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Native American Focus Issue

volume 29 | number 2 | spring/summer 2013 | $10.00


Deriving from the German weben—to weave—weber translates into the literal and figurative “weaver” of textiles and texts. Weber (the word is the same in singular and plural) are the artisans of textures and discourse, the artists of the beautiful fabricating the warp and weft of language into ever-changing pattterns. Weber, the journal, understands itself as a tapestry of verbal and visual texts, a weave made from the threads of words and images.

Listening For Native Voices In Weber’s Fall 1995 issue, the Cherokee/Creek critic and novelist Louis Owens addressed the vicissitudes of language and voice for Native writers and the ongoing effects of colonialism and cultural appropriation. To illustrate his point, Owens shared a story from his childhood in which he and a friend would keep crows as pets. Owens related that his friend eventually grew discontent with the glib caws and games they both played with their crows. His friend’s father told him that “to make crows speak human words it was necessary to split their tongues with a sharp knife.” Desperate to communicate with the crows, the boy followed his father’s instruction, “but strangely they never Zig Jackson did learn to talk.” Instead, the crows “appeared to lose even the joy of crow talk and seemed to become sullen and resentful.” After this, Owens admitted that those would be the last crows that he was to keep, and he offered the experience with the crows as a parallel to that of Native writers striving to articulate their ideas, and to shed insight on the relationship formed with readers and critics yearning to understand the “other.” When Owens wrote his essay, Native writers were engaged in a struggle for respect and recognition, as they sought to reclaim their own stories, which had been rendered silent in the wake of centuries of oppression. In the nearly two decades since, a new generation of Native writers have emerged to extend and redefine the contours of Native American literary production. This special issue is conceived and intended to honor Owens’ contributions to Native American literature. At the same time, it bridges the work of two generations by providing a venue for the expression of their own creative visions as they relate to the literary act of reclaiming and redefining the American West. While we have focused on Native writers and artists who address this geographic concern, we seek to do so in the broadest and most inclusive way. This has encouraged us to include what we hope is a diverse and vibrant sampling of contemporary Native writing and art that is aesthetically innovative and thought-provoking, while challenging conventional expectations. The storytellers, writers, and artists included within these pages reflect the diversity of Native American expression through prose, poetry, fiction, photography and painting. As evidenced by the work of Simon Ortiz, Gerald Vizenor, Frances Washburn, Zig Jackson and Ryan Singer, among others, they have contributed not to define, codify, or exclude, but to simply and humbly give voice and testify to the author or artist’s own unique way of seeing. In the aggregate, their work helps map the geographic and ideological boundaries of the American West. Front Cover: Ryan Singer, Chief Sitting Bull, 2005.

--Billy J. Stratton and Michael Wutz


volume 29 | number 2 | Spring/summer 2013 | $10.00

Fiction EDITOR

4 Laura Tohe, The Legend of Sleepy Rock

Michael Wutz Billy J. Stratton, University of Denver

48 Duane Niatum, The One Who Dreams of Honey More than Bee or Bear

ASSOCIATE EDITORS

63 Frances Washburn, Scenic Fourth of July—1967

Kathryn L. MacKay Brad Roghaar Russell Burrows Victoria Ramirez

82 Tom Holm, Anadarko—A Kiowa County

MANAGING EDITOR

Mystery

Kristin Jackson

120 Stephen Graham Jones, Nightfall

EDITORIAL BOARD

124 Gerald Vizenor, Roman Beaks

Guest co-editor

EDITORIAL PLANNING BOARD

143 Simon Ortiz, Rhetoric of Continuity Story Upon Story, Story Within Story, Story On-Going, Story On and On and On

ART 51  Zig Jackson, Tribal Photographs in a New Light— Reframing Hollywood and the American Imaginary 99  Ryan Singer, Punk, Pop, and Sci-Fi—The New Look of Native American Art

Essay 14 Simon Ortiz and Gabriele M. Schwab, History as a Memory and War as an “Escape” 34 Dorothy Brooks, Fickle Friend, the Wind—Trying to Blend in on the Rez 74 Gerald Vizenor, Genome Survivance 110 Sanja Runtic, Reimagining the Frontier in Louise Erdrich’s Tracks

Bradley W. Carroll John R. Sillito Brenda M. Kowalewski Michael B. Vaughan Angelika Pagel

135 Edward Welch, Oscar Howe’s Wounded Knee Massacre and the Politics & Popular Culture of an American Masterpiece

ADVISORY COMMITTEE

150 Billy J. Stratton, Towards a Heteroholistic Approach to Native American Literature

Meri DeCaria Elaine Englehardt Shelley L. Felt G. Don Gale Mikel Vause

Barry Gomberg John E. Lowe Aden Ross Robert B. Smith

Brandon Pillazo

EDITORS EMERITI

Brad L. Roghaar Sherwin W. Howard Neila Seshachari

Ryan Singer..........................97

Poetry 24 Byron Aspaas, Children of the Earth and other poems 43 Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Wealth and other poems

LAYOUT CONSULTANTS

Mark Biddle

Zig Jackson.............................49

`

Susan Clark, Eastern Sierra Institute Katharine Coles, U of Utah Gary Gildner, independent author Duncan Harris, U of Wyoming Diana Joseph, Minnesota State U Nancy Kline, independent author & translator James A. MacMahon, Utah State U Fred Marchant, Suffolk U Madonne Miner, Weber State U Felicia Mitchell, Emory & Henry College Julie Nichols, Utah Valley State College Tara Powell, U of South Carolina Bill Ransom, Evergreen State College Walter L. Reed, Emory U Scott P. Sanders, U of New Mexico Daniel R. Schwarz, Cornell U Andreas Ströhl, Goethe-Institut Munich James Thomas, editor and writer Robert Torry, U of Wyoming Robert Van Wagoner, independent author Melora Wolff, Skidmore College Delia Konzett, U of New Hampshire Kerstin Schmidt, Universität Eichstätt

Gerald Vizenor...........72 &122

LaVon Carroll Nikki Hansen

Editorial matter continued in back

86 Julieta Luevano, Sacagwea: Translator and other poems 96 Sherwin Bitsui, The Hovering 97 Luci Tapahonso, Hanezbaa’ Wolye 153 Frances Washburn, How Deep the Water

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Reading the WEst

Frances Washburn.....61 & 151


F I C T I O N

Laura Tohe

The Legend of Sleepy Rock

Laura Tohe Crystal, New Mexico, August 2009.

E

lmer Geishtein craned his neck around the opening of the door as he stood on the last step of the Greyhound bus before stepping down into the mountain town of Flagstaff, Arizona. He slung his black and green backpack over his shoulder and followed the other passengers into the terminal. The smell of the pine trees brought back memories of his family trip to the Southwest when he was a child. Astonished that he could still smell the natural world, having lived in the eastern cities and abroad all his life, he took it as a hopeful sign. His one brief sojourn to the Southwest took place when his parents loaded him and his sister in their blue Edsel to drive to the Grand Canyon. That was just before his father backed up the car without closing the rear door. The elm tree that grew near the driveway took it off and left it bent like a broken wing of a sparrow. The trip took nearly twice as long, because his mother, nervous that there would be no bathrooms in the desert, made her husband stop at every gas station believing it would be the last for hundreds of miles. She shooed the children into the cement enclosures, some without lights, to empty their bladders. The mother’s nervousness made the children edgy, and by the time they’d arrived at the South Rim, the parents' nerves were frazzled from trying to keep him and his sister away from each other and occupied with car games. When they reached the Bright Angel Inn, the mother was glad for the run to the bathroom to get more than a pee-pee relief. Elmer didn’t mind taking the bus from Phoenix to Flagstaff. From


there he planned to hitchhike across the high desert to the Navajo reservation of Tsaile, Arizona, where he’d enrolled for summer classes at Diné College. Ever since he’d clicked onto the DC website, it was all he could think of to get him through the hoop-jumping, carrot-at-theend-of-the-stick tenure. This was his ticket to a promotion and a name carved for him in the journals of academia. His college had funded his proposal to study indigenous language and cultural life ways. He promptly bought his tickets and a pair of sturdy hiking boots and began making plans. With his backpack and a shoulder bag dangling on his wiry frame, he made his way downtown. He’d outgrown the acne years but his body seemed to forget to fill in no matter how much he ate. “You must have hollow legs,” his mother would say, as she plopped more meatloaf and balls of mashed potatoes cradling a bowl of gravy into his plate. Then she’d quickly add, “just be glad you have a high metabolism,” to make him feel better in the glove of his awkward body that protruded in all directions like tree branches. If he’d had grace and agility, he might have made his high school basketball team, but such blessings were withheld from him. “Eeky geeky” his high school classmates called him. College wasn’t much better, where he failed to entice young women for coffee and dates. So he buried himself in the pages of National Geographic and Natural History. Indians and Aborigines consumed his imagination in graduate school. He’d return from the library loaded with stacks of books and read the latest migration theories, including Turner’s theory on cannibalism. “Come hell or high water, I’ll make my mark,” he promised himself. He found an espresso café downtown, which surprised him. He’d expected to find a greasy spoon, or some little diner his family had eaten in, or at best a McDonald’s. As he sipped on an American Blend, he poured over the Arizona map routing out the best hitchhiking path that would take him to his golden, tenured future. He’d checked out scads of Navajo Nation websites, one of which warned him to drink plenty of water and that hitchhiking was legal on the rez. No problemo, he thought, as he started down Highway 66 toward the turnoff to Winona and to places that danced brightly in his imagination. When the old Chevy pickup rumbled to a stop ahead of him, he wasn’t sure if it was for him or not. Not until the woman in front turned to look at him from the rear window did he snap to. The two bottles of water he drank sloshed in his belly, as he ran to the driver’s side to ask how far they were going. He was overjoyed that it was two Indian women elders, his first encounter. Unsure that she might not understand English, he pulled out the map and pointed to himself, then to Tsaile. Then he pointed to her and then the map. The woman laughed and said in plain English. “We’re going as far as Bidahochee.” She pointed to herself and to the dot on the map, thinking he might be deaf or mute, in which case she would feel even sorrier for him. He felt foolish as he plunked himself down near a bale of scratchy alfalfa opposite

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F I C T I O N the curious sheep who eyed him like he was another main course for the nidáá’ ceremony they were on their way to. “Fort Wingatedi ‘ííníshta’ yęędáá’shiband teacher Bilagáana hastiin ´ ˛ ˛ I had at Fort Wingate, said Ruth, noolnin.” He looks like the band teacher who rode shotgun and peered at the creature her sister had just picked up like he was on display in the primate cage at the zoo. “Haadęę’ shá’ yigáł ya’?” From where do you suppose he walks? asked ’ ’ she˛pulled back onto the highway. Marjorie, as “Hóla. Binii’shí ałtso dochííł.” I don’t know. His face, I suppose, will ˛ turn all red. “Dibé biyaa hadoolyíís lágo.” The sheep, I hope he doesn’t scare them. Besides that she felt sorry for him, Marjorie was worried that the balding tire might not hold out. She planned on the young Bilagáana man changing it for them. “Old Indian trick” her granddaughter would call it. She was also looking for another sheepherder. “Na’niłkaad daats’í yéhosin?” Maybe he knows how to herd sheep? Marjorie asked. The sisters laughed at the notion that this young Bilagáana man might know how to tend sheep, let alone live as an earthy, ch’izhii Navajo. “Hóla. Diné Collegego shí jidéézyá.” I don’t know. Perhaps he walks ˛ as she rolled the window down a few to Diné College, answered Ruth, more inches to catch the breeze. “Shí.” “Bilagáana t’óó ‘ahayóí’áadi da’ółta. Ła’ t’óó nihaadaané ˛ ˛ ˛ attend school over there. Some interdazlíí." "Most likely. Many White people ˛˛ and just became our in-laws, proclaimed Marjorie. married The fact is that this soon to be red-faced man had lived all over the world, across the oceans and back. Two years in Germany, a year in Turkey, a year in Georgia and Washington, D.C., then back to Europe, and finally his family ended up in the U.S. His father spent his career in the military packing and unpacking his family hither and yonder. Finally, his mother talked his father into staying put in Kentucky, where she hoped to resuscitate herself from the years of rearranging her life on foreign shelves. After Elmer graduated from high school he continued the itinerant life that his father modeled for him. He changed majors and colleges almost every year to his parents’ dismay. One evening he happened to change the channel to a documentary on the Sun Dagger narrated by Robert Redford. The documentary thrilled him and the next semester he enrolled in Archeology 101. He took copious notes, attended every lecture, and waited outside the professor’s office door for office hours to begin. He was like a pelican picking at every morsel to fill his pouch of curiosity. Women continued to elude him. The sisters dropped him off near the junction at Bidahochee and gave him directions to get to Ganado. “Keep going northeast or you’ll end up in Hopi,” Marjorie added. She hoped he knew which way was north. Elmer said thank you and waved at the sisters, as Marjorie steered

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the truck back onto the highway, the sheep still curiously looking at him. On the first day of Navajo Philosophy class, Elmer sat behind a desk in the heart of Navajo country with his notebook and pen ready to take notes. He crossed his legs and looked around. A young Diné woman with hair that hung below her waist caught his eye. She wore marooncolored moccasins. The instructor came in and took his place behind a cardboard podium on his desk. He greeted them in English, then spoke in the Navajo language. Code Talkers immediately came to his mind. Each of the students spoke in Navajo. When it was his turn, he sat dumbfounded until the instructor asked him to introduce his family and where he was from. All eyes turned toward him. “Uhm,” he cleared his throat. “Well, I’ve lived all over the world. I don’t come from any one place. My father was in the military so I’ve lived in Europe and all over.” The eyes looked curiously. “But my parents live in Kentucky now,” he quickly added, as if to apologize for his wanderings. “What nationality are you?” asked the instructor. “What do you mean?” He was stumped as to what the instructor was getting at. “Are you German, English, Greek…” “Oh no, I’m not Greek. My father is part German, Scots Irish, and Swede.” “And what nationality is your mother?” He was beginning to turn red. The girl with the long hair turned to look out the window. “My mother is English, Danish, and Norwegian,” he added. “So you’re a little of everything,” concluded the instructor. “Yes, a little of everything. I’m a mutt.” Some of the students laughed. The instructor explained that Navajo people express that their families are based on their mother and father’s clans, their maternal and paternal grandfathers' clans and where they come from. “I’ll remember that.” He wrote “clans” in his green spiral notebook and made a note to check out books from the library on this topic. In the cafeteria he sat alone eating spaghetti when two young Diné men placed their trays opposite him. The younger one who had just been discharged from the Navy and still wore his hair short spoke first. “Hey, do you mind if we sit here? You look lonely.” “Be my guest,” answered Elmer. “Where you from?” “Kentucky,” he promptly retorted, remembering the instructor’s directive. “Kentucky? Did you get lost?” The older one with braids laughed. “Oh no. I know where I am. I’m taking classes,” he said even more hopelessly aware that he was like a sore thumb sticking out. “What’s your name?” asked the younger one as he twirled the pasta

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F I C T I O N

Laura Tohe Crystal, New Mexico, August 2009.

on his fork. “Elmer Geishtein. What’s yours?” “I’m Jonah Van Winkle and this is Rex Lee,” said the Navy haircut holding out his hand. “Nice to meet you both,” said Elmer as he scooped a forkful of rice into his mouth, dropping several grains on his lap before sticking out his hand. The young Diné men nodded. “I’ve got to get to the library.” He stood and picked up his tray. “Nice to meet you,” he added again as he tottered away to empty his tray. After Elmer was out of earshot, Jonah asked Rex, “Há’át’íilá ní? Guy Sneez shizhi’ísh ní?” What did he say? Did he say Tall Guy is my name? They both laughed. Corrina with the maroon moccasins politely continued to answer his good mornings. He secretly looked forward to seeing her in class. While she was heavier than any white girls he had been luckless with, her shape was like summer clouds full of fertility. He thought white girls fussed too much over their hair and looks. Of all the young Diné women, Corrina stood out for him. She wore dangling turquoise earrings and a silver and turquoise watch bracelet. She reminded him of a Gorman painting, lush with bright rich monochromatic colors set against a background of red rocks and sand. He marveled at how well she filled out her blouse and his imagination. Her skin, a smooth brown, reminded him of freshly plowed earth he had seen in a magazine about dry land farming. She wore no makeup and yet to him she

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was beautiful beyond any of the photos of supermodels swollen with silicone breasts. One day after class was over, he caught up to her by the piñon tree that grew near the sidewalk on the way to the cafeteria. “How did you do on the test?” he asked. “I think I did all right,” she answered. “I’m sure you passed. Your father’s a medicine man, didn’t you say? It must be easy material for you.” “I still study, though.” “I haven’t studied this hard since I was in graduate school,” he said as he hurriedly reached to open the door for her. As he lifted out a fork, he asked if he could join her at her table. She had been taught etiquette and politeness and said it was okay. Moreover, in her travels with her father, she knew of the curious tourists and dilettantes who dropped off like dry leaves after they’d had a taste of the rigors of medicine ways. She felt sorry for Guy Snez, as her brother called him behind his back. Elmer took Corrina’s politeness as a spark of romantic interest. She represented the ideal informer: traditional Navajo upbringing, fluid in Navajo language, daughter of a respected family. Her father was a medicine man, her mother an accomplished weaver, and her family owned large herds of sheep and horses. Jonah was the only thorn in his side. Elmer had been taking notes and was beginning to fashion an article on Jungian archetypes in the Blessing Way ceremony. By the time he returned in August, he thought he’d have enough research to wheedle out a decent article to get published. His annual evaluation would shine like a silver star with the promise of another step towards tenure and to a more prestigious university. And the damn chair would get off his back. He fancied himself an anthropologist on par with Boas. If only he could interview her father. If only he could get these people to talk. Corrina could be his Sacajawea leading him through the wilderness he was in. “Kentucky, do you mind if we sit here?” asked Jonah suddenly startling Elmer’s musings. “Don’t mind if you do,” he answered. Elmer felt uncomfortable with Jonah around because Corrina was Jonah’s younger sister. Jonah was tall and barrel-chested who would suddenly break out singing several bars of a Navajo song, leaving Elmer disoriented. The grandmotherly cooks approvingly rewarded Jonah with more helpings of Navajo tacos or whatever was left of the main entrée. Jonah was often brash asking the non-Navajo students why they had come to Diné College and if they were only interested in becoming an in-law. He posed that question to Elmer now, as he stabbed his fork into another slice of roast beef. Elmer’s confidence weaseled beneath Jonah’s glare. “I’m her to study Navajo philosophy,” he replied weakly. “I mean

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F I C T I O N HERE to study Navajo philosophy,” he emphasized. His face resembled the color of a radish. “I teach anthropology classes and I want to learn about Indians.” “Where is it you teach?” asked Shine, a slender young Diné woman who also sat at the table. A pair of turquoise slab earrings dangled from her ears. She was teaching a Navajo language course before leaving to do graduate work in literature at Columbia. “Sturbridge College.” “Never heard of it,” she stated flatly and took a drink of iced tea. The ice clinked against the glass. “It’s in Vermont.” “I didn’t know people there were interested in Indians,” she mused. “You’re right, and that’s why I’m teaching a course in Indians of the Southwest. To enlighten the young Bellygaana minds.” He flashed it proudly like it would impress her, and like Vermont was in need of such mysterious unraveling. “People are always coming through here gathering up Navajo knowledge and taking it back to wherever they came from. What makes you different?” she poked at him like she was turning over rocks to see what life lay below. “I’m a good guy,” he laughed nervously and smeared a yellow square of butter on his roll. “That’s what they all say,” Shine concluded and laid her napkin down. The conversation turned to the goings on around campus. NAC meetings, rodeos, ceremonies, and the inevitable yeenaaldloshii, skin walker, stories. Jonah regaled them with a recent one he’d heard from the security guard, who not only kept an eye out on the campus and knew all the stories, but also on selected young co-eds. His recent conquest concerned a certain minister’s wife from Sierra Vista with two young children. She foolishly believed that he was single, while his poor wife was at home blooming with his fourth child. Lately, the women joked in their gossip that one of this security guard’s guns could fit into a lipstick case. Elmer had heard at least a dozen yeenaaldloshii stories since his arrival, but pooh-poohed them as superstitions of the indigenous mind. He didn’t for one instant believe that anyone could transform themselves into an animal, though he loved the Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee versions of Dracula. He dismissed that these shape-shifters could run alongside a speeding car and keep up. Jonah’s re-telling of the young boy who was caught in the forest and stood on his toes like a bird amused him. These stories added fodder to his second article on “Shape-Shifters: Contemporary Boogey Men in the Indigenous Mind.” He listened politely until his ears perked at Jonah’s announcement that his father was holding a ceremony that night at his house in the Ch’oosgai Mountains east of Tsaile. This was Elmer’s golden opportunity! He managed to wheedle an

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Laura Tohe Crystal, New Mexico, August 2009.

invitation and within an hour was bouncing along the rutted dirt roads in Jonah’s 4 x 4 truck. Jonah sang an NAC song, while Corrina pointed out historical places and plants used by the old-time Diné. He had stowed his backpack full of blank pages, pens and a tape recorder in the truck bed. Thrilled for this once-in-a-lifetime chance, he would take notes, carefully documenting everything he saw. He was on his way at last, maybe get an interview with Corrina’s father, something he would have to broach carefully. The summer night blinked heavily with stars. He wasn’t allowed into the ceremony and had had to wait in Jonah’s truck where he took notes and recorded the songs. Elmer was anxious to return to his dorm room, so that he could enter his notes into his laptop. A few hours of sleep and he could begin outlining his paper. No one was leaving the ceremony just yet. During one of the breaks Corrina checked on him and sensed his restlessness. She asked him to stay until morning when the ceremony would conclude and he could catch a ride back. Jonah overheard their conversation and suggested Elmer take one of the horses. He could tie it up near the dorm and he would be by in the morning to pick it up. Easy plan. Elmer considered. He had ridden into Tséyi, Canyon de Chelly, on horseback with the tour guide who told him the horse knew what to do and he could practically put it in automatic pilot. Jonah convinced him that he had ridden the horse down the road many times and that the horse could pick his way in the dark to the highway and from there it was only a mile back to the campus. The

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F I C T I O N street lights would guide him back. Any misgivings Elmer may have had were assuaged by the urgency to get to his writing. Corrina gave him directions and to listen for the traffic noise on the highway. Once he came into the second clearing he would see the lights of Tsaile. “Yeah, you can do it, Kentucky,” added Jonah. He finished cinching up the saddle and handed Elmer his backpack. “What’s in here?” he asked and shook it. “Tools of my trade,” Elmer answered, as he strapped it on and stepped into the stirrup. As he swung his leg around the horse’s back he hoped he could follow Corrina and Jonah’s instructions. Jonah handed him the reins. “Her name is Peaches. Remember to keep going past the first clearing. And don’t let the skin walkers get you. There was a guy who was chased by one,” he added. “T'áadoo abidiníní.” Don’t tell him that, admonished Corrina. “Doo yeenaldzid da.” He’s not afraid of those stories, chuckled Jonah and opened the gate to the corral. He had saddled up the old nag that his nieces and nephew learned to ride on. “Kentucky, one more thing. Don’t put your feet too far into the stirrups, you might get stuck.” “Skin walkers. Yeah, sure. I’ll outride them,” said Elmer beginning to feel a little shaky of what lay ahead in the darkness. Jonah closed the gate and slapped Peaches on her rump. “See you tomorrow, Kentucky.” The slap gave Peaches a start and Elmer had to grab the saddle horn to regain his balance. He waved goodbye and started down the dirt road. Elmer felt uneasy riding to Tsaile on a horse in the dead of night. He felt the power of the animal beneath him and trusted that it would carry him back. Peaches plodded slowly down the road. A spark of light fled across the indigo sky. “On their way to LA,” he mused, and just the thought comforted him knowing people were probably watching a movie, drinking Blood Marys and on their way to meeting friends and families. He relaxed a bit enough to think about the paper he would write. Maybe someone would give him a ride back to the ceremony tomorrow so that he could continue his clandestine research. At that moment he thought he heard something stir in the trees. Peaches trotted on a little faster. He turned to see if anyone was following him. Nothing. Another snap in the trees and he turned to look again. He saw only the dark silhouettes of the pine trees. “Probably a rabbit,” he thought. The horse moved a little faster on her own. He tightened his legs around her. “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” suddenly popped into his vocal cords and he sang it softly. “Hello. Who’s there?” he called out to the darkness. “Is that you Jonah?” He wished to see him pop out of the trees and say he was only playing a joke on him. Superstitions and old wives tales, and now I’m buying into it, he thought. Above the horse’s trotting, he strained to hear the sound of tires sloshing on asphalt. It would mean he was almost back and then only a mile to the warmth of

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the fluorescent lights. Suddenly Elmer heard a loud snap and his heart raced. He kicked Peaches hard but she had already responded into a full gallop. They sailed precariously down the mountain, helplessly bouncing over the gutted road. Elmer felt the tape recorder slamming up and down on his back. He dropped the reins and held tightly to the saddle horn letting Peaches find her own way. Could it be something was following them? Something with fast legs? In his fright he forgot to look for the first clearing. He looked back again and it seemed the mountain loomed bigger and closer. The campus police found Peaches wandering near the Tsaile gas station and returned her to the Van Winkles. Jonah and Corrina found a trail of scribbled notes, tape recorder, and batteries, and turned them over to the campus police. Elmer’s things were placed in a black, plastic garbage bag and stored with his other things in the campus police office. His name was misspelled but the handwriting was neatly written on a nametag. Everyone wondered what happened to the young Bilagáana man from Kentucky. Rumors and stories spoke of a young white man fitting Elmer’s description at the Thriftway gas station in Ganado, only his hair was completely white. Another account said he hitchhiked out during the night and was going to return to get his things. Jonah’s favorite was of a sighting at Third Mesa at one of the Hopi dances where Elmer was said to be following a young Hopi girl carrying a basket of fruit and bread.

