with a multi-ethnic background and is brutally honest about her upbringing/life such as this. VERONICA SAUCEDO is a queer xicana from Tacoma and is waiting for the clouds to stop blocking the sun. THIERRY J. BENSON was born in Haiti, but raised in Canada. Finding his passion in the arts, he studied in fine art photography at Concordia University as well as commercial photography at Dawson College in Montreal, CAN. His focus is on shooting intimate life moments, as well as depicting an entire story with only one picture. Currently living in Montreal, he often travels to meet new people and discover new places.


Profile for Se'mana Thompson

queer indigenous girl issue 5  

queer indigenous girl issue 5