Juliare Scott

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Laura Tohe is Diné (Navajo). She is Tsénáhábiłnii (Sleepy Rock People clan) and born for the Tódich’inii (Bitter Water clan). She is a Dan Schilling Public Scholar for the Arizona Humanities Council. Her books include No Parole Today, Making Friends with Water, and Sister Nations. Her most recent book Tseyi, Deep in the Rock won the Glyph award for Best Poetry and Best Book by the Arizona Book Association. She writes essays, stories, and children’s plays that have appeared in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. She wrote a commissioned libretto, Enemy Slayer, A Navajo Oratorio, for The Phoenix Symphony Orchestra that made its world premiere in 2008. She is Professor of English with Distinction at Arizona State University. Her current project is an oral history book on the Navajo Code Talkers.

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Simon Ortiz and Gabriele M. Schwab

History as Memory and War As an “Escape�

H

ow do children gain a sense of history? When do they begin to live something else beyond taking in the world with their senses in a perennial here and now? Perhaps history begins when they for the first time ask to hear the story again that enchanted them the day before. The desire to repeat a once lived pleasure creates memory and history. But what happens if history is tainted and handed down in stories of violence and terror? The stories that created the emotional fabric of my childhood were war stories, told by my parents and grandmother in endless and monotone repetition. Stories of unfathomable horror, of the bombing of cities, burning houses, people buried under ruins, torn apart bodies that littered the street. One of these stories stands out: the story of a bomb hitting the playground not far from my parents’ house. After an air raid had laid the house in ruins, my mother ran through the burning city to find shelter in a bunker with her infant son, my brother, who died a few months later from smoke poisoning. On her way, she passed this playground and saw the severed limbs of children who had played there just a few hours before. It is these and similar stories of children dying in the war that formed the core of my emerging sense of history. Having heard these stories all my life I know them intimately. But how did I hear them as a little girl too young to understand? Recurring nightmares of

burning houses and murdered children bespeak the fear instilled by stories that were perhaps all the more terrifying because they exceeded any scope of understanding. I was steeped in stories of violent death and war before I had any sense of what death was. Yet, I took something in, viscerally and unforgettably, through the palpable affect of those who told the stories, even though I did not fully understand their affect either. I could feel a sense of horror, but there was more than that: whenever my parents and grandmother told these stories, they changed. Their frozen faces,


vacant stares and dead voices made me feel as if they were elsewhere right before my eyes. Even this eerie feeling I only came to understand much later. What did I make of it then? Probably I simply felt stranded in the desolate void of my own confusion and nameless dread. This is how I recall the first encounter with my people’s history. Affect. Effect. Affect. Words and action. Contemplation and experience. Imagination and dynamo. When I was a boy, I imagined a world I did not live in because the world I lived in was too hard to live in. Being poor was not hard but knowing it was hard to be poor was hard. So I did not want to know our family was poor. There was no choice though sometimes no matter if my imagination offered escape. Even “war” was an escape. Imagined war, that is. We played war. Like real war but not real guns or real bullets or real bombs. Real imagination by real boys though. “Let’s play war” was a favorite pasttime. Could we tell the difference between real war and play? Yes and no. Pretend dead was pretend dead. Imagination is limitless. America in war. There was no other way to know America except as war-like America. And being at war or causing war. Or winning wars. It couldn’t lose. That was the state of our mind. America did not lose. We had to believe. Great God Alrighty! We were the greatest liars in the world. There was no other way we could live and survive. We had to lie and lie and lie in order to believe. My grade school pal Elliott—we’d also call him Jo Jo—or Gaishtiya, his Acoma name—and I used to play war. This was right after the real war. World War II. The war we knew to be a real war because we heard so much

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about it. And we’d seen the soldiers going by on the railroad passenger cars, the soldiers who would wave as they went west and east toward war. And we’d also seen the Acoma soldiers who’d come home on leave. Like Joe, Benny, Henry, Thomas, even Grace who was a WAC. Soldiers who were in uniform. I remember my oldest sister knew a Richard who was a military serviceman. When my school pal Jo Jo and I played war, we didn’t really know anything about war, of course, except what we’d learned from older siblings and adults. And they knew information about war in far away lands and oceans. The war in Europe. The war in the Pacific. The “World War.” As event and place in the imaginary it was real. And for us, as Indigenous (Native) Americans that was the “history” we were to believe as fact, truth, and reality. In that little place we called home in Deetseyaamah (or McCartys in English), we were to believe and accept what we were told—or brainwashed—to believe. Is it surprising then that I developed a lifelong resistance to history? Without being aware of it, I stubbornly tried to resist thinking historically. Never wanting to look back, I even had a hard time defining the presence as my life. As if life was forever on hold, I found myself suspended somewhere in a dead zone between disavowed past and an evanescent future. In my fantasies, my life would begin once I left my family of origin and my hometown that often felt like a prison rather than a home. In a sweeping gesture of disowning the world into which I was thrown, I rejected any trace of belonging. In elaborate daydreams and stories, I invented parents in faraway lands and gradually

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E S S A Y took on an imaginary persona that I treated like my real self. In my diaries, I gave myself a new name: Susan, an English name, rather than Susanne, the German version. Recently, when I reread the only diary left from that time, I discovered to my own surprise that my German is interspersed with French phrases. I recall my identification with France and French people, my country’s former enemies, but I had forgotten that I tried the best I could to write my most intimate thoughts in French. For me, real life and excitement always happened elsewhere. One of my diary entries reads: “Tiengen is a nest, a small nest. Fred (a teacher on whom I had a crush) is not right when he insists that living in a small town is nicer than living in a metropolis. I wish something would finally happen to bring about some change. Yes, it is true that I have always been adventurous, ma petite. If only there were a few real snowstorms, so that everything would be covered in snow and traffic would come to a standstill … or something else, anything, anything at all.” Today, I’m intrigued by the fact that I wished for a snowstorm that would bury the town and bring life to a standstill. Paradoxically, the change I longed for seemed to be a literal “burial” that would bring my country’s history to a standstill—a snow burial that resembles a whitewashing of the surface. The image of the city buried under snow almost uncannily resonates with what I felt much later, namely, that my hometown was a dead zone in more than one sense. Our parental generation had buried their feelings in a futile attempt to erase their haunting past and shameful history. My own wish then harbors the contradictions that were passed down to me. After the war, people in Germany became husks, emptied of a

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vital psychic life they could share with their children. The attempt to ban or censor history distorts not only memory but erodes the very substance of life itself. Little did we children know that the newly polished façade of our postwar medieval border town was hiding the buried traces of the town’s former Jewish citizens whom the Germans had delivered to the camps and whose houses they had quickly appropriated, almost seamlessly whitewashing the old Jewish names. As a hanoh—a community—we were Aacqumeh. First of all and most of all, that’s who and what we were. And we lived within the cultural world of the Aacqumeh hanoh. And were contained/self-contained within the communal hold of the world around us. And at the age of boyhood, I knew enough to know we, young and old, were to live with a sense of ourselves as Aacqumeh beings who lived because other Aacqumeh hanoh teetrah also lived likewise. This included the “old ways” which were ageless, meaning that they derived from way back when spoken of as yuunah kaatya hah-mah meeshruu mai’kqu kahshrai-tee dzeh-shee. Long ago many years past and years gone. And the “old ways” were past experience become knowledge and vision by which we in the present lived. And history was a different matter because history was limited knowledge. Valid knowledge, yes, true, but it was limited knowledge. We knew history but it was not always useful. In the 1940s before I went to school, I was aware only of Acoma time. A time, in a sense, without the restriction or limits of time. Or one can even say that it was an understanding of time known only within the hold of

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the world we lived as Aacqumeh hanuh. Or perhaps it was an understanding of time as timeless. Because that’s what eternity is: a timeless time. And that suggests a history without the need for time. The world came into being when Existence came into being. Simple as that. Kee hamah ehmeh-eh eh cha-aihtra. Ages ago, that’s how-what happened. No date, no time, no history, yet there was a definite consciousness of something coming into being. Something happening. It happened—and the world was; life came to be; and now we could speak of awareness. History was there but time was not important; in fact, it made no difference if there was time or no time. And in a way because there was no time, there was no history. Yet Aacqumehtitra knew themselves. By virtue of no time. Oral stories address time only as motion, not as a static quality. Although time seems to stand still. We believe in ourselves despite time and the studied need by Western cultures to save time by gaining stasis. Wait it out—I’ve heard that before. Peeyuu-kahmihshee. Just wait. Or wait a while.

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Patience. That’s what the suggestion or recommendation was. If you wait, eventually they will leave. They will disappear. It will no longer be like it is now, a time that is ruinous with American whites all around us. It was a wish; it was a hope; it was a dream. And perhaps—yes, perhaps—it was real like the way our imaginary makes things very real. That’s the way I understood it, if we waited. We would wait for them to leave. A long outwaiting, I read somewhere, something the Kiowa novelist N. Scott Momaday once wrote. “A long outwaiting.” Something real. We grew up with war stories, but there was no mention ever of Germany’s atrocious war crimes. We grew up with stories of war victims, of people who were bombed, whose houses were destroyed, whose families were killed. Even our teachers told war stories. They always were victims in these stories, parents, relatives, and teachers, all of them. One day in high school everything changed. In a history class about WWII, our teacher showed Alain Resnais’ film Night and Fog. Thirty-nine kids sat transfixed to a screen that revealed a history of their country that most, if not all of them, had never heard of. It was almost impossible to grasp that what we saw had really happened: masses of people shut into the wagons of freight trains, soldiers pushing them back so that they could barricade the doors; people reaching out with their hands. Later, the naked people walking in line, women trying to cover their breasts, their vaginas, eyes cast down in shame. People so emaciated there was nothing left but skin and bone. Worst of all, the masses of dead bodies, the close-up shots of faces, dead eyes star-

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E S S A Y ing, mouths wide open. Dead bodies thrown into ditches, piled up onto carts. Finally, a huge bulldozer, shoving an ever-growing pile of bodies into a ditch. What could we possibly have felt? Night and Fog taught us that our own people were the perpetrators. We learned that we grew up among monsters. Then, thirty-nine kids silently left class, took the train home, talked to friends, ate dinner … just as if nothing had happened. But there was a rupture inside. Our world had come apart. I don’t think that rupture ever healed. Sure, I went home and confronted my parents: “Why did you never tell me? Why did you not do anything to stop it?” I got the answer that many of us did: “We didn’t do anything. We didn’t know.” My father raged at the fact that schools were now trying to turn children against parents. I locked myself into my room. I don’t think we ever talked about the film again, not in school, not at home, not among ourselves. We buried the knowledge somewhere deep inside. This was our lesson in German history. When Night and Fog was first released in the fifties, the German government protested that it would undermine the reconciliation of German and French people. Officials tried to prevent the film’s showing in German schools, insisting that it contained material that was not appropriate for young people. What kind of history lesson could have been appropriate? What did the opposite lesson, the terrible silencing of history teach us? After all, the screening of Night and Fog was just a brief rupture in this silence … the one and only time I remember learning in detail about the holocaust in school or at home. Recently I saw clips of Night and Fog again in a newly released French film, A Secret. A group of French school

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children are watching Night and Fog. A boy looks at the images, yawns, and starts to mock the film, making obscene jokes about the dead bodies. Another resistance to history. You push away what would otherwise be unbearable. What you see is just a movie. But then, the French kids never had to see their parents as the perpetrators. History is a memory. I think. But is it that simple? Coming into being is coming into knowledge, and continuity is necessary in order to Exist. Something is everything. Tsaidzee is an Acoma word that means everything. Tsaidzee is what we were given by our Creator Spirit Being. Dzah-yahyuu-tyah. The life giver and provider gave us everything. That everything is all around us. We are to interact with it; we are to live with in and within it. Everything is what makes up our life. Look around; see the land, mountains, deserts, forests, valleys, animals, oceans, birds, snowfall, rainfall, all things, all things, everything that makes up our life, everything that can possibly be a part of creation; that’s the something that is everything. When I spoke of nothingness a while ago, I said there are moments when we believe in utter nothingness, yet from which we create sense, form, and design from the little or nothing we have. Because that little or nothing is everything! As an Indigenous person of the Americas, the experience of nothingness is paramount; we have been told we have little or nothing. Utterly nothing, literally nothing; nothing, nothing, no chance, no luck, no nothing! Yet we have everything: our Existence. When Aacqu was destroyed by the Spanish colonizers—conquistadores—in January, 1599, that was history.

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Spanish archives say Aacqu was perhaps two thousand people in population, and after its destruction two hundred Aacqumeh people survived—that was history. Oral tradition is funny; it remembers ritual, ceremony, songs, prayers, but it doesn’t remember the Spanish battle that raged against Acoma and destroyed it—that was history. If history is memory, why doesn’t Acoma oral tradition remember this memory? The answer is easy: the conquistador Spanish attacked the Acoma people because they wanted to own and control the land to which they had recently arrived and which they claimed for themselves; the conquering Spanish had to kill the people and steal the land for that was the only way they could “own” and control it. And the conqueror would forbid the people to talk about the past and what happened. It was against the law to foment or plan actions against the ruling Spanish Crown and the Holy Roman Empire. And soon I’m sure it almost felt against the law to even feel your land and life had been stolen from you. We saw Night and Fog at our schools because we were living in the South of Germany under French occupation. As part of a postwar re-education program, the occupying forces oversaw the school curricula and immersed German children in French culture. High school children learned French, beginning in the fifth grade. Our French teacher co-organized a yearly exchange with French students to support the reconciliation movement between France and Germany. From age thirteen on, I

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eagerly participated in this exchange. Many of us became true Francophiles. Soon I began to spend every holiday with one of my French host families. My first three boyfriends were French, and I wrote my first love-letters in French. My father, who otherwise rarely took a stance, persuaded my mother to let me go. We never spoke about France as the enemy country where my father fought during the war. My father’s experiences with French soldiers, however, belong to the stories he freely volunteered. Fascinated by the fact that he had become friends with the enemies of his country, I loved to listen to these stories. As a watchmaker with technical skills, my father was recruited as the overseer of a camp for French war prisoners. Strangely, he befriended the prisoners at great personal risk. He ignored their curfew, fraternized with them in local bars, and even joined them in listening to the illegal allied radio station. At some point, my father was sent to the front in France as a soldier. I’m confused about whether this was before or after his time with the prisoners of war but I vividly remember the story of how he and a friend deserted and were hiding out in the forest. They survived by drinking fresh water from brooks and eating berries. Occasionally, they ventured out to steel eggs and fruit from nearby farms. So my father was a deserter. Had they found him, he

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E S S A Y would have been shot on the spot. I never asked him why he deserted. I just took it for granted that he did not want to fight in the war. Today, of course, I would have many questions for my father. Did he desert because he didn’t want to die at the front like so many of his friends? Did he desert because he couldn’t shoot at French soldiers? Or was there a deeper reason as I came to suspect later? My father’s friendship with the French prisoners of war saved him after Germany’s defeat. The liberated French prisoners of war were celebrating their victory in the streets. Many German officials were put under arrest. Looking out the window, my parents spied a group of French soldiers walking toward their house. My mother panicked and wanted my father to hide, but the French came with two bottles of Champagne and fetched my father to celebrate with them. They had told the authorities that he was treating them well and had almost become an ally. What must this have been like for him, celebrating the loss of a war that had killed his firstborn son with his enemies? I think. I think. I feel. I feel. I have to; I have no choice. Memory is moment. Dyanamic and uncalled. Unbidden. Coming and going. What can we do? That’s what I end up thinking. My people have forgotten. Their memory is blank. When it comes to Spanish conquest, my people’s memory is blank. Why should they remember? To remember is to panic. They know panic too well, and they don’t want to know it again. So we went blank instead without meaning to. History let us sink beneath the surface. We became invisible. Crying babies flung from the cliffs

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silenced by absorption into the chaos and anonymity of dying. The dreadful tearing roar and ferocious ring of sharp metal blades. Curses, bursts of agonies, such awful screaming, terrified yowls, murderous growls and mutter whines of the death dogs. The stamp of heavily clod soldiers’ feet, crunch of bone, aaaaaaiiiiiiiyeeee pain and raspy crying and crying. No one knowing how life is to be regained as dozens and more than dozens and more than many perish. Perish, perish, perish. Without knowing and without realizing nothing but loss and loss, we became the lee of despair. My mother, my father, my sisters, my brothers! Weeping, murmuring, sobbing, our blood seeping unto stone and sand and the horizons. Suddenly then, life holding us too preciously, the fight left us sodden and dying and dismayed. Spent. So it’s written thusly in loss. And so blood. Death. So few men and so few women. So few old, so few young. This is what loss is. It is silence and it becomes invisible. What is really written? These are survivors of generations: daughters and sons of the high desert plateau. Look to the north, Kaweshtima, cloud and snow covered; look to the west, Hihshah-mee Qcuutee, darkly forested; look to the south Dow-tyuu-mahyuuh, lightly clouded it is; look to the east Pehtuuche, promontory on the horizon.

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Written not with words but with being always within the points that are reference and guide; we are guarded, nourished, and hosted within the world we have always known. The Creators bless with life at the beginning and throughout the lifetimes that flow on and flow on without end. You must remember to not harm anything; you must always care for yourselves and for others with love and compassion; that is the requirement for life; without that being followed, there will be an ending to life; you must realize this you must realize this you must realize this you must realize this. I am left with family secrets discovered in my parents’ documents I opened after my mother’s death. I found out that my father had been a member of the SS from 1935 until 1939. He was 24 years old when he joined and 28 when he left. My parents had told me that he was a party member, but nobody had ever mentioned that he was in the SS. It was a huge shock to know that my father volunteered to be part of the SS, the worst of the German perpetrators. How did this fit with the image of the man who treated the French prisoners with kindness and deserted from a war he did not want to fight? After the war, my father had to go through the Entnazifizierung, or, as it is called in the official documents, the “political cleansing” (politische Säuberung). I have before me a copy of the testimonies, including those of my parents, dated August 4th, 1946. Strangely, my father’s testimony focuses almost entirely on his defense of an Alsatian friend named Kempf during a political trial by the Nazis. He neither mentions his initial involvement with the SS, nor his political turn. He simply

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seems to suggest that he is innocent by association. In contrast to my father, my mother’s statement makes a strong emotional plea about my father’s political turn, brought about by her influence. She begins with descriptions of her own family’s resistance against the Nazis, her refusal to join the Hitler youth, and her participation in a Catholic resistance group. This is why, when my father began to woo her, she categorically refused to be with a Nazi and convinced him to leave the SS and convert to Catholicism. My parents gave their testimony in August of 1946. I was four and a half months at the time. My brother, their firstborn, died when he was four and a half months old. My mother makes a plea for a new life on the ruins of the old one. In all the documents and testimonies I read, there was not a single mention of the victims of the Nazi genocide. A first verdict, dated June 6th of 1947, requests my father to hand over his entire possessions and prohibits him for life from assuming any leadership or independent professional position. One year later, however, after my father’s appeal and the testimony of witnesses, the judgment is revised and reduced to a penalty of 200 Reichsmark because of his renuciation as a member of the SS and the party in 1939. After my mother’s death, I found another document that revealed one of their best-kept family secrets. None of us children ever knew this. My father was an illegitimate child, born out of wedlock. His mother had lived in France as the housekeeper of a rich French family and returned pregnant to her home village Zarnewenz in Mecklenburg where she gave birth to my father on December 12, 1910. Upon her refusal to name the father on the birth certificate, my father received her

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E S S A Y maiden name. Staring at this record of my father’s birth, I realized that my entire family history was different from what it seemed to be. The man whom I had known all my life as my grandfather had only adopted my father after he married my grandmother. In all likelihood, my real grandfather was French, probably a member of the family for whom my grandmother worked as a young girl. I couldn’t help but suspect a connection to my father’s friendship with the French soldiers, his desertion from the French front and his support of my travels to France. I also thought of how at the time I hated being German and would have given anything to be French. It is hard not to make such connections, even though I make them with a certain hesitation. How do we construct our histories and how much do we really ever know for sure? Yet, even though we always stumble in the dark, we cannot but try to weave our stories, perhaps all the more urgently so when they are borne from a resistance to history. Do we ever know for sure? Memory is a moment. Yet memory is forever. At that age I had not ever known anyone, except for my grandma, who had died. Elliot and I, though, in our play as boys knew about death and dying. Such things are within the province of boyhood. Who else but children know death and dying so well? Because there is more than death and dying involved. Hamaah-dzeh-shee oopeh-taanee—old time stories—spoke of the time when hanoh—the people— warred against the guardian spirits, the Kah-tsi-na: by speaking arrogantly about themselves and their power, endurance, skills, and magic; by literally challenging

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their Existence but not knowing they were. That is, of course, the memory of the people’s creation and their earliest going forth from the place of creation. When the people tell such things, it is remembrance but it is more than memory; it is significance. And it becomes the ethos that culture is determined by: memory as ethos and memory from ethos. Children live within the significance of the moment; everything but the moment is distant. Reality and actuality are truly functional only in the moment, and the moment is significant because it is the here and now; the dynamic of eventexperience is what is most at stake. “Shrau-chaiyuu-dzah-nee,” Elliott said, “shru-weh niew-shtuu-sruuh.” When I shoot you, Elliott said, as a result, you die. “Heenah,” I said, nodding my head. And waited for him to shoot me. I stood there waiting. When he didn’t shoot me, I said, “Kcow-hamah niew-chaiyuh-tsee duumah?” I said, “When are you going to shoot me?” Elliot didn’t seem to be in any hurry. He looked at me and said, “Bah-nah. Maameh sra-mee niew chaiyuh-tsee shrau mah.” Wait, I want to shoot you in a very deliberate-careful-correct way, Elliott said. Finally, his mouth, tongue, and a big rush of air made a sputtered burst of wet sound. TCHEE-IEU!! A sudden, explosive moist and sharp blob of wet noise! It didn’t sound strange at all and it was approximately the sound of a bullet discharged from a gun barrel. Or a rocket grenade launched and exploded. Or a bomb dropped on the ground only a few feet away. In our boys’ imaginations, of course, it was as real as life!

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So as child boys, we played war, refusing to be silenced. As children we refuse to be silenced. Children holler and shout when they play; they laugh and giggle when they’re happy; they whine and moan when they’re hungry; they scream and screech when they’re in pain, loss, and fear. Aacqumeh waash-titra cried in pain, loss, and fear when their Pueblo home community was attacked. When their parents, grandparents, sisters and brothers

were killed. When they couldn’t do anything else but that, they refused to be silenced. I wasn’t there. My childhood friend Elliott and I weren’t there when war came to the Aacqumeh hanoh in 1599 and the hanoh and Pueblo were destroyed. But the memory is there even when you can’t hear it. The memory is there like it has always been. And always we live within the memory that always lives within us.

Gabriele M. Schwab is Chancellor’s Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Irvine, a faculty associate in the Department of Anthropology, and former director of the Critical Theory Institute. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Heisenberg Fellowship and was a Research Fellow in Residence at the Australian National University, the Free University of Berlin, and Arizona State University. Her books in English include Haunting Legacies: Violent Histories and Transgenerational Trauma; Derrida, Deleuze, Psychoanalysis; Accelerating Possessions: Global Futures of Property and Personhood (coedited with William Maurer); The Mirror and the Killer-Queen: Otherness in Literary Language; Subjects without Selves: Transitional Texts in Modern Fiction; and a special issue of Postcolonial Studies, coedited with John Cash, entitled “The Cultural Unconscious and the Postcolonizing Process.” Her work has been translated into eight languages.

Simon J. Ortiz, Acoma Pueblo poet, writer, storyteller, essayist, and Regents Professor at Arizona State University, is author of Woven Stone, from Sand Creek, Beyond the Reach of Time and Change, After and Before the Lightning, The Good Rainbow Road, Speaking for the Generations, and other books. Focusing on Indigenous de-colonization and liberation, his work, writing, and teaching stresses the Indigenous struggle for land, culture, and community. Going for the Rain, his first major poetry collection published in 1976 in the U.S., is to be published soon in a bilingual edition in China. A former Interpreter and 1st Lt. Governor of Acoma Pueblo, he is the father of three children and the grandfather of nine beautiful grandchildren. David Burkchalter

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POE T R Y

Byron Aspaas

Children of the Earth Walking through winding paths, Wind whispers in my ear to share stories of the past— their past. Wind speaks softly telling tales of ancient tribes, singing sincere sad songs of forgotten spirits, chííndíís—ghosts recreating archaic stories reviving the second world voices don’t echo in hollowed canyons. Ałkidaa jiní these cones were homes of those moaning lifeless air.

Listen.

The whistle pierces inner ear. Drums beat eerie cadences. Skeleton trees shake vibrate skeleton trees alive dead skeleton trees shiver alone skeleton trees cold old skeleton tsín— bone bring dead to life. stories Through crevices rock enclosed placed pumice plumes of layer upon layer mixed delicate ash stories create erupt. Tuff welded eyes, watching every move. Children screech, calling, crawling spinning sand— human spiders, swirling cyclones into whips of silt burning eyes, searing pain, blinding sight. Shingle stream flowing in a ghostly river, dusted footprints fade fast— forgotten paths.


Shrilling voices sing songs, songs from long-long ago. Lead me ancient steps—up, looking down over beauty, over past, in present step after step. Johonaa’éí, The Sun, watches Wind and I, reunite—reconnect. Wind whirls my offering to the Creator in corn pollen swirls, around my body, around the dead, into the air, bringing life to the land around me, spring.

Hozhó.

Billy J. Stratton

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POE T R Y

Ma’íí dóó Gólizhíí For Hadjii The male rain heard in the distance BOOM! Double, double toil, and trouble together, Ma’íí dóó Golizhíí chant in mama’s bathroom the night way sings along BOOM! Bottled potions mix with perfumed lotions a pinch here, a tincture there coy little coyote and black satin skunk mix and match mama’s solutions BOOM! This is how they do it, this will make you gorgeous, Ma’íí howls a drop of this, a dash of that Golizhíí’s eyes scream when creams stream majickal sensual scents BOOM! Ma’íí yelps and howls with laughter spilling lotion potion down— down Golizhíí’s head down his black silky tail down BOOM! The solution’s not finished It don’t smell right, your black beautiful hair, once satin now grey and white BOOM! The lightning strikes light streak of white lace the fabric of night

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Something’s not right! Mama said, don’t do hair at night. Fire burn, and cauldron bubble BOOM! Male rain is here

Níłch’i For Seth You whisper in my right ear, my eyes open, I lie awake. Breathing life into my body with your gusts of air I breathe Swirling through bed sheets, swimming through flights of air. Soft sighs of murmurs escape our mouths— whirls of whispers blend together my voice becomes your voice. Your presence guides me, leading my finger tips in swirls to safety, away from danger to safety, away from threat You whisper in my right ear— Steering me clear, weaving through paths, you stride by my side swift and fast, you guide, while I glide through paths dodging dangerous hurdles through life— You whisper in my right ear I feel your touch across my chest, run trails along the lines of my face through the crevices of my skin down fibers of my thighs skimming the tops of my feet shimmering the tips of my hair— You whisper in my right ear. Níłch’i wolyé, The Wind, is what I call him. He is my protector

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my lover.

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POE T R Y

The Protection Way There are Moments when life feels like it abandoned me. The Wind is one of the oldest spirits in the Navajo creation stories. He gives life to each of us when we breathe and when we speak. He brings forces of nature to life and can end lives. He is a powerful deity. In the old stories, he protects the Monster Slayer and his sibling by guiding them through their journeys. He is their protector. Abandoned and alone in a house with white walls of emptiness, my siblings and I sat while a brown car drove past the window from behind the house and Mom and Dad sat side by side—alone. Dust whirled up into the sky behind the treading tires of their moving car and red taillights shimmered as the tears glowed red in my eyes. At the age of seven, I ran towards their fading car. Mom and Dad would leave to be by themselves. Where they went? We don’t know, but I ran as far as I could in hopes they would see me and turn around—sometimes they did. My siblings called me “crybaby,” because tears ran down my face, mixed with dirt, when I returned back into the house. A long time ago, there was a story about the Gambler who built an empire along the Chaco Canyon and enslaved the Anasazi to build his domain. Through years of torment, he slowly took the lives of the people who gambled against him, and in time it was a Navajo intruder who came and brought the Gambler down as ruler of Chaco Canyon. Some people say the Gambler re-emerged in the south where the Mexican people lived, as their ruler. The people say it was Niłch’í, the Wind, who guided the Navajo intruder to help bring down the Gambler’s reign. My Dad was a hardworking man who drove one-hundred miles southwest through the Bisti Badlands on through the Chuska Mountains towards the Arizona border. When he returned home, Dad would drive one-hundred miles retracing his trail through the Arizona border, through the Chuskas, and towards the Badlands—all for the sake of his family’s survival. The Wind lingers in my world where he is my best friend and my companion. He lives with me, he talks to me, and he is still my protector. He is also my lover. For thirteen years, my family hardly saw Dad. He worked for the Pittsburgh Midway Coal Company in Gallup, New Mexico, where he was a heavy equipment operator near the Navajo Nation’s capital. We saw Dad once a week because he worked Sunday through Thursday nights and returned

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early on Friday mornings. The Pittsburgh Midway Coal Company slowly sucked life from him, like a succubus that feeds on its prey at night. The odor of his clothes was mixed with coal dust and sweat that filled the house when Dad returned home. His breath smelled like coffee, which fueled his journey home—the journey he could not remember because he was too tired to drive. Many times, my baby brother and I sat in Dad’s truck and pretended to drive to work. We pretended to drink coffee. The Gambler has re-emerged and the Navajos don’t see his presence, for money is all they see. He manages the coal, he manages the uranium, he manages all the resources that strip the land of its beauty. The Gambler has re-emerged and the Navajos don’t realize the power he’s become. The Navajos are blinded by greed. The Gambler has returned. Drunk with exhaustion, my Dad stumbled into the house and reeked of coffee. He found comfort in his familiar bed. The room was darkened when we’d come home after school, and loud snores came from the cave that housed my Dad’s bear-like body. Like curious cubs, we’d sneak into his dark, smelly den, and jump on his bed to surprise him. My poor Dad’s eyes were always red. With a loud roar and a bear-like grasp—he would hug his three boys. The Wind lies close to me in bed. He whispers in my ear and tells me stories he makes up of when we first met. The Wind lies close to me, telling me more stories while I look into his aqua blue eyes. He is gentle and I feel safe by his side. After waking up from his afternoon nap, Dad slicked black his hair and washed the stench of his employer’s sweat off his back. Dad swayed his way into the kitchen and danced circles around Mom—spinning around the dining room and around us kids. We snickered. Mom’s brown eyes crinkled with excitement when her brown Chubby Checker made his appearance and she curled up like a shy teenage girl. A smitten, little kitten, she was. Legend has it Dad was once a great dancer. Mom told me when Dad was young he used to travel around the reservation to find dances. This was how he became so good at the jitter-bug and the swing. We imagined Dad at the chapter houses dancing and we’d giggle. The Gambler smokes his silver cigars that pollute the air, pollute the water, and pollute the ground. He does not care. The Gambler uses the Navajo, just like the Gambler once used the Pueblos to do his bidding at Chaco Canyon. He does not care. He is no different today than he was back before. He uses the people to do his

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POE T R Y bidding. He does not care. Cancer, asthma, and other monsters are released, while he stands back and smokes his silver cigars with no filters—he does not care. At the age of seventeen, my older brother, Aaron, died—I was thirteen. A part of my Dad died as well. For thirteen years Dad slaved away for his family’s happiness, but when part of his happiness was taken away his employer let him go. They said Dad missed too much work during his son’s sickness. This was the job Dad stayed awake for for thirteen years during graveyard shifts. Thirteen years away from family, thirteen years that will never be given back, thirteen years of sleepless nights—gone. Dad worked for the company that sucked away the land’s beauty, devoured and raped the land for its powerful black fuel. Like the earth, Dad looked tired. The Wind follows me wherever I go. His presence is always around me and guides me through difficult times. The Wind is my lover. He holds me close at night and tells me secrets of our future together. His arms wrap around my body as he holds me close like the orange koi tattoo’d on his left arm; the fish are entangled with one another. We swim in circles like fish, in water, and fan one another with our tails as we twirl our fins in a sea of sheets. We float on top of satin dreams where he and I are protected. The wind encircles me in cyclones of secrets, where past meets future. For twenty years, Dad seemed different. Dad seemed distant even though the color returned to his skin and his eyes began to transform back to its original tones. Over time, Dad’s snores slowly subsided and the bear within seized, and the darkened cave he lived in came to life with light. He was almost normal and his fashioned, oily, dark rockabilly hair slowly began to change and wither into its salt and pepper stage. Mom and Dad’s relationship began to rekindle after years had destroyed the bond they once had—my brother’s death ripped a hole within our family. Slowly, my parents began to dance again and our family began to heal. The Gambler has not aged since his return to Navajo Land—the same Navajo lands that he was once banished from years and years ago. His ownership of Pueblo Bonito is no longer his, so The Gambler regains his power overseeing the Power Plants—the people’s source of income. The Gambler takes revenge on the Navajo intruder’s people—the same Navajo intruder who took away his precious property in the Chaco Canyon. The Gambler has a plan—he will regain control. Each morning, Mom awoke with Dad to share a pot of coffee. Mom liked her coffee mixed with tons of cream and added sweetener to give her hot

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drink a sweet kick—sometimes, it looked like hot chocolate and she loved it. Dad liked his coffee plain and simple, black—no sweetener, no creamer. It looked strong and he loved it. The scent of coffee was different now. Dad only drank coffee at home. The scent of the succubus was no longer in Mom and Dad’s house; however, I think sometimes my Dad yearned for its touch. He never went back to working graveyard shifts again. Mom loved her fifteen grandchildren when they came to visit. One by one, each morning, like ducklings filing in line, they waddled into the kitchen to give grandma and grandpa fifteen hugs before they left to school. With their shiny, oiled-up faces and nicely fixed hair, each child showed their affection. One day, Mom passed away and the visits stopped. The coffee pot shared between husband and wife sits cold in the kitchen where Dad quietly awaits his ducks, but they have flown away. He sits in their kitchen where laughter once echoed, but now quiet hums softly. His wife’s cup is empty. He waits for his ducks to return, but they found new homes. The Wind has lived with me, beside me, around me for five years now. Sometimes when the Wind speaks, his voice is my voice, as we have become one. His spiritual teachings have guided me in many ways where we are connected and he sees what I see in dreams, and our connection is not only with me but with my family as well. His visions warn me and he guides me through paths that may distract or give harm to those in my life. He feeds me, he helps me, he guides me—he’s a part of me. Recently, my Dad came to stay with me once after Mom’s passing. He drove two-and-a-half hours south and thirty minutes north. He found my work and I fed him a burger and fries. His salt and pepper hair is parted to the side and his clothes looked loose—Mom is no longer around. I drew a map for him and gave him the apartment key to make himself at home. He only knew Santa Fe from short trips he took from his youth. He once told me he woke up in Taos as a young man after hours of being drunk in Albuquerque. Dad prides himself for being thirty-three years sober. He won a bet against my Mom, a change he made for her. He loved her.

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POE T R Y My partner, Seth, said he came home to see Dad in our room looking at photos. He said Dad’s eyes scanned the bedroom as he slowly entered: “You boys sure have a lot of photos together.” “Yeah, we do.” “Let’s go have a smoke,” my Dad told Seth. Seth continued to say they sat on the patio where the ash usually spins in circles as the wind picks up. I imagined the sun setting and illuminating Seth’s aqua eyes and Dad looking to Seth as he exhaled his smoke into the western orange sky. “So, should I start calling you ‘son’?” “I don’t know.” “I think I need to since you’re now a part of our family. I call all my boys, ‘son.’” Seth said he exhaled his cigarette while his eyes turned red and filled with tears, as he watched the sun begin its crawl behind the Las Conchas Mountains. My thoughts are that both he and Dad sent prayers to my Mom with the tobacco and the smoked scents blessed my relationship with Seth. The Gambler still lives and feeds off the lives of the Navajo people. His visions of fortune still fuel the people with greed and other unnecessary wealth that he’s given them. Each day, new holes are dug into the Earth where new forms of energy are found. Each year, new ideas are brought onto Navajo Land to test theories on the innocent who are clueless. Land is still stripped, land is still taken—taken from the people. My Dad’s visit was short. It was great to see and hear stories from evoked from his voice. Although many of his stories were repeats—it was like hearing each story for the first time when the wind is released from his mouth. Like the Wind, Dad was once my protector when I was a kid growing up in their house. Like the Wind, he told me stories to remind me of where we came from. The stories Dad shared with me are now engrained deep inside, and they are my stories to tell as I begin my personal journey, as a storyteller. The Wind will protect me, as we journey through life together.

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He packed his car with belongings for his voyage back to the home that awaits him. He positioned himself in his car and drove out of the parking lot with only his shadow inside the car. For a Moment, I saw Mom next to him. I wanted to run after him, just as I did when they drove off that night. I wanted to run after him when tears filled my eyes and his taillights appeared. I wanted to run after him but I didn’t. He saw me standing there and acknowledged my presence when he drove away. His hand waved in my direction and I knew he was ready to let go because he knew I was safe. He knew his son was protected with a familiar presence.

Byron Aspaas (Diné) is Tachiiníí and born for Todichííníí. Currently a creative writing student at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Byron writes poetry and creative nonfiction. His ambition is to become a teacher, a writer, and most importantly a storyteller. By sharing his personal emergence stories, Byron hopes to influence many people along his path towards writing success. He resides with his partner, Seth Browder, in Santa Fe, NM. His adventures are just beginning.

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E S S A Y

Dorothy Brooks

Fickle Friend, The Wind Trying to Blend In on the Rez

Dorothy Brooks

The Bisti Badlands (De-Na-Zin Wilderness), Road 7297, off of Highway 371, roughly 35 miles south of Farmington, New Mexico, 1984.

Over the span of 17 years (1981-1998), I, a middle-aged, single, Midwestern white woman, went to the Navajo Reservation to teach in Shiprock, New Mexico, sight unseen. I taught in Navajos’ public schools there during several separate periods. I could not help going back, and all in all I was there seven years. The first year at Shiprock was before the common use of computers, and I last left before smart phones and Skype were widely used—when a trading post might have live sheep for sale in a rough corral. My students were primarily Navajo, and their first language was Navajo, which I did not speak. I regarded myself as a visitor and strove to do my best. Often, I fell flat on my face. But I learned, over time and through experiences that frequently tested my mettle, to love it there. I have never forgotten the Diné, the (Navajo) People, nor that it was a privilege to have been a guest in their Nation. I have substituted fictitious names for actual ones throughout this piece.


In the Midst of Skyscrapers The sharp ring of the phone made me jump as I studied at my desk in my highrise dorm at Columbia University, New York. I had completely forgotten my application to teach in Shiprock, which I’d sent out the previous Christmas, with a batch of others. I wasn’t really expecting a reply. Picking up the phone, I heard a man’s sparse voice, lean on words, in fragments over the crackly connection. “We need a kindergarten teacher. Can you come?” The room suddenly dropped away as the memory of my application flooded me. “Wh-when?” I stammered. “School started Monday.” I glanced out my window, where sometimes roiling flames rose from nearby Harlem. I was already worlds away from my own small town in Michigan. But I heard myself saying, “If I get there as soon as I can, do I still have a job?” It seemed impossible to pull off, but I knew I wanted to grab it. I’d get a leave from my teaching job at home, ease out of my apartment lease. “Yes,” he said, as the phone connection cut off. Two days later, I was stuck on the tarmac at JFK Airport because of an air controllers’ strike. When my plane finally took off—but for a quick stop home to gather some belongings and my car—I was already heading west.

Reaching the Rez Driving from Gallup, New Mexico, off I-40 towards Shiprock for the first time, I was all eyes. Yawning beyond me in every direction were dizzying vistas. Far beyond, I counted outcroppings of mesas stretching like gauze theater sets, some of them seven layers away. They probably fell into eternity after that, I mused. Old Route 666 was time travel through an aged sea of endless rock. But where were the trees? Where were the people? My stomach began to churn and I could feel my tears press hard as the few straggly pinon, only faintly resembling Christmas trees, soon gave way to gulches and sage brush. Two hours later, my retired teacher friend—whom I had persuaded to drive out with me from Michigan and return the next weekend by Greyhound bus— and I pulled into Shiprock. Just before, we had passed the monumental rock itself, also named Shiprock, soaring 7,178 feet from the high desert plateau. We had watched it for miles, like some inaccessible, tempting mirage. By the time we finally reached it, there was no doubting its majesty and power—it held an aura all its own. Tsé Bit’a’i, the “rock with wings,” was sacred ground, and long the center of Navajo myth and tradition. Tucked along the San Juan River, we found the community of Shiprock—

Just before, we had passed the monumental rock itself, also named Shiprock, soaring 7,178 feet from the high desert plateau. We had watched it for miles, like some inaccessible, tempting mirage. By the time we finally reached it, there was no doubting its majesty and power—it held an aura all its own. Tsé Bit’a’i, the “rock with wings,” was sacred ground, and long the center of Navajo myth and tradition. S PRING / S UMMER 2 0 1 3

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E S S A Y get. That is, with the exception of chunky about 7,000 population, and the largest Jackson. Beautiful black hair streaming town on the vast Rez. It sprawled at the down to his waist, he anchored himself intersection of roads to Colorado, Ariin the hall just outside our door and zona and Utah. bawled—no, howled—non-stop. I could We finally located my elementary not coax him inside. school barely before dark—tucked back Back home, my kindergarten class on a gritty, dirt side road. Across a rut had slathered me with grins, hugs, from the playground perched my teacher sometimes tears, and unabashed laughhousing—a rickety empty trailer in a ter. But these children row of others that sat and watched. Up appeared deserted. I in front, I sang like a had no key, and there Broadway star, did was not a soul around. Inside, the principal, a white clever action rhymes. We threw our sleepman with measured restraint, I invited. I cajoled. I ing bags down on showed me to my kindergarten was a one-person act, the bare floor, as the and I bombed. The broken-out storm door room. Gazing out the window kids wouldn’t even flapped and banged was the Navajo teacher aide look at me, nor would in the wind, setting a with whom I would work. I the aide, who had rhythm all its own. had a thousand questions, slipped back in and joined them. First Day Reality but before I knew it she had Mercifully, the Check disappeared. Then the bell school buses finally clanged full volume, and appeared in full view By 8 A.M. the beyond our window, next morning, kids immediately in the doorway and my students came were zig-zagging appeared wary, silent-as-stone to life. In the joseverywhere on the tling, I did the usual playground. I threaded five-year-olds. “Shhh…,” trying to my way through a restore a little order. mass of elementary Instantly, the whole school children—with class, plus the aide, broke into laughter. their glossy black hair and deep brown Why? More importantly, what kids went eyes that quickly looked away from my on which buses? There were no street smiles. signs or house numbers in Shiprock. And Inside, the principal, a white man Jackson still bellowed in the hallway. with measured restraint, showed me to The aide saved the day—at the last my kindergarten room. Gazing out the minute she was able to take him by the window was the Navajo teacher aide arm, and with all the others, they left. with whom I would work. I had a thouRunning outside to join them, I couldn’t sand questions, but before I knew it she find anyone in the swarm of kids that I had disappeared. Then the bell clanged recognized. All I could do was cross my full volume, and immediately in the fingers that my students were on the doorway appeared wary, silent-as-stone right busses. five-year-olds. They edged tightly against the back wall, as far away from me as they could

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Lonesome Sheep and Old Pawn

Dorothy Brooks

counters of vintage turquoise jewelry, most tagged as “dead pawn”—meaning the time limit to be reclaimed by payment The first time I needed groceries and from the original owner had expired, so it headed for a trading post in Shiprock, now was available to sell to the public. It seven or eight bleating sheep from an was often of museum quality. attached corral greeted me. I did a double On the far wall a curtained door take. Live sheep? What were they doing led to the rug room, where the Navajo there? women brought their weavings to sell to Evidently they were for sale, pawn the trader. I could or trade, I never only catch glimpses knew—but I always of stacked rugs, but felt a sharp pang their patterns were because I guessed dazzling. they were probThen it was ably headed for through the checkmutton stew. In out counter, with actuality, they were its round tins of the life blood of chewing tobacco, the Rez—for food, another Rez staple. I for weaving, as an would smile and say indication of the hello to the woman matriarch of the there, though I was family’s wealth. And met with silence in what other “crop” return. could be raised on But the sheep felt that unforgiving otherwise. Once I landscape? reappeared outside, Inside, the tradthey couldn’t stop ing post seemed a bleating. Smart “foreign” land to What remained of the Old Hogback Trading Company, sheep. They had me me. No high shelves Waterflow, New Mexico, in 1984, just across NM 64 from pegged—a regular that required stretch- its current structure, The Hogback Trading Company. bleeding heart. ing. There were They were right. simply sparse, makeshift ones at waist length, with a mix of anything that could Over the Mountains and Lost in be essential to Navajo life—penny nails, Language horse tack, cast iron skillets. Once I located my cans of tomato To my complete surprise, one day at soup and tuna, I would work my way school a teacher aide approached me and past the fifty-pound cotton bags of fryasked if I would go along as a chaperone bread flour embellished with a red rose for a group of students from our school logo, the Big Chief writing tablets, and when they were to compete in a tradihead straight for the back of the store. tional song and dance contest. It was to Behind a counter were stacked bolts of be a full day at what was then known as fabric for traditional clothing—jewel velNavajo Community College in Tsaile, veteens, shiny satins, calicos. There were Arizona, now Diné—the People—Collarge skeins of wool for weaving and lege, not far across the state line. “Of S PRING / S UMMER 2 0 1 3

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E S S A Y

Verlin Biggs

the students piled off the bus and an aide stood at the front to give directions, I realized I was in trouble. What was she telling them? What was my part for the day? Before I knew it, everyone was off the bus, and I was scrambling to keep up. The college campus was lovely—its grounds were in a circular design, true to Navajo tradition, and it offered a full curricDorothy Brooks near the ramparts of the Shiprock, Shiprock, New Mexico, Spring 1982. ulum in Navajo language and culture. Then it hit me: every single sign showing locations course,” I said, happy to be asked to and names for the various buildings was be part of something. Anything. I had in Navajo. Only Navajo. no idea what it was, but it was a school How would I even stay with my event, so no problem. group? None of my own students had Several weeks later, on a brisk come along, and I sat towards the back Saturday morning we filled a school of the bus and only saw the backs of bus for the all-day trip. Everyone—the heads—most, I wouldn’t recognize again. Navajo teachers, aides, the twenty or so Luckily, I caught up with the one face students—was resplendent in traditional I recognized, the aide who had asked clothing and fine turquoise jewelry. At me to come along. She was completely the last minute, discovering that that involved, giving directions and herding was the dress for the day, I had patched students to risers in a large gymnasium together a rather hokey outfit— a velvet with a stage. My survival plan was top I just happened to have, and a to keep her in sight, regardless. For a summer paisley skirt—which did not add moment it flashed across my mind that to my feeling of blending in. I would never be able to find a restroom Nevertheless, off we chugged up and for the entire day. Then the contest over Washington Pass (now Narbona started. Pass), high in the Chuska Mountains, It was a respectful audience, filled with its magnificent view of Shiprock and with groups from schools across the the San Juan Basin fanning out below. reservation, I assumed. Several at a time, The forests of ponderosa, spruce and fir students would file up to the stage and were balm for my soul, and I drew in sing traditional songs or chants. Sometheir aroma through the bus window times it would be one child alone, singing like a camel discovering an ocean. It took with no accompaniment except a small my mind off the fact that I was the only drum in hand. Several groups from our beligaana—white person—on the bus. Bus school performed traditional dances to driver, adults, kids—all were speaking music on a tape recording, which they Navajo, and in fact, did so for the entire had practiced earlier at school. I felt day. I had expected that. But just before washed with pride. 36

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As the morning unfolded, no one want to know. At that point, everyone grew restless. All those kids paid strict else was done and I didn’t dare get left attention to the ones on stage. I was behind. So I maneuvered the remaining struck by the simple beauty of it, how forchunks of stew underneath a little tripod tunate those children were to be enfolded of bones I made in the bowl to hide them, by such a rich, enduring culture. and called it good. Well, as good as it was And then it was time for lunch. going to get. Long lines of tables were set up in a big Heading back to the gym for the full cafeteria, and we all sat facing each other. afternoon of more performances, I was Everyone was speaking Navajo. I tried to rewarded for facing down the stew by keep a pleasant smile on my face but my a gaggle of little girls ahead of me, who cheek muscles eventually began to ache. suddenly ducked in a doorway. Taking a Bowls of stew were served us indichance, I followed them, having no idea vidually, along with a Navajo taco. I had what the Navajo sign on the door said. already discovered the tacos, made with To my huge relief, it was a women’s fry bread, at Shiprock’s one fast food restroom. stop, and knew they were delicious. Sun Dazzled But then there was The forests of ponderosa, spruce the stew. Traditional The absolute and fir were balm for my soul, stew, mutton stew. I reward of each school and I drew in their aroma took one look at the day was being outglobs of grease floatdoors with the kids through the bus window like a ing on its surface. The while on playground camel discovering an ocean. It chunks of meat looked duty. I loved being in dishwater grey. I could took my mind off the fact that the midst of that swirlhear the corralled sheep I was the only beligaana— ing energy—complete at the trading post with its soundtrack white person—on the bus. Bus of yells, giggles, and bleating at me like no driver, adults, kids—were all tomorrow. shouts. My students, Everyone around still reticent in class speaking Navajo, and in fact, me dove in. although softening did so for the entire day. some, cut loose in Nausea rose to my complete abandon tonsils. Buy some time, outside. Kids are kids, I told myself, buy time. I thought. Delightful, wherever they So I stirred my stew. And stirred and happen to be. stirred some more, trying not to look Even the sunlight was electric. I down. Others were emptying their bowls, had never experienced such brilliant and the clock was ticking. sunshine—it shimmied and bathed the Finally, I glanced at my stew again landscape with such clarity that I almost and there was a knuckle bone sticking felt as if I was levitating. out. Nothing left to do but start. I manEagles circled the playground periaged to get the broth down without odically, cruising the wind drafts. They choking, but it coated my throat like could drop like elevators, with no warnVaseline—slippery and thick. Three bites, ing, when after prey in the nearby brush. I decided. Just conquer three bites. It always made my heart plummet, too, I wasn’t sure what my spoon took to my mouth. I didn’t look and I didn’t S PRING / S UMMER 2 0 1 3

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E S S A Y enthusiasm weeks ago, trying to match when one came in close. I’d scan my the more composed behavior of the students—uneasily. One day as we were ending recess, Navajo adults around me. I crossed paths with the only other As we turned to leave, one of my beligaana teacher in my building. We’d students, Roxy—with the sparkling eyes said hello, briefly, at a staff meeting. and who was always bursting with raw motion—bounded out of line and on to “Marilyn,” I asked her in a whisper as center stage, claiming it her own. Just our students jostled towards the drinking beyond my arm’s reach, she turned her fountain, “how come my kids laugh at back to the sea of faces in the audience, me every time I shush them?” promptly stuck out her little behind, “What do you say?” and pulled down her jeans. Wearing no “I say, ‘Shhh!’” I answered, my brow underwear and quicker than a rabbit, she wrinkling. mooned them all. There was surprised She burst out laughing. Great, I silence and then, like lightning, she thought. Now I’ve really done it—whatbolted for the playever “it” is. She couldn’t ground exit door. The contain her grin. principal never missed “The Navajo word Eagles circled the playground a beat. He was one for ‘bear’ is shash, or shush. And you’re not periodically, cruising the wind gallop behind her. The rest of the even supposed to mendrafts. They could drop like tion bears until after afternoon there was no elevators, with no warning, winter sets in, when word about her. The they’ve hibernated. Navajo teacher aide when after prey in the nearby The kids think you’re seemed silent about all brush. It always made my saying ‘bear’ to them of it. My very skin felt heart plummet, too, when one every time!” stretched with worry. Finally, after getcame in close. I’d scan my ting the kids on the Amateur Hour students—uneasily. bus to go home, I made a quick pass by As the days and the office. My princiweeks of my new job pal said it had taken two hours to locate melded into December, it was time for Roxy. She had wiggled herself far into a our entire school to file into the gym for tight space—between the tires of another an assembly. Each class was to go up in teacher’s trailer—several blocks over front and sing a few songs. My still-shy from mine. kindergarteners and I had prepared a The principal made no comment on rather muted rendition of “The People our “performance,” but briefly menon the Bus Go Up and Down!” and my tioned FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome). nerves were working overtime. What if At the time, I’d never heard of it. Later, I couldn’t show all those watching eyes I learned it was related to alcohol intake that I could teach, that I could manage by a woman during pregnancy, and my kids? that could result in a broad range of But our song went without incident, behavioral and learning challenges in her and I wished I could hug each kid for child. Of course, it was not unique to the doing well, which was simply not done. reservation. I’d learned to lasso in my usual froth of

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“It took,” my principal said, with a slight smile, “strawberry ice cream to get her to come out.”

Verlin Biggs

When I finally gathered my wits enough to grab a paper to swat it, it had lithely glided off, as though I had only imagined its presence. Now, there were Spider Crawl two of us living in my trailer. That night, I left all the lights on. I lay One evening about dusk, I was doing rigid, my eyes checking each groove of lesson plans in my school-housing trailer the paneling, the ceiling tiles, the bare sitting at my table—a turned-over cardfloor around my sleeping bag and its thin board box, topped with a brown glass foam mattress—then back again. And bottle found along the road. Some sage again. brush stuck in it Next day made a bouquet. at school, still As I sat in my shaken, I asked one chair—my the school nurse folding lawn chair what to do. She I’d brought with snorted, then me from home—I shrugged and felt a strange pull said I should just just beyond the shake my shoes nape of my neck. out each morning There was no like everyone else question that I was did. Or put my there alone. But bedposts in stew my entire being felt cans filled with as if someone was water, so spiders watching me. couldn’t get to my Slowly bed. But I didn’t glancing over my have any bedshoulder, my gaze posts, since my froze on a smallish “mattress” rested black spot on the flat on the floor. beat-up paneling Each morning about three feet I shook my shoes above my head. out as if they had Dorothy Brooks near the Shiprock, Shiprock, New Mexico, 1982. hundred dollar It was moving, although in slow bills stuck in them. motion—methodiBut the spider cally lifting one delicate black leg after remained elusive—gambling on her own another, inching towards me. game. I jerked. From the angle I was looking, I could clearly see it was not just an ordiThe Shiprock’s Spring Splash nary spider. On its underside, I glimpsed Shiprock, the rock, had a thousand the notorious red fiddle mark of a black faces. Each one was subtlely different, widow. I’d never seen one in my life, but and each appearance was magnificent in I knew its markings and its reputation. its own way.

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E S S A Y On an especially gorgeous spring weekend, the kind, retired husband of a beligaana teacher asked me if I would like to go see the Shiprock up close while the desert was in bloom. We had chatted at times over at the track where I jogged and where he walked his two dogs. The next day we bounced along as he maneuvered his pick-up along the faint tracks that surrounded the rock. They seemed like a horizontal weaving all in themselves, and I soon gave up trying to memorize the way. I’d never been up close to the rock before.When he pulled over in the chamisa and scrub brush and we got out, we stood in the midst of such carpets of verdant bloom that I gasped. Not visible from the main road, the splash of orange and yellow poppies, delicate bluebells, and crimson Indian paintbrush seemed perfectly at home wafting in the breeze, against the stark and usually parched backdrop. Scattered on the earthen, cracked floor—as if tossed by handfuls—were half-inch cubes of transparent crystals glittering in the sun’s rays—nature’s own recipe for glass: lightning strikes on desert sand. Those wild flower seeds, so hidden during the trying winter—how they

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stuck it out, I thought. Through all those wailing winds. At that moment, my glance landed on a cluster of white anemones at my right foot. Twined around its base was a coral snake, its black, red and yellow bands blending perfectly with the palette before me. . . .

Postscript: 2011, Thirty Years Later

My knife slices segments like sun rays as I pare my morning orange, arrange them around my saucer, each one a memory of Southwest light blazing on my Fourth of July white skin that ached to stay, to keep those beligaana-teacher years on the Rez. I separate sections for the bleating sheep wedged in the Navajo Trading Post corral, their coats thick as cottonwood fluff—blanketing parsed earth in spring. And for Patrick, his grimy fists scrubbing tears, refusing to move to first grade because he wouldn’t leave me. For scrawny little Manuelita, hell-bent to rodeo, pitching crazy on an old ram. Finally, for five-year-old Rebecca, the soles of her moccasins brushing earth’s pulse in the pow-wow’s constant circle— grace rising from her like fog cresting Shiprock at sun-up.

In 2012 Dorothy Brooks’ chapbook of poems, Swamp Baby (Finishing Line Press), was released, and she was also a Writer in Residence for the Glen Arbor (MI) Art Association. She holds bachelor’s degrees in painting/art history and in music, and a Master’s in Music (flute), all from Michigan State University. In 2011 she was a Merit Award winner in the Atlanta Review Poetry International Competition and took honorable mentions in both the Wild Leaf Press and Passager poetry competitions. Her recent poetry has appeared in Persimmon Tree, Washington Square Review, Driftwood, Eleventh Muse, Temenos, Blast Furnace, Border Crossing, Rockhurst Review, Enizagam, Deep Waters, and the centennial 200 New Mexico Poems. While in Shiprock, she spent a summer through Middlebury College at Bread Loaf, VT, as part of its rural teachers’ network. Earlier, she was the national winner of TESOL’s Ruth Crymes Fellowship for summer graduate study at Teachers College, Columbia University, and later was the Fine Arts Specialist for the state of Michigan Department of Education. W EBER T H E C ON T EMPOR A R Y W E S T


POE T R Y

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

Wealth   When it was over   everything dust—           blown— chickens, ducks, horses, plows— Model A, Mark III—        Dad still keeps the key mounted to this tin shed wall.   Dust, then,           everything blown—   Dust, Dust, Dust.   Still they came     around asking for whatever he held                 to feed,     eleven of them he carried and the others,     dozens.   Grandpa the generous gave his last rhyme in riddle rhythms without capital consensus.   “I thought you were rich.” They said.   As Granddad and his family walked away from this repossessed dugout, chunk of ground, earthen home.   Flushed and empty, chin up, Cherokee.  

Michael Wutz


POE T R Y “Am, my family’s alive.” He affirmed.     Shaking his head loose from assumption he had anything left to give.   As if he’d ever been fund wealthy longer than a week.   Still Granny fed them before they walked on.   He insisted.    She couldn’t imagine “Wealth” continued                      any other way. It was their manner.  Their spark.   Once, his land had put out, he gave away ‘cause others called, split between closer relatives who camped all alongside throughout.   Until it was done.   Back to corn, squash, beans—tomatoes. Back to working for railroads, farmers, farriers, friends, foe.   Back to the shoulder plow, another hold, far from rooted homes, rotted worlds behind them, then the dust,                   dust,     dust,     dust.   Still, in this world, down generations now. Others come wanting              something                        they’re sure we have.   We pull out our checkbooks, cards, overdraw ourselves each draft— feed them—

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Taxonomy Mornings made delirious, scrambling into thread out from dreaming, wrangling ways past delusion into streets unpaved, unproven, unmet. It was hard— over, no sunnyside—easy—and the only yolk—seated sky— rose streaming over the lot of us quickened in some strain no corona could bear resting lean toward. Then the mesa sat standing wayside, case some giants made their way back into meantime, met us here, met us. We were tabooed, shunned, mocked and on our mettle most any pierce of day. Principal struck blows to show we deserved no mercy. It was splintering. Holes bored blisters each smacking wave. We were deserving. Wave after wave first grade took the test out from me. Never did spill again, no matter the syndrome. We were anything but beggars, so we scraped by, held up. We flung ourselves into every angle withheld our curve. Split loose from whatever held on. Motown made our mercy. Only soothe in western rooms rounded in radio waves gleaning out the insides of maternal mind. Unkind charge firing synapse beyond reason goals. She moved through it like lightning, charging each wave with serious challenge, but nothing made it bearable and hands down was just a game called brag. Only hands down we laid was ball courts. Home front was daily challenge, there was nothing certain other than each day just like the last. Lest they moved you, sent you off to foster somewhere no one warned might reckon. Sent you streaming. Gave you up like paper. Tossed, crumpled, straightened up and smoothed out flat. That was that. It was nothing you’d remember, but we do. Still taste that strangeness surrounds ones who go between, move through other worlds while in this one. No one lives like we do, least it seems so, always on the mind. Why? Never time to question and still don’t know. Only thing we know we are different and not like you and even though we try three times harder it never works out right. No, nothing takes the sting of it, or scent either. We look off, sound off, give off a presence everyone else knows stay away and they do, so far from us we walk sideways vanishing points return to horizons soaking us in, distinguishing us. Mettle in our mouths as well, steely, and steal we did, still do, no one’s got more lift than us, no one’s got more hunger. How about the time they made us breakfast, real one, over

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POE T R Y that pancake house off of 40, remember? Dad’s Christmas to us right before seeing her in The Pavilion, little dish of butter looks like ice cream to kids like us. Made the eggs slide over easy just like he did before the madness. Man this is rough country, get that straight. Mettle this!

Waiting for Light

for Ted Click click click on maple— says she’s seen some sense of light—   This rise, we’ll move like prairie wolves toward whatever’s open, whatever receives poor attempts at living, mutt and me, we’ll be quicker than the clicker she should be trained with,     now nestled in pockets, in coats not ready for cold     not come in time unlighted. Still a sense of it here is where we wring     fear from fellows born to page, pealing peel now pulp, once slash-sewn fodder, click tickling ivories  atop some far forgotten upright chance— across a keyboard floor we move to— Is it the last of us, what leads us?                                              Past the last window where each of us finds light, dust? Whether it coal on cars, the 4:11, or voices sometimes pressed to make the curve, make the state shine.   Shine on they say, and in this near light embodying morning, does.   Coal heads east on the 4:11 sounding through sleepy streets rumbling brick pavement, glass panes.   Time for tea, or coffee, maybe Sumatran, or Rooibos, something imported, stamped.

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Tornado-like whirring winds up, down rails, velocity unknown, little matter, inside this wood-floored, plaster-walled room. Where the dog and I lie waiting for sunrise, waiting for light.

Ted’s Cranes             for Kooser     Parachute glide down to Platte cool. Must be a half-million of ‘em landed last night. All I can see is the poem Ted wrote when hard  freeze paralyzed them there, ice hardened round their long legs fastened death impending til shots took life and fire carcasses. Here, evening was gentle this time. Incoming let down into flow with a bit of morrow probable.

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke is the author of Dog Road Woman and Off-Season City Pipe (poetry), Rock Ghost, Willow, Deer (a memoir), and Blood Run (a verse-play). Hedge Coke has edited eight additional collections, including Sing: Poetry of the Indigenous Americas, Effigies, and the soon to be released Effigies II. She has been awarded fellowships/residencies with the Lannan Foundation, the Weymouth Center for the Arts, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, Hawthornden Castle, the MacDowell Colony, Great Plains Center, and her honors include an American Book Award and two endowed chairs. She is a poet, writer, performer, editor, and activist. She came of age cropping tobacco and working fields, waters, and in factories.

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F I C T I O N

Duane Niatum

The One Who Dreams of Honey More Than Bee or Bear

A

grandfather and grandmother of the Seventh lodge, in the heart of the country of the Strong People, were sad and walking down the path with eyes hidden beneath dark lids. A granddaughter’s passionate and reckless act had thrown their hearts to the ground. She was a girl they loved with the utmost fondness and had been named Strawberry Child because she was born under the Moon of Red Berries and her skin, as a baby, smelled like strawberries. This story found a Š Denton Lund voice during the season the people went into the forest to pick wild mint, young ferns and other plants that they used for food and medicine. On such days you could see flowers blaze skyward from their green shoots to lure the bees into a zigzag fertile dance. All across the valley to the edge of the sea, you could hear the hum and smell the many fragrances in the air and on the wind. Almost before the clouds lifted and the rain turned into a blue horizon, Strawberry Child blossomed and matured into a young woman. She was strong and eager to give herself in service to the community. The elders were glad for the help and welcomed her into their houses. These acts were not lost to the tribe, either. Thus, her family and the entire village community chose to honor her for this at the last winter feast. Still irony floated through the village air and it would not disappear. As a result, the stories of how often she cared for the elders, no mat-


ter who or where, began to change to malicious gossip and rumors of misdeeds by hostile clan members. Try hard as they could, the parents and grandparents of Strawberry Woman could not eliminate the gossip drums. The favorite daughter of the village had become pregnant and had given birth to a boy. What the gossip drums never tired of expressing was that there was no husband for the young woman, or father for the child. So the grandparents counseled the parents that they should gather the village people into the ceremonial longhouse to find out who the father was. The grandparents suggested that before the people gathered in the lodge that they be painted with lines of red and black, the sacred colors of their ancestors and land. They believed that with a special song and drum the father would be discovered. And soon afterwards, when everyone was seated in a circle, the grandparents brought the child into the center of the people. After the welcome song was over, the grandparents let the child crawl around the circle in one direction to look at each person until the father was revealed. As the child slowly crawled and looked at each person in the family, it passed those dressed in their finest bark and mountain goat capes and clothes. The parents and grandparents suddenly noticed someone a bit strange in the lodge. There was an old man who sat close to the entrance and he was holding a rattle whose voices speak of mountain and sea. They felt slightly uncomfortable as the hair on their necks and arms started to rise. They were unnerved when they looked at this old man a little more closely; they were startled to see that he had the slime of the devilfish over his entire body from head to toe. Their noses filled with the stench almost before they saw it glisten in the firelight. The grandmother let out a barely audible “Cho, Cho,” when she realized the slime was running out from the sides of his eyes and down his face in a tiny stream. On the second time the child crawled around the circle in the opposite direction, it went straight up to the old man and smiled when their eyes met. You could hear flying around the circle like a titmouse, “O, Cho, Cho.” The old man brought his cedar hat with Raven and Killer Whale’s face looking at the people close to the child’s head and winked. The people were still “ooing and ahing,” and this deep-sea exchange between the old man and baby went over their heads and up the smoke-hole in a fire dance. As if on cue, the people started croaking and snickering at the old man. They called him “Old Slime Face,” and plugged their noses and pointed their fingers at him in jest. They thought the dirt that covered his body and face made the mud around skunk cabbages in the bog look like the cleanest surface on any red log of the forest or spirit. The grandfather asked the baby to crawl around the circle a third time. The baby sang to itself as it made its way around the lodge to crawl right in front of the old man. The people held their breaths as the boy jumped into the old man’s lap. After the child wrapped his arms around the neck of the old one, the man said to the little one, “You’ve found your

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F I C T I O N father and I’m as happy as our brother, the bear, at salmon running time.” It did not take long for the people to discover that the man was *Kekaiax and that he had borrowed the slime from the devilfish, the eight-armed magician from the depths of the sea. The people then stood up and began to sing and dance around the child and Kekaiax. They swayed like crows in their capes and felt at ease after seeing that the old man was only Kekaiax, an elder with secret powers that come from dreams spun like threads through the heart. They sighed and lowered their heads at this old fisherman, glad he was not some evil spirit bent on turning the village into little more than three or four mounds of crushed shells baking like fry bread in the summer sun. The people had not forgotten that this village elder had brought them many wonderful gifts and they were grateful for receiving them. Kekaiax was a father who helped them down the survival road. They knew that this man kept the village from disappearing like ashes on the wind. He was the one who brought food for the elders and the sick when nobody else in the village had the will or the means to do so. Therefore, the elders and parents of Strawberry Woman knew it was best to forgive his momentary bouts of lust on the occasional nights he chased the young women like a mountain goat with horns tangled in the stars. The people could even laugh with him who howled at the moon hanging over the village, the sky’s wandering flower, and with its stigmas bursting into flame. *Kekaix, a popular figure in our oldest stories. He is not a shaman but a village elder with special medicine powers.

Duane Niatum, a Jamestown S’Klallam tribal member, holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. His poems, stories and essays have appeared in over one hundred magazines and newspapers in the U.S. and Europe. He has won many awards, including The National Book Award. The Pull of the Green Kite, his eighth volume of poetry, was published in spring 2011.

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A R T

Zig Jackson “Buffalo getting up in the Grass” Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara

Tribal Photographs in a New Light— Reframing Hollywood and the American Imaginary

Kennecott Copper Mine, Tooele, Utah, gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 in., 2000.

I use photography to document the everyday life experience of today’s Indian, at once bringing a human face to contemporary Native America, while revealing the underlying issues and obstacles which incessantly plague us, undermining the very fabric of our culture and threatening our continued existence as a people.


My name is Zig Jackson. Rising Buffalo is my Indian name. I am of Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara descent and was raised on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota. For as long as I can remember, art has been my passion. An integral part of my culture, art to me is innate. As a child, I remember playfully fighting with my brothers over government commodity boxes which we used to sketch on. Commodities were U.S.-subsidized foods given to us by the government. My primary education came from the government Indian boarding school system. It was at St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota, that I initially received formal training in sketching and painting. For my secondary education, I went to the Intermountain Indian School in Brigham Entering Zig’s Indian Reservation, City Hall, San Francisco, California, gelatin silver print, 16 x City, Utah, where I first 20 in., 1997. picked up a camera. There I gained an awareness of all Native American needs and problems—such as poverty, alcoholism, and suicide—realizing that all Indian people are confronted with the same obstacles. Until then, I had believed this to be true only of my own tribe. Continuing on to college at Northeastern Oklahoma State University, I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in education. There I proceeded to build a solid foundation in art, studying from a Kiowa-Comanche painter—David Williams—and from Johnson Bobb, a Choctaw painter and jeweler. As well, under the tutelage of two Sauk and Fox Indians—Grace and Gail Thorpe—I learned sculpture and pottery. Pursuing my interest in photography, I then went on to the University of New Mexico to study with Tom Barrow, Betty Hahn, Rod Lazorick, and Patrick Nagatani. During this time, I also taught photography at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe with Meridal Rubenstein, a nationally known photographer. In 1992, seeking an advanced degree in photography, I entered the San Francisco Art Institute, graduating with a Master of Fine Arts degree in May of 1994. The following year I was awarded a Residency Fellowship at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California, where I continued exploring several recurrent themes in my work including cultural identity, representation, and appropriation.

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In January 1997, I received a Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation Grant for excellence in the photographic arts, and a culminating exhibition, “Entering Zig’s Indian Reservation,” ran from October to mid November at the American Indian Contemporary Arts Center in San Francisco. In 1999, I was awarded a National Millennium Survey Grant to participate in a group exhibition in the year 2000. I was both honored and gratified to learn, in early 2005, that I was World’s Largest Indian Reservation, I-40, New Mexico, gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 in., 2003.

Indian Man in San Francisco, Indian Man on Bus, San Francisco, gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 in., 2000.

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Indian Man in San Francisco, Indian Man Waiting for Bus, San Francisco, gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 in., 2000.

the first Native American photographer whose work was collected by the Library of Congress, when 12 of my images were acquired by its Prints and Photographs Division. Later that year, along with the Jonson Gallery of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, I received the first Beaumont Newhall Award for Photographic Excellence from the New Mexico Humanities Council. Currently, I am teaching photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia and exhibiting my work at various venues throughout the country. As a native artist in contemporary America, I intend my work to be both provocative and educational, carrying an especially urgent message. In one sense, it is intensely personal, yet, in another— by virtue of my background and native roots, as part of an indigenous group struggling for autonomy in the shadow Indian Man in San Francisco, Painted Ladies, San Francisco, gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 in., 2000.

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Mr. Flea Market Man, Tesuque, New Mexico, gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 in., 1992.

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In today’s world, we are inundated with images of Indians in the media, Hollywood, and contemporary consumer society, yet the Native American remains an enigma. The subject of legend and popular fantasy, s/he is commonly viewed as an ageless anachronism forever frozen in the past. Lone Veteran, Lakota, Little Bighorn Monument Crow Agency Montana, gelatin silver print, 20x24 in., 1996. 54

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of a dominant one—my work cannot escape an implicit politicism. Dealing with a culture in transition and its fight to survive within the confines of a foreign social structure and economic framework, my imagery explores the inherent ironies engendered by the confrontation of two opposing cultures and belief systems—including contemporary issues of identity and representation, displacement, land rights, indigenous sovereignty, and the ambiguity of cultural boundaries. In today’s world, we are inundated with images of Indians in the media, Hollywood, and contemporary consumer society, yet the Native American remains an enigma. The subject of legend and popular fantasy, s/he is commonly viewed as an ageless anachronism forever frozen in the past, as exemplified by tired and hackneyed characterizations such as the “noble savage,” the stoic and ruthless warrior, the nubile, buckskin-clad maiden, the all-knowing shaman and spiritual guru, etc. Even today, after centuries of coexistence, the real Indian remains an elusive paradox to the majority of non-native society. As an Indian artist, I feel a responsibility to deconstruct the pervasive myths and misconceptions about Native Americans, in order to reveal more accurate and informed representations. I use my art as a means of de-mythologizing my own history and breaking down the prevailing stereotypes, social constructs, paternalistic attitudes, and romanticized images perpetuated by popular media and folklore. In contrast to the seductive and glamorized (or alternately, demonized) caricatures that thrive in Hollywood and the collective American imagination, my images reveal a far different reality—one of a people in transition, a traditional indigenous culture desperately struggling to survive in the midst of a rapidly changing technological society. Attempting to counteract centuries of entrenched bias and misrepresentation, I use photography to document the everyday life experience of today’s Indian, at once bringing a human face to contemporary Native America, while revealing the underlying issues and obstacles which incessantly plague us, undermining the very fabric of our culture and threatening our continued existence as a people. Take a Picture of the Indian/Take a Picture with the Indian, Cherokee, North Carolina, gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 in., 2000.

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Yellowtail Veterans, Crow, Montana, gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 in., 1993.

Chippewea-Cree Veterans, Rocky Boys Indian Reservation, Montana, 2002. 56 W EBER

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Snack Bar, Cones, and Shakes, I-40, Arizona, gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 in., 2001.

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Austin Two Moons Stoic, Northern Cheyenne, Busby, Montana, gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 in., 2000.

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Austin Two Moons Stoic, Northern Cheyenne, Busby, Montana, gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 in., 2000. S PRING / S UMMER 2 0 1 3

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Indian Photographing Tourist Photographing Indian Series, Two Ladies, Taos, New Mexico, gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 in., 2004.

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Pow Wow Gift Shop, Cherokee, North Carolina, gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 in., 2004.

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F I C T I O N

Frances Washburn

Scenic Fourth of July 1967

Michael Wutz

H

eat waves flickered across the road and the wide, dusty street of Scenic as the two car convoy crossed the east-west railroad tracks driving north to Harley and Annie Ferrell’s Longhorn Bar at the northern end of what Scenic called its town. Sissy rode shotgun with Clayton Red Bird driving his old Chevy Impala, the back seat crammed with guitars, a bass, microphones, leads and all the other paraphernalia that they needed to play their gig in the Longhorn after the rodeo, except for the big amps and Melvin’s drum kit, which were in the back of Melvin’s new Ford pickup behind them, padded with old raggedy blankets and tarped over against the dirt and dust and the impossibility of rain. Sissy’s cousin Sonny rode shotgun for Melvin, but instead of a gun, he held a can of Bud between his knees while he popped another for Melvin. Clayton disapproved. Sissy watched his face souring up as he glanced at them in his rear view mirror. “You’d think a man like Sonny, just a few months out of seminary, wouldn’t be a drunk,” Clayton said. “I don’t think he should ever have been in the seminary in the first place,” Sissy said. “They probably kicked him out for drinking.” “Can’t you do something with him?” Clayton asked.


F I C T I O N “I’m his cousin, not his keeper, Clayton. We’ve been around this pole before.” When Clayton stopped the car, Sissy jumped out to move the sawhorses that Harley had put out to reserve parking spaces for the band in front of the bar, then Melvin and Clayton backed up to the crumbling concrete steps of the Longhorn to unload the equipment. The bar and the entire town, such as it was, was already doing a brisk business to judge by the number of vehicles parked on both sides of the street and lining the two hundred yards of road out to the rodeo grounds on the north side of the Longhorn. Packs of kids ran up and down the dusty street shouting and taunting each other and flinging firecrackers. The older boys had traded in the traditional ponies of the past for cars, tricked out with loud mufflers and fancy paint that did not improve upon their clunker status. Melvin pushed past Sissy, carrying a drum in front of him that made his already big belly look twice sized. Sweat dripped from his nose onto the blanket that wrapped the drum. Sonny held the door open, leaning against it, legs crossed at the ankle, a beer in his left hand with the pinkie finger extended at a socially correct angle. Clayton gave him a look as he passed with an armload of equipment. Sonny smiled, showing almost every white tooth he possessed. “Do you deliberately like to piss him off?” Sissy asked. Sonny turned his big eyes on her. With his glasses on his big nose and his skinny frame, he looked like Jiminy Cricket. “Nope. I just like my beer. If he didn’t want me to start on the beer so early, he shouldn’t have asked us to show up eight hours before we have to play.” “I think the idea was that if he made the band show up eight hours early, he could be sure you showed up,” Sissy said. Sissy stepped up into the bar and sank into six inches of fresh sawdust on the floor, back into the make believe nineteenth century of old movies. The place smelled like cedar shavings, stale beer, and cigarette smoke. Within the long, low-ceilinged room, the bar stretched all along the right side, booths on the left and a single row of tables with cheap Japanese Indian blankets stapled on for tablecloths occupying the middle space in between the posts that supported the ceiling. Far in the back, was a dance floor and an elevated bandstand in the corner where Melvin and Clayton were setting up the instruments. The stools at the bar were occupied mostly by men—old, young, fancy dressed or raggedy men talking about the rodeo, who had won the roping events that had taken place that morning, and who would win the rough stock riding events that would start in a couple of hours. The consensus best guess for the bull riding winner was Pete Broussard, maybe because Pete had his fat ass sitting on a stool at one end of the bar, and Pete was known to be quarrelsome if he was crossed. For a fat man, he was quick with his mouth and his fists. His older brother,

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Howard, a slightly more peaceable sort of man and a lot better looking, sat at the other end, so if anyone talked against Pete’s chances, Howard would hear about it. A couple of women stood at the bar, too, but most of them sat in booths or at the tables, a few with their husbands or boyfriends sitting sullenly beside them when they would much rather be batting the breeze with the boys at the bar. Howard’s girlfriend, Viola Bianco, sat by herself at a table in the middle, a white initial embroidered handkerchief wrapped around her sweating beer can. She didn’t have to extend her pinkie finger to demonstrate her class; everyone knew it. Her father was a big shot local doctor down in Jackson, and Viola was a clerk at the local clinic who did no work and didn’t have to. It was said that she threw a fit when her parents moved the family out here to what she referred to as the armpit of the world, but Viola didn’t have much earning capacity of her own so she came along. Besides, she had a bastard 3-year-old son that Viola’s mother held hostage. If Viola wanted mama to keep care of the kid, Viola had to move here, too. She looked up and nodded as Sissy walked past. They weren’t friends, but never snubbed each other either. It was obvious to Sissy why Viola had picked Howard Broussard. He might be an Indian, but he was good-looking and along with Pete and their parents owned the biggest, most prosperous ranch for miles around. And then Sissy saw Zooey Broussard, Pete’s wife, sitting by herself at another table. She was pretty in an overripe way, if you ignored the side of her face with the puckered knife scar that ran from the base of her left nostril up to the corner of her eye where the scar tissue pulled the lid down slightly. She had married Pete Broussard the weekend after the high school graduation ceremony. Sissy kept on Zooey’s good side by keeping away from her, but she had a few high school friends who hadn’t sense enough to do the same and had gotten beat up by Zooey for nothing or little of nothing. That was all five years ago. Sissy wanted to go to college, but she never could figure out how to pay for it, so she waitressed at the Steak House in Jackson, lived with her parents, and played music with Clayton Red Bird’s band almost every Saturday night. Singing was what kept her sane. Or the thing that kept her insane, if you listened to her dad’s point of view. “Sissy! Sissy!” Clayton hollered and beckoned. Zooey squinted her blackberry eyes and stared at Sissy as she walked past. Sissy decided not to go to the ladies room by herself that night. The one person she wanted to see, Gordon Charbonneau, wasn’t there, or at least not yet. He was a friend of the Broussard brothers, a neighbor whose family had a ranch, too, but never as prosperous as the Broussards’. He was some years older than Sissy, well past thirty, tall and thin with the kind of Indian good looks that you see in pictures on the back of match books with an invitation: Draw Me. He hadn’t been back on the rez long. Sissy hadn’t known him before he came back, but

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F I C T I O N the first time she saw him when she was on duty in the café, she had asked an older waitress, Lynda, who is that? “He spends every Saturday night in the VFW bar and the rumors are he doesn’t do anything else. Besides, I hear he has a white wife back east and a kid. He’s bad news,” Lynda had said, but Sissy thought she might want to find out for herself if Gordon was really bad news. Now as she walked back to help with the setup, Annie came in through the back door, hand in hand with Julius Caesar, who promptly grabbed a handful of sawdust and threw it at Sissy with a chittering laugh. Julius was a monkey that a friend of Harley’s couldn’t manage anymore, so Harley and Annie had taken the beast in. Letting go of Annie’s hand, Julius ran to the bar, climbed a customer who squirmed and fought the unseen foe. On the bar top, Julius skittered from one end to the other while Harley slapped at him with his apron yelling until Julius made a flying leap into Harley’s arms. The customers laughed nervously. “He’s just a big old baby,” Harley said. “Show him your tricks, Julius.” He sat the monkey down on the bar top. The nearest customers leaned away. “Julius. Julius Caesar! Take your picture, Julius?” Harley mimed holding a camera to his face. The monkey turned around and mooned him, turned back and mooned the customer whose body he had just ascended to get onto the bar. The other customers laughed. Julius ran the length of the bar grabbing a bag of potato chips from the rack as he passed. He climbed up and sat on the shelf next to a stuffed two-headed calf, ripped open the bag scattering chips and munched the remaining ones with his mouth open, dropping crumbs. “See?” Harley said spreading his arms expansively. “Wouldn’t harm a flea.” Annie shook her head. The customers watched the monkey warily. Annie ran to and fro carrying trays loaded with drinks and beer, her skinny body bent over the trays, gray streaked hair wisping around her face. Harley stood behind the bar mixing drinks and tapping beer as sweat rings grew under his arms. Julius darted here and there following Annie, sometimes climbing onto the bar, or up to sit with the twoheaded calf. Not yet 8 o’clock, but the place was full. The older folks had gone home; the cowboys’ work at the rodeo was done, and now it was time for the younger people and a few of the diehard older ones, the helpless and the hapless, to party. On the stage, the Red Birds had already tuned all the instruments. Melvin planted himself on his drum throne, pillows stuffed into the back of his bass drum, what for, Sissy never understood. Sonny stood with his usual casualness leaning against the back wall, while Clayton tapped the mike, listened for feedback, made some adjustments. Sissy stood there with her old Gibson bought out of saved tips from waitressing. Singing on stage took her to another world where for a few hours she was not herself, but a person people listened to instead of

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expected to listen, a person who didn’t have problems or no directions or no future. In that moment, there was no yesterday and no tomorrow, only the music. Clayton nodded at the others, and Sonny began the repetitive base riff that always started every gig. The crowd buzz quieted a bit. “Welcome everyone to the Scenic Fourth of July Dance. There ain’t no place like this place anywhere near this place so this must be the place! Annie—Harley—take a bow!” Annie waggled the fingers of one hand distractedly over her head and almost dropped her tray. Harley waved from behind the bar. Julius grinned and hooted. “Not you, Julius,” Clayton said and got a laugh. “We ARE the Red Bird All Indian Traveling Band, playing the best country music in South Dakota and maybe this entire great nation of ours, maybe even the entire world. We play places like this; we play private parties, weddings, graduations, anniversaries, birthdays, and bar mitzvahs—well, actually we never played a bar mitzvah because we don’t know what that is, but if anyone wants a country band for a bar mitzvah, the Red Bird All Indian Traveling Band is ready to go. “Here we have, leaning against the wall, our very own hailing from Porcupine Creek, the former almost priest, cat burglar, virgin repairman, night watchman, and all around best bass player in the world— Soooonnnnyyyy Roberts!” While Melvin laid down a drum roll, Sonny struck a thumping chord on his bass, bent his knees, leaned back at an angle, flung both arms in the air, hopped forward on his tiptoes two steps forward, two steps back. The crowd laughed and clapped. “AND right behind me throwing his not inconsiderable weight into bashing those drums is our own, hailing from Ghost Hawk Creek over on the Rosebud rez, that biscuit tossing, goat pill flipping, cow chip pitching, cattle rustling—I wasn’t supposed to say that last one— Mellllvinnn Conway!” Melvin pushed back his drum throne, stood up raising his hands holding his drum sticks over his head and circled his drum three times while Sonny and Sissy played the repetitive Ta Dum . . . Ta DUM . . . Ta DUM . . . Ta Dum . . . diddly, diddly, diddly, dee . . . and over again. “AND we have here on rhythm guitar and sometimes lead guitar when I don’t feel like it, our very own, hailing from Jackson not quite Pine Ridge not quite Rosebud, hash slinging, face slapping, song warbling, best female guitar picker on this rez and many another—Sssssiiisssyyy Roberts, cousin of the great Sonnnyyyy Roberts!” Sissy took offense to that part about the best female guitar picker, which implied that there were a whole lot of men better than her, but Clayton didn’t seem to get it when she asked him to quit saying that, and quit including Cousin Sonny in her introduction. He thought he was being gallant, but Sissy raised her arms over her head anyway, stuck her left boot toe behind her right boot heel, lowered her chin a

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F I C T I O N bit and dropped a deep curtsy. The crowd clapped. When she raised her eyes she saw Zooey Broussard though the smoke sitting at a front table, right in front of the dance floor that had been swept clear of sawdust. She was not clapping while she stared at Sissy. Pete sat beside her, his sullen face shiny with sweat. Howard Broussard and Viola sat at the same table, and at the table behind them, Buffalo Ames. “AND last and most important is me, Clayton Red Bird hailing from Mission Town over on the Rosebud rez, that metropolitan, cosmopolitan center of intellectual and social superiority because I was born there, and I am here along with Sonny, Melvin, and Sissy to give you all a good time! We are going to start with an old Hank Williams tune, so grab your lady, get up here, and hold her close while you dance the night away.” Clayton stepped back from the mike and ran through the intro. Sissy stepped up to the mike and started to sing. Your cheatin’ heart, will make you weep You’ll cry and cry and try to sleep Oh, shit, why did he pick that one? Zooey Broussard stared at Sissy like she was singing directly to her. Sissy sang to the monkey who paid no attention whatsoever. When that one ended, Clayton moved on to a couple of Bob Wills tunes and then one originally recorded by Ernest Tubbs. Sissy let the music take her away, and she lived somewhere else, somewhere where people didn’t know her from babyhood, gave her a job that paid better than minimum wage; where she didn’t have to smile at people who let their kids make messes in public that they would never let them do at home; where her dad understood what she cared about and cared that she cared; and where somebody wonderful, please god, somebody loved her. They played all the old time songs for the first set saving the newer stuff for later, while the beer flowed and cigarette ends glowed, smoke floated and people hugged each other on the dance floor and sometimes laughed and smiled. Joe Hiller, the young kid who had won the saddle bronc event earlier in the afternoon, sat on a stool at the bar with a couple of other guys. Never mind that he wasn’t twenty-one. In the Longhorn Bar, if you were too young and short to reach the bar to get a drink, Harley would push it under, or so the saying went. Pete went out through the back door and didn’t come back. Buffalo leaned over Zooey and said something. She smiled as he led her on to the crowded dance floor. Sissy sang. Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone Let’s pretend that we’re together, all alone If she could have held her breath and sang at the same time, she would have. Nobody else seemed to notice as Buffalo’s big hand crept down Zooey’s back closing in on the top of her buttocks because over in the corner booth by the front door somebody was shouting and

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somebody else was shouting back and then two bodies tumbled out of a booth onto the sawdust covered floor and arms started flailing and a woman screamed. Clayton and Sonny and Melvin played on and Sissy sang louder. Julius ran over and screamed at the fighters, darting in and out and getting his own licks in. Harley came around the end of the bar with a Louisville slugger and waded into the melee. Over the music, which nobody was listening to by that time, Sissy heard Harley yell, “Knock it off!” Harley went to swing the bat, but caught Julius up side of the head on the back swing. The monkey went down screaming and holding its head, while the downswing of the bat caught one of the fighters in the back. He didn’t make a sound, but a pair of men from the bar rushed over and pulled the fighters apart. Harley stepped back. The dancers had all stopped to watch, except Buffalo and Zooey who stood in one spot barely moving their feet, their faces less than an inch apart. The two fighters stood facing each other, swaying and breathing hard, each one held up by one of the men from the bar, while the crowd shouted for their favorite. Through the din Sissy heard Harley shout, “You two done? You gonna behave yourselves now? If the answer is no, then there’s the door.” First one and then the other of the fighters stood up straighter. They looked at each other a minute longer, then the shorter man slowly reached out his arm and clapped the other one on the shoulder. The two of them hugged and walked back to their booth. “All right then,” Harley said. As he turned to go back to the bar, he saw Julius on the floor holding his head, no longer screaming, but rocking back and forth. “Julius!” Harley yelled. “What the hell happened to you?” The crowd tittered and then roared with laughter. Harley knelt and took Julius by the hand. Julius leaned his head against Harley’s leg and pulled himself up. Harley led him back behind the bar and sat him on a stool. Sissy finished the last line of the song just as Pete came back in through the back door, walking quickly and looking around as if he was afraid he’d missed something, which he had, but not exactly what he thought he’d missed. Buffalo and Zooey stepped apart. Buffalo went out through the same door Pete had just come through, and Zooey walked unsteadily to her table and eased herself into a chair. Clayton gave Sissy a heads up look. “We need a happy song,” he said and turned to Melvin. “Give us the beat.” Melvin started that familiar drum beat that everyone associates with Indian music. BOOM boom boom boom, BOOM boom boom boom.

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F I C T I O N Clayton nodded to her and Sissy began. Kawliga was a wooden Indian standing by the door He fell in love with an Indian maid over in the antiques store Now a lot of people think that song is not a good representation of Indians, that it’s insulting, but Sissy only ever knew one or two Indians who didn’t love it, and this crowd all loved it, joining in on the chorus. Everybody especially liked to add loud coyote howling sounds in places, which never sounded like coyotes howling, but like drunks howling trying to sound like coyotes. The band took a break then, and Sonny ordered Scotch and water for himself and a beer for Sissy. You could get any drink you wanted at the Longhorn as long as it was something by itself, something with a beer back, or something with water. Harley didn’t know what a daiquiri was and if any of his customers knew, they knew better than to order it in the Longhorn. Clayton walked around the bar socializing with this one and that one and trying to get someone to agree to hire The Red Birds for a private party. Melvin said his fat was too hot, so he took his drink and stepped out the front door for some air. Sissy was stuck at the band table with Sonny, until she saw Clayton look at her and make a circle motion with his finger in the air meaning he wanted her to circulate. Sonny stood up. “I think I see someone I need to talk to,” he said. Sissy tried to kick him under the table, but couldn’t reach him. He gave her that big toothy grin and wandered towards the bar with his drink in his hand. Julius was jumping up and down and screaming. Harley tried to grab him, but the monkey danced out of his reach, ran down to the end of the bar where Joe Hiller sat with a group of the rodeo cowboys. “Hey. Hey!” Joe yelled. “That son of a bitch stole my cigarettes!” The crowd at the bar laughed as Julius waved the pack of cigarettes over his head, still dancing out of Harley’s reach. Joe stood up on his bar stool reaching for the monkey, lost his balance and barely saved himself from a fall, not nearly as elegant and dignified as when he made that showy leap from the bronc in the arena. The monkey danced back down the bar and snatched at Joe’s Zippo, but Joe made a grab and caught the monkey by the wrist. Julius screamed. Joe yelled. The crowd roared. Joe held on, but the monkey wouldn’t drop the lighter. Julius flung his head back jerking his body from side to side, then leaned over and munched down on Joe’s arm. Joe screamed; Julius screamed and dropped both the lighter and cigarettes, ran back down the bar and leaped up onto the shelf with the two-headed calf, where he sat as if nothing had happened. Slowly and deliberately he turned around and mooned the room. Joe grabbed his cigarettes and lighter and stalked out, followed by his friends. Somebody hollered at Harley, “That monkey is losing you business, Harley!”

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Somebody else yelled, “Pretty soon all you’ll have is monkey business!” Annie coaxed Julius down from his perch and took him out through the back door. Sissy got up to work the room. She looked around, and there was Gordon Charbonneau sitting with Pete and Zooey and Howard and Viola. She took her beer over to their table. She’d chance Zooey’s irrational anger for a chance to get to know Gordon. “Hi, how you doing?” Sissy said. “All right,” Howard said. “Good job up there,” he added motioning to the stage. “Thanks,” she said and sat down by Zooey, who was too drunk to connect with a fist even if she decided to beat up on Sissy. Her hair looked like somebody had ruffled it up with dirty hands, her white shirt had a stain on the front, and the button across the middle of her chest had come undone. Her eyes fixed on Sissy’s face but didn’t focus. “Say, I know you,” she said waving her drink unsteadily. “Yup, long time now,” Sissy said. “I don’t know you,” Gordon said. His voice had a flat quality. Sissy couldn’t decide if that meant he didn’t want to know her and what the hell was she doing sitting down at the table where he was, or if that was just his natural way of speaking. “Sissy Roberts,” she said. “Guess you weren’t here when Clayton introduced us all.” She stuck out her hand. He took it in a loose way, not a firm grip. His hand was warm. She felt calluses on the palm. So, he did do some work on his family ranch. “Gordon Charbonneau,” he said and held Sissy’s gaze for a moment. “You live around here?” “All my life,” Sissy said. “Well, I grew up and went to school in Jackson.” “I’m ready to go home,” Viola said, her hand on Howard’s sleeve. “Aren’t you?” Howard took another sip from his glass. “Just a little bit longer,” he said. Viola quickly moved her hand off his arm putting both hands in her lap under the table. She still looked as cool and elegant as she had before the rodeo started. Sissy wondered how she did it, if she sprayed her entire body with a preservative just before she left her house. She and Gordon might be the only stone cold sober people in the place. Zooey sat her drink down or tried to, but bumped Sissy’s bottle of beer. It tipped sideways and foamed out with a wet gush over the Indian blanket tablecloth. “Damn it, Zooey,” Pete said pushing his chair back to avoid the beer that did not drip off the table because the blanket soaked it up. This place would smell mighty nice tomorrow, Sissy thought. “I think it’s time for us to go home,” Pete said standing up. “No,” Zooey said. “I want to drink.”

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F I C T I O N “I’ll buy you a bottle to go.” “No. I want to hear—to hear—whatsherface here sing.” She turned unfocused eyes towards Sissy. “Say do you know that song by whatsherface—D-I-V-O-R-C-E?” Pete’s face went dark. He jerked Zooey up from her chair. “I SAID it’s time to go home.” She whimpered and slapped ineffectually at his arm, but he pulled her towards the front door. She sat down in the sawdust, pulled her knees up, put her hands on her knees and her head on her hands. Howard looked at his drink, swirled the melting ice cubes. Pete walked out of the bar. “Do you play cribbage?” Gordon asked. “Yeah,” Sissy said. Her parents played that ubiquitous game all the time, but she hadn’t played in years. “Why don’t come out to my place next Saturday? Howard and Viola are coming. You can be my partner.” His partner. Sissy liked the sound of that, but the Red Birds were playing that next weekend at Interior after their rodeo. She was really sorry to tell Gordon that. “I see. How about some other time?” Sissy hated Clayton right then. He came up behind her and tapped her on the shoulder. “Let’s go,” he said. Two songs later Sissy saw Buffalo holding Zooey up by the back door, but when she looked again they were gone. When the band had finished the last set, Sissy and Sonny repeated the riff they had played at the opening while Clayton wound it up. “The Red Bird All-Indian Traveling Band will play at Interior after their rodeo in two weeks and we sure hope to see you all there . . .” Sissy didn’t pay attention to the rest of it. Two weeks. She had just told Gordon they played Interior next week, so she couldn’t go play cribbage with him. She looked around. She could tell him she had made a mistake. But he was gone. Somebody threw a beer bottle. Maybe it wasn’t aimed at Clayton, but maybe it was, and then somebody else threw a beer bottle until a rain of beer bottles crashed into the stage. One bounced off Clayton’s guitar with a crack. He cussed and ducked and pulled Sissy down beside him. “I am not playing here again unless Harley puts some chicken wire around the stage,” he said with his eyes narrowed and his teeth clenched. “And gets a bouncer. And gets rid of that god damned fucking monkey.” Out in the parking lot, Sissy helped load the equipment. She was leaning over to shove an amp farther back into Melvin’s pickup when she was bumped from behind, turned around and there was

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Zooey, swaying on her feet with a whiskey bottle grasped by the neck in one hand. “Sissy,” Zooey slurred, then stepped forward with a rush. Sissy put up her hands just as Zooey’s arms came around her neck and cold liquid from the bottle ran down the back of her shirt. “I’m sorry, Sissy. I’m so sorry,” Zooey blubbered. Sissy’s arms came up gently pushing Zooey back. “About what?” Zooey snuffled and rubbed her hand across her nose. “Everything. Just—just everything. I can’t help myself. I try, but—I can’t. That’s why I drink, you know. It’s my medicine. Takes a whole lot of it to make me believe I’m somebody else.” Sissy stepped forward and held the taller woman, who leaned her head on Sissy’s shoulder. “That’s why I sing, you know. That’s my medicine,” Sissy said.

Frances Washburn holds a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico. Her publications include two novels, Elsie’s Business and The Sacred White Turkey. A biography, Tracks on the Page: The Life and Work of Louise Erdrich, just appeared from Praeger Publishing. She lives and works in Tucson, Arizona.

Diane J. Schmidt

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E S S A Y

Gerald Vizenor

Genome Survivance

C

harles Darwin, the “gentleman genius” of natural selection, observed in The Descent of Man more than a century ago that “sympathy and cooperation” were factors of evolution. His original theories of evolution have survived the counter sentiments and refutations of pious monotheists and fundamentalists. Native American Indians have likewise survived the churchy politics of monotheism, cultures of dubious science, phrenology, blood types, arithmetic levels, and the conquest caricatures and ideologies of natural selection, only to be measured and compared once more by recent genetic codes and haplotype signatures to determine, contest, and separate origins, names, identities, and cultures. The United States government established an arithmetic blood quantum, a pernicious racial computation to register and determine Native American Indian eligibility for federal reservation membership, or citizenship, and to determine and regulate federal health, education, and other services. This obscure arithmetic and bureaucratic system was named the Chart to Establish Degree of Indian Blood.

Recent genetic science and notions of race were considered in my preparation of a new constitution for the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota. Erma Vizenor, Chief of the White Earth Reservation, appointed me the principal writer of the Constitution of the White Earth Nation. I was also a sworn delegate and served at four Constitutional Conventions. The forty delegates struggled over the appropriate language to define a citizen of the White Earth Nation.  The federal scheme of blood quantum was favored by many of the delegates who worried that they might lose certain federal entitlements that were based on arithmetic blood levels or quantification. I wrote two specific articles in the new Constitution of the White Earth Nation that satisfied the serious interests of those delegates who favored the blood quantum concession, and those delegates who insisted that genealogy or direct family descent and identity determine the actual meaning of citizenship in the White Earth Nation.   Article 1 Citizens of the White Earth Nation shall be descendants of Anishinaabeg families and related by linear descent


to enrolled members of the White Earth Reservation and Nation, according to genealogical documents, treaties and other agreements with the government of the United States. Article 2 Services and entitlements provided by government agencies to citizens, otherwise designated members of the White Earth Nation, shall be defined according to treaties, trusts, and diplomatic agreements, state and federal laws, rules and regulations, and in policies and procedures established by the government of the White Earth Nation. The Constitution of the White Earth Nation was duly ratified, after a detailed discussion of each article, by a secret vote of the official delegates on April 4, 2009, at the Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen, Minnesota.1 Genetic ancestry has never been the natural reason of native survivance, but rather a scientific and systematic means to resolve and disconnect tribal, totemic associations, and the familiar histories of native families. Natives have mingled with adventurers, consorted with various colonial missionaries, and many settlers as a course of assurance, education, and survivance, and many woodland natives eagerly participated in that premier union of the fur trade for centuries. The French, English, Spanish, Russian, and many other nations are in the bloodline, reminiscence and history of the northern hemisphere. In other words, diverse and determined native families trace their surnames and ancestry to these colony settlements, dynamic continental unions of culture and chance, the natural traces of a sense of presence, history, hard done by, and survivance.

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Cultural and totemic associations inspire the humane tropes of native visionary stories, traditions, and memoirs. The genetic tests and traces of maternal mitochondrial DNA and the signature paternal Y chromosomes, separate creation stories of families, and the actual visionary narratives of a community, by genetic markers, linear counts, and other scientific measures. Genetic ancestry is not a family. We are animals but there are no genomes of visionary totemic associations. The chance unions of humans, animals, and native families are connections by creation and trickster stories, by transmotion, or the visionary sense of natural motion, sacred and secular imagination, but not by the genetic science of haplotypes or the abstract counts and codes of ancestry. Clearly natives have created a sense of presence by emotive and ironic stories, associations, and memories, a distinct sense of presence in the natural world. Genetic ancestry creates an absence, not a humane sense of presence in historical narratives. The Biblical descent of Adam and Eve, or the genome traces and tropes of mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosomes, leaves out many significant branches of native associations and ancestors. Genetic ancestry is the most recent intrusion of scientific modernism into the diverse associations of native identity, stories of direct descent, totemic associations, and tribal relations. The primary motivation of this modernist intrusion is more cynical than racialist, more curious than chauvinistic. Yet, some reservation governments might consider genetic tests as devious evidence to determine enrollment or citizenship, and other reservations could use genetic codes of ancestry to

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E S S A Y ascertain the entitlement of per capita royalty payments by reservation casinos. The current considerations of genetic tests to determine native ancestry, however, are not as fierce or as destructive as the dubious scientific debates between the polygenists and the monogenists. Robert Bieder observed in Science Encounters the Indian, “By the end of the first two decades of the nineteenth century, when philanthropy and the churches could show few positive results from their efforts to lift the Indians, doubts were raised about whether they could really be civilized. Many such critics began to question the monogenetic assumptions, set forth in the Bible, that all mankind shared the same origin.” The racial detractors at the time “began to explain Indians’ recalcitrant nature in terms of polygenism. To polygenists Indians were separately created and were an inferior species of man” (Bieder 12). The ostensible scientists of polygenism, the theory that there were many creations, and natives were separate from other human creations, maneuvered to dominate the professional organizations and institutions of the time. The monogenists derived their persuasive authority from monotheism, the fundamental creation of humans, and reasoned that natives were merely disadvantaged by nature and culture, and could be educated and assimilated into the wider culture and dominion. Samuel Morton, a medical doctor, studied the distinctive “crania of the five races of man.” Crania Americana, his comparative study of the skulls of aboriginals, was published in 1839, at the rise of the scientific debate between the polygenists and monogenists. Bieder

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pointed out that many phrenologists at the time argued that the “brain was the organ of the mind; that the brain was composed of individual faculties that controlled personality, thought, and moral action,” and that these “faculties could be determined by protuberances on the skull; and that each race manifested its cultural traits through the shape of the cranium. Thus, phrenologists believed, each race possessed a typical, or national, cranium”(Bieder 59, 69). Morton sealed and filled the skull “cavity with mustard seed” and weighed the “seed to determine cranial volume.” Morton concluded that “Indian crania were smaller in volume” than the skulls of Caucasians. The publication of Crania Americana “provided a scientific foundation for a polygenetic racial history of man.” Morton was convinced that “Indians never could be ‘civilized’ because they lacked the necessary brains,” writes Bieder, “and what brains they had were more animal than human” (Bieder 79). Stephen Jay Gould noted that Morton had actually averaged the smaller native crania from South America with the larger native crania from North America. Morton leveraged the comparative study of crania to show larger crania for Caucasians (Gould 88). Bieder argued that the “issue of polygenism was a crucial one for a society that was splitting itself over the question of slavery, eager to expand its boundaries westward and south into Mexico, and proclaiming that none but whites should rule. The question of the capacity of the ‘inferior’ dark races for progress had tremendous political and social implications” (Bieder 83). The notions of this dubious science of racial categories have prevailed in

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popular culture, including native perceptions of human differences. Marge Anderson, for instance, formerly the elected chief executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians in Minnesota, declared that Ojibwe or Anishinaabe “tradition speaks of peace among the four colors—red, white, yellow and black—which represents the four races on earth. Sadly, some people in this world don’t show respect for all races, and they hurt others through their lack of understanding.” The notion of race and color, of course, is the primary misconception (Vizenor 172). Sadly, indeed, rather than begetting a sense of peace, the notion of four racial colors perpetuates a crude separation of humans, natives, and cultures. The four colors notion, and dubious native traditions, insinuates the cynical pseudoscience of polygenism, or the separate creation of humans that has been advanced in the past two centuries. William Warren, the Anishinaabe historian, observed more than a century ago that some native creation stories were told as a courtesy to missionaries. “These tales, though made up for the occasion by the Indian sages, are taken by his white hearers as their bona fide belief, and, as such, many have been made public, and accepted by the civilized world,” he wrote in the History of the Ojibway Nation, first published in 1885 by the Minnesota Historical Society (Warren 57, 58). The Great Spirit, in one of these stories, created three races: white, black, and the red race. “To the first he gave a book, denoting wisdom,” noted Warren. To the “second a hoe, denoting servitude and labor; to the third, or red race, he gave the bow and arrow, denoting the hunter state.” These tricky

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creation stories were translated and treasured as representations of native culture by missionaries at the time. Warren continued, “We have every reason to believe that America has not been peopled from one nation or tribe of the human family, for there are differences amongst its inhabitants and contrarieties as marked and fully developed as are to be found between European and Asiatic nations—wide differences in language, beliefs, and customs.” Warren in his history, and the Anishinaabe in their stories and teases of creation, sustained a sense of native diversity, survivance, literary irony, and modernity (Warren 58). The scientific theories of cardinal colors were advanced more than two centuries ago. Johann Friedrich Blumenbach studied crania and named “five basic races.” The five were “Mongolian, American, Caucasian, Malayan, and Ethiopian.” Moreover, “through his observations of skulls he identified the Caucasian as the original type from which other races have degenerated,” wrote Bieder. Blumenbach, in his dissertation, On the Natural History of Mankind, published in 1775, declared that the three races of color were degenerate (Bieder 61). Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party declared a similar racial superiority. The Germans proclaimed with a gruesome vengeance their racial purity as Aryans. The Jews were degenerate, including their literature and modern art. Carolus Linnaeus, the eighteenth century naturalist, created a binomial nomenclature for plans and animals, and he also classified humans. Barbara Katz Rothman pointed out in Genetic Maps and Human Imagination that Linnaeus “found five natural categories of humans, four of which were geographi-

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E S S A Y cally based.” He named and characterized five human categories: Homo sapiens Americanus, red harsh face, wide nostrils, scanty beard, obstinate, free, and ruled by customs; Homo sapiens Asiaticus, yellow, melancholy, greedy, haughty, severe, and ruled by opinions; Homo sapiens Afer, black, lazy, flat nose, silky skin, ruled by caprice; Homo sapiens Europaeus, white, serious, strong, blond hair, blue eyes, active, very smart, inventive, ruled by laws; Homo sapiens Monstrosus, those curious and strange humans. Linnaeus represented three categories of the modern human species with racial detractions and caricatures, ruled by custom, opinion, and caprice. Sapiens whites, ruled by laws, he vested with care and fair countenance (Katz 46, 47). Russell Means, the brave dancer, radical spiritualist, errant reservation politician, presidential candidate, postindian movie actor, and cruces of Indian simulations, has his own notions of race, reason, and culture. “Humans are able to survive only through the exercise of rationality since they lack the abilities of other creations to gain food through the use of fang and claw,” he declared in his autobiography Where White Men Fear to Tread. “But rationality is a curse since it can cause humans to forget the natural order of things in ways other creatures do not. A wolf never forgets his or her place in the natural order. American Indians can. Europeans almost always do” (Means 551). Means argued that he does not care about skin color, and at the same time, he noted that white is a race and “one of the sacred colors of the Lakota people— red, yellow, white and black. The four directions. The four seasons,” and the

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“four races of humanity.” He described the brew of four colors as a fifth race. “Mix red, yellow, white and black together and you got brown, the color of the fifth race. This is a natural order of things” (Means 553). Race is a racial simulation, a pseudoscience, and the duplicitous “science” of race is political, not biological; human differences are genetic, of course, but the simulations of four or more races are faux traditions, mistaken and detractive notions. “We are not separate species,” declared Rothman. “Race was a liquid concept,” but the once common metaphor of blood, as blood would show and tell blue, red, hot, cold, thicker than water, has lost practice and significance. “No longer visible, no longer divisible, race has moved inward from body to blood to genes; from solid to liquid to a new crystallization. Blood no longer tells. Race is now a code to read; the science of race is the science of decoding” (Rothman 64, 65). Families, names, visionary associations, experiences, and imagic memories, not genetic codes or racial colors, or the size of crania, are the sources of native identities. Stories create the names, and a sense of presence in the world; actions, ancestors, and memories are the sources and contingencies of recognition in native communities. Native stories are wise, tricky, and ironic. The stories of native nicknames, for instance, are imagic moments, and names are memorable experiences in many communities. Customarily, the tease of nicknames is an inclusive notice, the sanction of a presence, not an absence. Likewise, the ironic turn of nickname stories is an act of native imagination, survivance, and literary

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modernity. There are no genetic codes or trickster haplotypes of irony. “Races, as natural divisions of the human species, are thus rather like angels,” proclaimed the molecular anthropologist Jonathan Marks in his essay “The Realities of Races.” Race “now becomes the simple facts of ancestry and appearance, not something to be diagnosed or identified.” He critiqued the companies that market genetic tests to determine racial identity. The technological and statistical business is sophisticated, but the epistemology is “very primitive.” Marks concludes, “In other words, this business has far more to do with the modern culture of science that with the production of reliable knowledge.” The Human Genome Diversity Project, for instance, has collected biological and genetic material from populations around the world. Luigi Luca CavalliSforza, Emeritus Professor at Stanford University, initiated the systematic research on the scientific classification of human populations. Leslie Mitchell noted more than a decade ago in Stanford Magazine that the genome project proposal “won support from geneticists and some anthropologists, who saw it as a logical way to pull together irreplaceable data. But it also drew sharp criticism. Project planners, most of them white academics, were denounced as gene pirates, neocolonialists and racists by some who believe the project would backfire on minority groups. One Australian aboriginal group came up with the name ‘vampire project’ to describe the plan” (Mitchell). The collection of any genetic material raises many contentious questions. For instance, who would profit from the commercial patents of generic discoveries? “Critics of the new project say it

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would allow comparable ‘biopiracy’ in the human genetic realm. For example, companies might trawl the data for patentable genes that could lead to new medicines.” Cavalli-Sforza responded that worries about “economic exploitation are baseless. . . the results of misunderstood intentions. We are very much against patenting DNA.” Mitchell pointed out that he has received “stacks of hate mail from white supremacists” apparently because his “studies can serve as an antidote to racism.” GenEthics news has been critical of the practices of the project and for issues of practical and situational ethics. “Apart from the reactions of indigenous people, the project has also been heavily criticized by other geneticists and anthropologists. Many anthropologists, like psychologists, are alarmed by what they see as the growing dominance of their field by genetics, and the growth of genetic determinism” (Diversity Project). Jonathan Marks pointed out that “different genetic studies produce different ‘family trees’ for populations.” The Human Genome Diversity Project “tends to assume that indigenous groups are genetically pure and unaffected by the massive population movements” that have taken place over the last five centuries, and would “help to provide a picture of what humanity looked like genetically before migrations.” Marks pointed out that “there is extensive evidence from ethnohistory of intermarriage between, for example, Native American groups, evidence which geneticists ignore. On the whole, there are very few ‘pure’ population groups which have not intermarried as the result of migration,” colony settlement, or “military conquest.” The Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies describes

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E S S A Y the Human Genome Diversity Project as a research program that “seeks to understand the diversity and unity of the entire human species.” The Project overview of ethical issues provides three principles for consideration in research. These recent principles, informed consent, respect for the participating populations and cultures, and adherence to international standards of human rights, were established to ensure the rights of participating communities. “The Project categorically rejects the idea of ‘bleed and run’ collecting, done by researchers who disappear without a trace,” according to the conclusion of the published outline of ethical principles. “Collecting must be done only with the full consent, cooperation, and engagement of those sampled. Although this will require close and expert knowledge about the populations and may take a long time, respect

for the populations as partners in the scientific enterprise—rather than as objects of it—requires no less” (“Modal Ethical”). The recent founding of genetic testing companies that promote genetic traces of ancestry presents new political, racial, genealogical, and cultural issues for Native American Indians. Kimberly TallBear, assistant professor of Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, pointed out in a recent essay that “tribal governments should be wary of trying to ‘solve’ contentious enrollment processes with science. Western scientific and cultural values about kinship lie behind genetic testing technologies.”  Genetic testing “privileges the cultural values that inhere in those technologies over American Indian cultural values about kinship, ancestry, and citizenship” (TallBear 11). Constitution of the White Earth Nation. Ratified text of the Constitution published in Anishinaabeg Today and available on the website of the White Earth Reservation, http://www.whiteearth.com/ home.html.

1

Works Cited Bieder, Robert. Science Encounters the Indian, 1820-1880. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Okla- homa Press, 1986. Gould, Stephen Jay. The Mismeasure of Man. New York: W. W. Norton, 1981. —. “Morton’s Ranking of Races by Cranial Capacity.” Science, 5 May 1978: 503-509. Lee, Sandra, Barbara Koenig, and Sarah Richardson, Eds. Revisiting Race in a Genomic Age. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2008. Marks, Jonathan. “The Realities of Races,” Social Science Research Council, June 7, 2006. Web. 17 April 2012. <http://raceandgenomics.ssrc.org/Marks/>.

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Means, Russell. Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995.

Mitchell, Leslie. “The History of Everyone and Everything,” Stanford Magazine, May/June 1999. Web. 17 April 2012. <http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/1999/mayjun/ar ticles/cavalli_sforza.html>. “Modal Ethical Protocol for Collecting DNA Samples,” Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies, Stanford University, Human Genome Project. Guidelines subsequently published in the Houston Law Review 33(5), 1997. Web. 17 April 2012. <http://www.stanford edu/group/morrinst/hgdp/protocol.html>.

Rothman, Barbara Katz. Genetic Maps and Human Imaginations. New York: W. W. Norton, 1998. The Human Genome Diversity Project, Human Genetics Alert, GenEthics news, Issue 10, 2000. Web. 17 April 2012. <http://www.hgalert.org/topics/personalInfo/hgdp.htm>.

TallBear, Kim. “‘Native American DNA’: Implications for Citizenship and Identity,” American Indian Policy Center and Leadership Development Center, Arizona State University, 2008. Revised version, Native-American-DNA: In Search of Native American Race and Tribe in Lee, Koe- nig, and Richardson, 235-252. Web. 17 April 2012.<http://www.ncaiprc.org/files/Native%20 American%20DNA%20Implications%20 for%20Citizenship%20and%20Identity.pdf>.

Vizenor, Gerald. Native Liberty: Natural Reason and Cultural Survivance. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2009. Warren, William. History of the Ojibway Nation. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Ross & Haines, 1957.

Gerald Vizenor is Distinguished Professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico. He has published more than thirty books, narrative histories, literary studies, novels, essays, short stories, and poetry. Native Liberty: Natural Reason and Cultural Survivance, and Chair of Tears are two of his most recent books. Vizenor was the Principal Writer of the Constitution of the White Earth Nation in Minnesota. He received the American Book Award for Griever: An American Monkey King in China, and last year, for Shrouds of White Earth, the Western Literature Association Distinguished Achievement Award and the Lifetime Literary Achievement Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas.

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F I C T I O N

Tom Holm

Anadarko—A Kiowa Country Mystery

K

hōn Charging Horse awoke with a smile on his deeply creased face. Now in his early eighties, he had taken regularly to sleeping in his tipi rather than in the clapboard house his son George had built for the family. George’s youngest two sons had married, moved a few miles away, and established their own households. Two of Charging Horse’s many grandchildren were still in the same house with George and his wife and, Zig Jackson as khōn, a revered grandfather, he loved to sit with Tipi Encampment, I-40, Winslow, AZ, 2004. his grandchildren and tell them of the old ways when the Kiowa people had many horses, fought the blue coats, ate buffalo, and took part in the ancient Sun Dance religion. All of those things were gone now, except for the tipi and the old buffalo robe covering Charging Horse’s scarred but remarkably strong body. He loved sleeping in the tipi because it felt as if he were recapturing the days of his youth. This was the one that his wives—he had married sisters—had made long ago. He rarely saw his wives lately. They were always off visiting grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The new tipi, to which his wives had lent their expertise in its construction, had been carefully taken down, folded and stored away for use in the new religion—the religion of Chief Peyote. It would be raised again for a meeting in a few days. His son George was a chief in the new way and he attended every meeting because he loved the songs, the prayers, the medicine, and the good feelings that were part of Grandfather Peyote’s ceremonies. Ironically, Charging Horse had been one of the last instructors of the Sun Dance religion and one of the first Kiowas to take the Peyote Road. He had guided the last four young men through the eight-day long Sun Dance ceremony that renewed, rejuvenated, and insured the prosperity of the Kiowa people. In those days Kiowa


prosperity depended on horses and the buffalo. But the buffalo were gone now and he had learned Grandfather Peyote’s new songs. He had gone along with the painful decision to put the Sun Dance away in the face of the white peoples’ objections to it and in the hope that the Peyote Way would bring back unity and happiness to his people once again. The Peyote Road was narrow and many could not stay on its strict pathway. But the Kiowas needed a spiritual reawakening. They had suffered so on the reservation and had even had that last bit of land taken away under the government’s policy of allotment. Charging Horse rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and breathed in the cedar smoke smell of the small fire place in the center of the tipi. He slept opposite of the east-facing door and could see the light of a new sunrise around the edges of the door flap. It was a gray light that comes just before dawn. He quickly got up, walked in a clockwise direction to the door, put his hands in the bucket of cold water there, and splashed his face. He took up his pipe and his tobacco pouch and prepared to go out and greet the morning sun. He stood waiting for the sun to rise over the small copse of trees by the creek bed east of the tipi. The light was getting stronger and out of the corner of his eye he caught an unnatural movement coming from the base of a blackjack of to his right. He turned and took in a sight that ran chills from the back of his head to the base of his spine. Under the scraggly branches of the tree lay the body of a white man. All Charging Horse could see was the top of the man’s head. The long, blond, wispy hair moving in the slight breeze of the early morning was what caught his eye. He’d seen that blond hair before. Charging Horse calmly returned his pipe to the tipi and went over the small tree. He kneeled down to get a better look under the branches and saw the body; it was only then that he caught the metallic smell of blood and the rancid odor of the man’s bowels. He had seen the horrible consequences of battle as a young man. But the sight of the white man’s body was enough to make him wince. The man was young with plenty of blond hair. He wore glasses, which drew Charging Horse’s eyes to the man’s mutilated nose and mouth. Someone had cut the man’s nose completely off and had bashed his teeth so that his mouth was cut wide open below the hole that had been his nose. The man’s mouth was actually caved in. Worse still was the fact that the man appeared to have been gutted. Charging Horse could smell the odor but the man’s intestines had been pulled out. His shirt was still buttoned at the neck but had been spread open from the throat down. The man’s belly was slit from the sternum to the groin and the skin drooped inside the stomach cavity. Only remnants of the man’s intestines and other organs were left in the body; they had obviously been left elsewhere. There was no blood or organs under the tree with the corpse. The white man had been killed, mutilated and eviscerated and then brought to the Charging Horse allotment. Khōn decided that somebody was tying to pin the white man’s death on his family. S PRING / S UMMER 2 0 1 3

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F I C T I O N Charging Horse sat back on the ground beside the tree, crossed his legs and wondered how the man had come to rest under the blackjack. He saw no blood trail, no obvious footprints in the dirt, and no disturbance in the grass around the area. Nor could he understand how the dead man had been brought there without waking him up or causing the numerous dogs that lived on the Charging Horse property to sound a warning of intruders. Strange too, that the dogs did not worry the corpse. Surely they would have detected it. The old man thought about that; something truly evil must have taken place. The dogs must have known it and kept their distance. There weren’t any traces of coyotes either. Charging Horse reached over and carefully brushed the blond hair back from the forehead. His eyes showed deep sympathy. “You poor white man,” he said in Kiowa, “you must have had hateful enemies.” The old man squinted and looked deeply into the dead man’s clouded-over eyes. He was the man his son George had let camp just over the ridge. Charging Horse had seen the man before, but the cataracts over his eyes made things seem as if seen through a mist. The blond hair was easily recognized though. Charging Horse had rarely come in contact with people with yellow hair. He shook his head, stood, and walked over to the clapboard house. He had to talk to George. No good could come from having a dead white man under a tree on your allotment. Especially if the poor man had been left there with the purpose of making trouble for the Charging Horse family. The heavyset man staggered and put his hand against the wall of the alley for support. He was wearing his faded blue work clothes and a black fedora with the brim pulled down. One strap of his bib overalls hung down his back. He turned to the wall, put his other hand against it, looked down at the brick alley way and vomited on his lower overall legs and work shoes. He shook his head in disgust and dizzily looked up at the wall. “Too much to drink,” he said out loud. “You okay, mister?” The voice came from directly behind him. He wiped his chin with his right hand and turned. He stood weaving back and forth like tall grass in the wind; the motion was making him sick again. His eyes were out of focus and he could only see a tall figure in an old-time driving slicker and a wide-brimmed hat. The man’s face was a blur. “Watch it,” he growled, “gonna be sick again.” The man in the slicker stepped back to the other side of the alley while the drunk turned his head and threw up once again. “You’re in bad shape, old man. Why don’t you let me help you out?” the man in the slicker said calmly. “Yeah . . . yeah, need help. Automobile’s a couple of streets down.” “Well, just walk on and I’ll take your arm. Tell me if you’re gonna upchuck again.”

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“Sure . . . sure, I’ll let you know.” They walked two short blocks and turned into an alley. The man in the slicker patted the drunk man on the back and said, “Ain’t the usual payday, this bein’ Monday, what you celebratin’?” “Ain’t celebratin’. Got canned.” “Sorry to hear that. Where was you workin’?” “Diggin’ ditch for a pipeline ‘cross the river. They hired a Portugee on the cheap. Lousy bastards, firin’ a white man for a foreigner. Probably a Bolshevik to boot.” “Damn sorry to hear that. What you gonna do now?” “I’ll find somethin.” They came to a T where another alley crossed the first, turned right, and walked over to an automobile parked close to a brick wall. The drunk shook his head and pulled open the driver’s side door. The black Ford model T had seen its better days. The rag top was down and in the space behind the front seat was a shovel and pick leaning almost straight up against the rear seat. The drunk pulled himself behind the wheel and shut the door. The man in the slicker looked directly into his eyes and asked with a slight smile on his still blurry face, “Your name Cunningham?” Surprised at the question, Bryant Cunningham groggily answered, “Yeah, so . . . .” Then he looked curiously at the man in the slicker. “You . . . I . . . .” In one fluid motion, the man in the slicker took up the pick, raised it high, and buried the point in Cunningham’s skull. In that single instant, all the breath left Cunningham’s lungs and he died without knowing what hit him.

Michael Holm

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An enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation and a Muskogee Creek descendent from Oklahoma, Tom Holm has been involved in American Indian education and Native veteran affairs for over thirty-five years. He is also a member of the Cherokee Nation’s Sequoyah Commission. Holm served with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division in Vietnam from 1967-68. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma and was a professor of American Indian Studies and Political Science at the University of Arizona, 1980-2009. In 1996, his book Strong Hearts, Wounded Souls, was a finalist for the Victor Turner prize. His recent academic work, The Great Confusion in Indian Affairs, was released by the University of Texas Press in 2005. Warriors and Code Talkers: Native Americans in World War II, a book for high school-aged youths, was published in 2007. “Anadarko—A Kiowa County Mystery” is the first chapter in Holm’s forthcoming sequel to The Osage Rose, Anadarko—A Kiowa County Mystery.

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POE T R Y

Julieta Luevano

Sacagawea: Translator I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do anything and they know. Imposters all different histories of letters. Keeping theirs. Using hers to sweep away their challenges in comprehension. Their b r e a t h, of new knowledge. Sakakawea, Sacagawea, Sacajawea, Bird Woman, Translator. Inhalation stayed to exhale, her embodying, accepting land which prefers peace over proof: Hear, her ignite the senses.

Collecting edible plants. berries.

horses which she negotiated with her words.

Picking Jean Baptiste road in the boats on her back and on the horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s back,


Sacagawea did not speak English. She spoke Shoshone and Hidatsa. Her husband Hidatsa and French. The Corps’ Francois Labiche, French, then English to Lewis and Clark.

Too many turns here, like the letter “N” as in “not yours.”

I can’t expand open the circle up.

Allan Birch

Piercing with the theories of making logic more explainable. Straight-lines with curved pencil marks and I can’t close them, either. Thin coiled metal spins the belly button, the skin contracts. Squinted eyes and frowned eyebrows looking.

They have to stay.

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POE T R Y Turning back like Sacagawea leading them into

at Luis and Clark for valued symmetry

but I was too busy with translating to deaf ears my falling rose petals. Outlines of how our tongues try to mimic a line around the sky. Which, in any location bounds the stars visible from these latitudes. They try to enclose a limitlessness.

Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll never be able .

She learns to Speak And so sun does not spread like crumbs through dry soil. It is up there with our very own ga-

gaAllan Birch

lax-y in between other con-stellar-late-ions

I mean constellations.

I was not informed through schoolhouses with roofs where one cannot reach down to sway with water

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and have skull-bones filled by the white rush that rattles my inhalation. First taken from Shoshone to become Hidatsa. You would call this “1800.” Then enslaved from tribe to Touissant Charbonneau. You would call this “17 and with child” or “1804” I’ve heard you repeat. I heard you were ex ploiters wish to know about land so far. Explorers, I mean. Do you want man’s satisfied explorings of the earth Like husband has asked of me? Would you prefer that I fix my mouth for you too? To re-adjust my rebellious yells of ecstasy that show Mother a grateful Indian woman-child, and my threads of intertwining corn-leaves? I would much rather be printed into your pages that will spread like ink with things that explorers see already everyday

than

to be embedded with Touissant Charbonneau and other Shoshone slave-woman. S PRING / S UMMER 2 0 1 3

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POE T R Y

Lewis and Clark Speak Clark Indian woman, what is this called? Sacagawea This is my tribe, Captain Clark. These are my people and here is my land. Buffaloes roam un-gridded territory, it is also theirs and not just ours. An open sky vault painted with myths of ancestors waiting for sun to let down a bit so that they may glimmer their stories for us. The moon guides the wolf; it guides me too. I hear our youngest and watch them string feathers into their moccasins. They celebrate the bite of summer’s end. Mothers carry baskets for Autumn’s following duties. Men fill them with tonight’s meal: the last of strawberries, gooseberries, water lilies and sunflower seeds. And here is the mat that I used to weave like when wax lays cold on fingers. Tell them. Charbonneau She says she knows these Indians, sir. Lewis

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Indian woman, can you ask if they can trade? We need more horses for the months ahead. Sacagawea They only accept blue beads, Captain Lewis. I know their currency and what it does. Provide them with droplets of a month’s trade and you can have a horse, a woman or a handful of soil with life growing out of one end and its clinging roots combing out through the other. Those with blue, spread faster. But you only have red beads, captain. Tell them Charbonneau. Charbonneau She says you need blue beads to trade with them, sir. We only have red; Perhaps a peace medal with Jefferson on one side and two hands clasping on the other? Clark Tell your Indian woman that we would be happy to pay. “The great object is to make every letter sound.” Chabonneau Yes, Captain. Lewis Now we have horses. Indian woman, did Charbonneau buy you with red beads or blue beads? Sacagawea Both: with wire that presses up against my veins and also with a dripping warmth that flows freely from its pointed edges.

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POE T R Y I have paid and he has traded. I shove the soft spot of my wrist into this tree bark to show you. Clark So he used red, Indian woman. Sacagawea If you think that of my worth, then yes. I pivot my toe and carve into the ground with semi-circles, but you do not see the depth under my prints. Even with drilling in front of you, you will not ask of my stories.

She Storms In

STORM! In

To the river harsh

,,,

Dear May 14th 1805, Luis and Clark called them journals but you and I

called them the remains

through your antlers

AND HOW! You

paced the river your into way

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Nor the men, nor the boat moved through twisting, restless air

And what you saved!

They, should cry, an internal burial, yes. your Indian child hands behind the writing:

The river, cried, and, soaked

and so, washed forth with sand, the unprepared attitude of Lewis and Clark was forgiven: “The Indian Woman to whom I ascribe equal fortitude and resolution, with any person on board at the time of the accident, caught and preserved most of the light articles which were washed overboard” (May 16th, Captain Clark). The tree’s roots whispered uninterrupted until your friend-ally-wind,

wove

and swayed River who follows you on your trail and responds. Still, you believe in those men and they could not read with deaf ears Especially now, with

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wetinkpaper

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POE T R Y

Mother Weeps Being four legs and a body above is not like Being the four-legs-body. Perhaps their elevated gaze and lowered

horizon

was-too-swift to notice sunsets are set on bountiful curves

taller than manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s head.

Even on a stable drinking horse who

silently

agrees to carry two-legged schemers who chase a shifting warmth on the face into a chill that

draws

the gaze downwards towards shadows and away from the barely-edged wind.

Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no need to capture lines that curve around the moon eventually and begin again. Tapestries of ground-space pull towards dashes of glimmer.

Magnets

that could shift us.

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Let them. This is our connection to being on ground and not in it. Losing ground like wars, famine and selfishness. Telling us to see, see here and remember through ear. Instead we walk and walk. Murmuring each footstep a rebellious child is free. Each footstep, evaporates the ground like puff clouds of dry moss.

Where has the comfort of song gone?

Child, look for a singing white pine

wrinkles and curved branches to hold you.

Independence has its consequences:

The taste of novelty is much too anxious to be forgotten.

Mother did not ask you to choose, so she waits west,

a weeping pine, white for her child.

Julieta Luevano was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She is a third year student at the University of Denver, but will be graduating early with a Bachelorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree in June of 2013. She is a double major in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and Spanish, and a minor in Gender and Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Studies. This is her first professional publication.

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93


POE T R Y

Sherwin Bitsui

The Hovering

Billy J. Stratton

They sip pixels from a televised-river rising to inherit the hummingbird’s

wheezing lungs.

The whole hum of them— scraped from the water’s footsteps, inhale the lakes’ shadow, while kneeing our shoulders to roan-scent. An overcast of them: cinders on the bull’s damp chest. Absorbing liquid night through gilled feet. they cackle from sand dunes— silver teeth twitching in their beaks. The blowing sand of our faces’ tongues buried in the hovering, the hovering buried twice and through the cage, we swell— new teeth throbbing in our lungs. Sherwin Bitsui is the author of Flood Song (Copper Canyon) and Shapeshift (U of Arizona Press). He is Diné ˛˛ of the Bii’bítóó’nii’ Tódi’chii’nii clan and is born for the Tlizilłani’ clan. He is from White Cone, Arizona on the Navajo Reservation. His honors include a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Native Arts & Culture Foundation Fellowship for Literature, a PEN Open Book Award, an American Book Award, and a Whiting Writers Award.

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PPOE O E TT RR YY

Luci Tapahonso

Hanezbaa’ Wolye For Honey Baa’, born on December 28, 2011

Ryan Singer

Time For A Little Something, acrylic on canvas, 12” X 16”, 2011.

Hane’: stories, wisdom. Neez: Tall Baa’: Warrior Woman. She bring songs so we may endure and laugh again. She brings stories of hope to remind us of our strength. She brings stories of hope to restore our faith. She brings stories from the wars our ancestors endured. Yesterday as I was feeding her, she watched me with bright eyes. “Ah’shiini Shisoi,” I murmured, smoothing her soft, thick hair. She stopped drinking milk and smiled. Her eyes became curved slits—drops of milk slid down her chin. Later as I changed her diaper, her arms were finally freed from being swaddled and she became a blur of motion. She stretched and yawned, smiling the whole time. She smiled, mouth wide open, arms twirling and legs kicking circles.

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POE T R Y She wears little pink mittens to keep her from scratching her face. I said to her, “Goo-goo, are you in a boxing club? You better not be. You’re only two months old. Baby, wait until you’re 18, okay?” She kept smiling and batting her gloves around. I nuzzled her and said, “No boxing club, okay? Okay?” Then she laughed—a sweet, even ripple of happiness. Soon we were both laughing, looking into each other’s faces. “Silly boxing club, silly masani club, silly goo-goo club.” She touched my face and hair as I kissed and nuzzled her little tummy. In that moment, I rediscovered myself in her radiant laughter. The earlier fatigue, worry and constant aches that had become my companions fell away. I was anew again. We are all made anew by the clear laughter of babies. Hanezbaa’ Lorna Halona wolye’. Her name is Hanezbaa’ Lorna Halona.

Luci Tapahonso is a Diné poet who is originally from Shiprock, New Mexico, and is currently a Professor of English at the University of New Mexico. She is the author of five books of poetry including A Breeze Swept Through (1987), Saánii Dahataal: The Women are Singing (1993), and Blue Horses Rush In (1997). Her most recent collection, A Radiant Curve, was published in 2008. She is also the author of several children’s book intended to reinforce and celebrate Navajo culture and language, including Songs of Shiprock Fair (1999). Professor Tapahonso is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Mountain and Plains Booksellers Association’s Award for Poetry (1998), the Kansas Governor’s Art Award (1998), the Wordcraft “Storyteller of the Year” (1999), and The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas (2006). She has also served as Grand Marshal for the Shiprock Fair in 1991 and 1999. Professor Tapahonso’s work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Blue Mesa Review, Wicazo-Sa Review, Caliban, Beloit Poetry Journal and Weber, as well as Reinventing the Enemies Language and Home Places; her poetry has been translated into German, Italian and French.  ˆ

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A R T

Ryan Singer

Punk, Pop, and Sci-Fi The New Look of Native American Art

Resilient, acrylic on canvas, 24” X 30”, 2010.


As far back as I can remember I have loved art—drawing, painting, making music. What I like most about it is the freedom to create something—anything—from nothing. As a kid I enjoyed watching my artist-uncle painting in his studio. And eventually, I realized that I also had a talent for drawing, and that not only could I make a living from it, it also brought me great happiness. Like all artists, my work has evolved and changed over the years, but what has stayed constant is my desire to express myself as a modern Native American artist. This has allowed me to explore many issues in my work, especially around stereotypes of Native Americans. In the beginning, I made paintings like the “Wagonburner” (2003) and “The Reality of Advertising” (2004, aka “Land o’ Fakes”) to bring attention to stereotypes and to make viewers think about the historical meanings behind them and how they continue to affect our culture and daily lives. Recently, I have begun to consider how those stereotypes affect me personally. And I have started to focus on ways that I can change the internal stereotypes for myself and in my work. One piece that has come from this is the “Bounty Hunter and Trickster Encounter” (2010). The painting is a split-screen-type image with Boba Fett, a bounty hunter from the Star Wars movies, on one side of the canvas taking aim, and a coyote on the remaining half of the canvas. While all of my paintings hold a special meaning for me, I am particularly proud of this piece because it combines my love of science-fiction movies and my Navajo culture with the addition of Coyote, a trickster in Navajo and other Native folklore. It can be interpreted in many ways depending on the viewer, but to me it is as if Boba Fett is protecting a hidden herd of sheep from a predator, coyote. The painting itself is just one moment in the story each viewer creates for himor herself. As is the case with all the paintings and drawings I create, what I have come to enjoy most about art is the process—coming up with the ideas, sketching, and seeing it come to life on paper or canvas. And this is what I hope viewers will take from my art—that something interesting can be created just by taking the time to do it.

Tuba City Spaceport, acrylic on canvas, 30” X 40”, 2011. 98

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Two Empty Coke Cans and No Puzzle, acrylic on canvas, 24” X 24”, 2011.

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Shi Masani (My Grandmother), acrylic on canvas, 24” X 30”, 2009.

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Time Machine, acrylic on canvas, 10â&#x20AC;? X 10â&#x20AC;?, 2011.

Like all artists, my work has evolved and changed over the years, but what has stayed constant is my desire to express myself as a modern Native American artist. This has allowed me to explore many issues in my work, especially around stereotypes of Native Americans.

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102 The End of the Carousel, acrylic on canvas, 36” X 36”, 2006.

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A Fish and A Girl, acrylic on canvas, 18” X 24”, 2008.

Caffeinated Navajo Man in Old Ford, acrylic on canvas, 24” X 30”, 2009.

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104 W EBER The Great Gazoo’s Fossil Fuel Dilemma, acrylic on canvas, 24” X 36”, 2010.

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Dennis Hopper, acrylic on canvas, 24” X 30”, 2010.

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Everything’s Connected, acrylic on canvas, 24” X 30”, 2010. 106

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Trading Post, acrylic on canvas, 24” X 30”, 2010.

Ryan Singer, a Diné (Navajo) artist, currently resides and works out of his studio in downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico. Noted for his use of vibrant colors, juxtapositions of traditional Native imagery with popular culture, and his satirical portrayals of modern Indian identity, Ryan has garnered numerous awards, including the first ever “Adult Smile Award” at the 2008 SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market. With his unique variety of acrylic paintings, silkscreen prints, and pen/ink drawings, Ryan has participated in art markets across the Southwest, including the Heard Museum Indian Market, Museum of Northern Arizona’s Navajo Festival of Arts and Culture, and the Santa Fe Indian Market. Born in Cedar City, Utah, but originally from Tuba City, Arizona, Ryan is of the Tódich’iinii (Bitter Water) clan and born for the Kinya’aani (Towering House) clan. Having grown up in various parts of the Navajo Reservation, Ryan often reflects on his childhood in his artwork through his depictions of science fiction icons, such as those seen in his paintings of Star Wars characters. Ryan’s other notable works of art include the popular “Mutton Stew” painting, which he modeled after Andy Warhol’s “Campbell’s Tomato Soup Can” series but with a distinct Navajo twist; his iconic “Wagonburner,” which has become his trademark symbol; and his recognizable series of robots. Following his success at the 2008 SWAIA Indian Market, Ryan’s painting of an elderly Navajo woman was featured on the January/February 2009 issue of Native Peoples magazine. Heavily influenced by the punk music and underground art scenes, Ryan’s work is often considered part of a “new wave” of young Native artists.

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E S S A Y

Sanja Runtić

Reimagining the Frontier in Louise Erdrich’s Tracks

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n recent decades numerous attempts have theorized (post)colonial subjectivity in spatial terms. Concepts such as Homi Bhabha’s third space, Gloria Anzaldúa’s borderlands and Mary Louise Pratt’s contact zone, to name but a few, have all emphasized a dual spatiality inherent in the colonial experience, highlighting its ambivalent, dynamic and contradictory character as a potential for cultural emancipation and decolonization. Louis Owens’ study of Native American literature and film Mixedblood Messages: Literature, Film, Family, Place (1998) follows the same line. Employing the term frontier, Owens denoted a transcultural, multidirectional and conflicting space occupied by the colonized. In contrast to the concept of the territory, a static space mapped by the authoritative discourse “constructed to contain and neutralize Indians,” frontier is a dangerously unstable and hybridized space that refuses to be confined through boundaries. It is the “space of extreme contestation” and “multifaceted contact within which every utterance is challenged and interrogated, all referents put into question” (42): From the very beginnings of European relations with indigenous Americans, the goal of the colonizer has been to inhabit and erase an ever-moving frontier while shifting “Indian” to static and containable “territory”.… Native Americans, however continue

to resist this ideology of containment and to insist upon the freedom to reimagine themselves within a fluid, always shifting frontier space. (27)

In this view the frontier encompasses not just the physical terrain but also the psychological and cognitive aspects of the colonial encounter; its space is thus both external and internalized. For Owens, it is precisely this intrinsic dimension of the frontier that predominates in contemporary Native American writing, serving as “a bi-directional, dynamic zone of resistance. Within that zone, we are the ones who get to ‘make and tell’ our stories” (47).


Louise Erdrich’s novel Tracks (1988) in many ways recreates such a frontier zone. Utilizing the conventions of magical realism and the grotesque, Erdrich designed a hybridized textual space that effectively questions and destabilizes the consistency of colonial symbols and identity constructs. This narrative geography is most obvious in the characterization of Pauline Puyat, one of the protagonists and narrators in the novel. Mixed-blood Pauline is one of the characters who, confronted with the new culture, loses her tribal identity and identifies with the dominant worldview. Leaving the reservation for the town, Pauline manifests both physical and mental disconnection from her tribal roots and develops an almost pathological hatred of her indigenous heritage. Adopting the Anglo-American system, she starts seeing her people “through the eyes of the world outside of us” (14), aware that for the whites all Natives are “invisible” (cf. Ferrari). Convinced of the superiority of the settler culture, Pauline converts to Christianity and joins the Sacred Heart Convent: “Our lord, who had obviously made the whites more shrewd, as they grew in number, all around, some even owning automobiles, while the Indians receded and coughed to death and drank. It was clear that Indians were not protected by the thing in the lake or by the other Manitous who lived in trees, the bush, or spirits of animals” (139). When the convent subsequently passes a rule that only white girls can become nuns, Pauline completely denies her Anishinaabe heritage, persuading herself that she is not “one speck of Indian but wholly white” (137). Through this radical denial of her past and the internalization of the values of the dominant culture, Pauline

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demonstrates what Duane Champagne terms “acceptance and participation in the colonizer’s new order,” and Ashcroft et al. describe as “a mimicry of the centre proceeding from a desire not only to be accepted but to be adopted and absorbed. It caused those from the periphery to immerse themselves in the imported culture, denying their origins in an attempt to become ‘more English than the English’” (1989: 4). As a nun, Pauline exhibits all the elements of what Edward Said called the “imperial creed, a sense of mission, historical necessity, and evangelical fervor” (286). Amidst the threat of physical and cultural extinction, the perils of disease and alcoholism, loss of land and traditional lifestyle faced by her tribe, Pauline sees herself as a “visionary savior” who has a mission to “name and baptize” (Cornell 51, 140) her people and so release them from misery by taking them to Christ: I saw the same. I saw the people I had wrapped, the influenza and consumption dead whose hands I had folded. They traveled, lame and bent, with chests darkened from the blood they coughed out of their lungs, filing forward and gathering, taking a different road. A new road. I saw them dragging one another in slings and litters. I saw their unborn children hanging limp or strapped to their backs, or pushed along in front hoping to get the best place when the great shining doors, beaten of air and gold, swung open on soundless oiled fretword to admit them all. Christ was there, of course, dressed in glowing white. (140)

The discursive transformation of history, whose discovery is often seen as the main goal of postcolonial criticism,

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E S S A Y is discernible through Pauline’s sharp demarcation between good and evil, civilization and barbarity. Like the first colonists, who saw the “influence of the devil” in the new land and its people (Cotton Mather, qtd. in Bataille 3), Pauline too sees pagan traits all around her: I was called from the convent to house after house … I should not turn my back on Indians. I should go out among them, be still, and listen. There was a devil in the land, a shadow in the water, an apparition that filled their sight. There was no room for Him to dwell in so much as a crevice of their minds. (137)

Yet, in spite of her rigid Christian mindset, Pauline exhibits occult tendencies and supernatural abilities that she regularly uses for evil purposes. Having acquired magical powers from Moses, she tempts Eli to seduce Sophie (80), which gives her an opportunity to take a revenge on him and Fleur: “And then, as I crouched in the cove of leaves, I turned my thoughts on the girl and entered her and made her do what she could never have dreamed of herself” (83). Even though some interpretations see Pauline’s attempt to renounce her Indianness as successful (Tanrisal), Nicholas Sloboda argues that her identity remains hybrid nevertheless (72, 73). Similarly, Rainwater warns that Pauline cannot completely abandon the old worldview that is still non-Christian, and her interpretation of experience is ambivalent and irreconcilable despite assimilation (409). In spite of her religious transformation, Pauline is unable to erase the old consciousness and her tribal heritage, but on the contrary, “replaces the magical element of Catholic faith with her tribal beliefs” (Delicka 28). In other words, the magi-

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cal elements destabilize the codes of Pauline’s conversion and assimilation. Magical realism is one of the main strategies used in Tracks to question and redirect the meaning of the colonial symbols. According to Wendy Faris, magical realism combines the realistic and the fantastic in such a way that “magical elements grow organically out of the reality portrayed,” but at the same time refuse to be assimilated in that reality (163, 168). Magical realism thus expands the concept of experiential reality, depicting a plural fictional space that is fluid and transmutable (see also Zamora 500, 544). That capability of magical realism—to embrace disparate conceptual and political geometries and stage a dialectical combat of discursive systems—reveals its counter-hegemonic potential. As Suzanne Baker explains, “magic realist narrative recapitulates a dialectical struggle inherent within the postcolonial culture. The binary oppositions… undergo a process of dialectical interplay which undermines the fixity of borders between them, foregrounding the gaps, absences and silences produced by the colonial encounter” (85). Similarly, confronting the Ojibwa and Judeo-Christian cosmologies, Erdrich moderates the fixity of binaries and creates a dual space in which she dissects colonial doctrines and practices. Erdrich creates such a space through the discourse of madness. As a character and narrator, Pauline is characterized by psychological instability and a tendency to distort perceived content. The beginnings of her “mission” and her entry into the dominant institutions are accompanied by her progressive descent into madness. Her rigid conception of faith, for instance, results in absurd forms of ascetism. As a

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memento of Christ’s sufferings, Pauline wears underwear made of potato sacks, deprives herself of basic bodily needs, puts pins in her veil and nettles in her hair, and walks with shoes on the wrong feet. As she herself admits, these bizarre rituals are acts of self-mortification, “pain” that imbues her with a feeling of completeness and life: “I was hollow unless pain filled me, empty but for the pain” (192). However, Pauline’s obsession with Christian salvation, spiritual and racial purity leads her not only to insanity but also to sin. Emphasizing Pauline’s fanaticism, Erdrich implies that she is a windigo, a person obsessed with evil and dangerous spirits. In Ojibwa religion, the windigo denotes mental disturbance that can have various manifestations—from deep melancholy to violence, including “an irresistible desire to consume human flesh” (Adamson Clarke 38). Pauline reveals a similar obsession with death when she helps Bernadette to aid the sick. Observing Mary Pepewas, a sick girl, Pauline convinces herself that the girl wants to end her life and uses magical powers to kill her: She did not stir. She did not arch from the bed or twist to evade death or push it away from her face as it descended, entered, I don’t know how. She let it fill her like dark water and then, a narrow-bottomed boat tied to shore, she began to pull away. But she was moored by her jaw, caught, for as the current drew her off her mouth opened, wider, wide as can be, as if she wanted to swallow herself. The waves came and then, soundless, she closed her eyes, strained and tossed. Perhaps, hand over hand, I could have drawn her back to shore, but I saw very clearly that she wanted to be gone. I understood this. That is

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why I put my finger in the air between us, and I cut where the rope was frayed down to string. (67-68)

Pauline’s act stands in sharp contrast to the Anishnaabe concept of bimaadiziwin (see Gross, 2003: 128) and the Midewewin codes, according to which the healing power is inseparable from ethics and morality, as the healers are “required to possess good character” (Johnston 84) and use their powers solely “for the common good” (Gross, 2005: 51). Moreover, killing Mary instead of healing her, Pauline is blissful that her apostolic purpose is completed, “surprised how light I felt, as though I’d been cut free as well” (68). In magical realism, “plural worlds” are brought face to face but they “do not merge” (Wilson 228). That effect, which Erdrich achieves by transferring Christian tenets to the terrain of the magical, lays bare the ambiguity of Pauline’s mission and the idea of conversion itself. Like settlers’ greed for land, Pauline’s evangelistic zeal, her “hunger” to kill more Indians so that she can bring new souls to Christ, turns vile and insatiable: “’What shall I do now?’ I asked. ‘I’ve brought You so many souls!’ And He said to me, gently: ‘Fetch more’” (140). Throughout the novel Pauline’s windigo traits unveil the inconsistency of her Christian creed. When she goes to the middle of the lake to be tempted for forty days and nights like Christ in the desert, Pauline starts a merciless fight with a man who approaches her, convinced that it is Satan: He rose, shoved me against a scoured log, rubbed me up and down until I struck. I screamed once and then my tongue flapped loose, yelled profane curses. I stuffed the end of the blanket

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E S S A Y in his mouth, pushed him down into the sand and then fell upon him and devoured him, scattered myself in all directions, stupefied my own brain in the process so thoroughly that the only things left of intelligence were my doubled-over hands. What I told them to do, then, they accomplished. My fingers closed like hasps of iron, locked on the strong rosary chain, wrenched and twisted the beads close about his neck until his face darkened and he lunged away. (202)

even distinguish whether her vision is that of Christ or Lucifer:

Soon enough Pauline realizes that the man whom she strangled with the rosary was not Satan, but Napoleon Morrissey, her first lover. Like the colonists who invoked the battle of good and evil to wipe out the natives, Pauline uses the Manichean discourse to cancel her sin: “I had committed no sin. There was no guilt in this matter, no fault. How could I have known what body the devil would assume?” (203). As Homi Bhabha asserts, the colonial myth requires “that the space it occupies be unbounded, its reality coincident with the emergence of an imperialist narrative and history, its discourse non-dialogic, its enunciation unitary, un-marked by the trace of difference” (115). Through Pauline’s madness Erdrich completely undermines this myth. Possessed by visions and magic, Pauline uses “satanic” methods to serve Christ’s purpose, thus exhibiting the very traits that she claims to defy. Whenever she commits sin—by killing Mary Pepewas or denouncing Fleur— Pauline feels relief: “If I took off my shoes I would rise into the air. If I took my hands away from my face I would smile. I tore leaves off a branch and stuffed them into my mouth to smother laughter” (68). Moreover, she cannot

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He crept in one night dressed in a peddler’s ripped garments with a pack on his back full of forks, scissors, and paper packets of sharp needles. He tried them all out upon my flesh. “Are you the Christ?” I screamed at last. “I am the Light of the World,” he laughed. I thought of Lucifer. Even the devil quotes scripture to his own foul purpose…. “We’ll meet in the desert,” he shouted before he vanished. I had to wonder. Which master had given me these words to decipher? I must hate one, the other adore” (193).

Pauline’s mind thus becomes a conflicted ground in which boundaries are blurred and binaries lost. Her distortion of the Nicene Creed prayer—“Dark from dark, I prayed, True God from True” (195)—confirms that as well. Through Pauline’s insanity, Erdrich also introduces the motif of illness. Having been in touch with the dead, Pauline deliberately spreads deadly germs and avoids washing her hands, touching “others with the same hands” she “passed death on” (69). Fear of contamination is one of the central ingredients of various forms of discrimination. As Roberto Fernandez observes, accusing them of uncleanliness and promiscuity, imperialist thinking usually sees indigenous peoples as an epidemiological trigger, a threat to modern civilization (170). Pauline’s characterization ironically dissolves this presumption. Depicting illness as both the tool and the metaphor of Pauline’s mission, Erdrich thematizes the Western “civilizational” project itself as the

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main source of contagion and danger, as writings of early Puritan chroniclers vividly confirm: “God had sent a ‘wonderful plague’ among the savages to destroy them and to leave most of their lands free for civilized occupation. (Edward Winslow)… [The natives] are neere all dead of the small Poxe, so as the Lord hathe cleared our title to what we possess” (John Winthrop, qtd. in Pearce 20). Signs of Pauline’s madness are additionally emphasized through elements of the grotesque. According to Mikhail Bakhtin, the grotesque is characterized by a union of differences, a liberation “from the prevailing point of view of the world, from conventions and established truths, from clichés, from all that is humdrum and universally accepted” (34) and “the lowering of all that is high, spiritual, ideal, abstract; it is a transfer to the material level, to the sphere of earth and body in their indissoluble unity” (19, 20). Jeanne DelbaereGarant defines grotesque realism as a manifestation of magical realism which, through the mixing of codes, verifies a distortion of reality (256). Pauline’s insanity is one of the main sources of such a hybridized outlook. Denying her own body and its functions after entering the convent, Pauline also starts neglecting her hygiene, avoids washing herself and her clothes, believing that her malodorousness is a sign of holiness: “My rank aroma was the perfume my soul exuded, devotion’s air” (153). Similarly, having killed Napoleon, Pauline realizes that she is naked, which she tries to conceal by throwing herself “into the ditches”: “I rolled in dead leaves, in moss, in defecation of animals” (203). Yet, Erdrich exposes Pauline’s behavior as mental disturbance, not as a sign of faith and spiri-

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tual purity as Pauline herself wants to believe. According to Ojibway beliefs, one’s well-being is closely related “to the well being of the inner being of a person,” whereas sickness represents “the physical form of inner turmoil” (Johnston 71). Apart from the non-ethical relation towards the living and the dead, mental and physical illness can also manifest itself as uncleanliness. Christopher Vecsey describes how the Anishinaabe “burned refuse, aired bedding, bathed frequently, washed their hair, used sweat lodges, washed their cooking and eating implements, and sweetened their homes with fragrant medicinal herbs and roots” (149, 154). Trying to change Pauline’s sick habits, Nanapush teaches her the importance of hygiene: “You have to dry a soaked potato sack in sunlight! . . . Listen to an old man. I’m only telling you this for your benefit!” (151). Mocking her ways, Nanapush not only lowers and materializes the sublimity of Pauline’s penance, but once again inverts the dichotomy civilization/barbarity. According to Dragutin Lučić, Western history has been “a perpetual homily on cleanliness in the register from the highest to the lowest notes,” from purgatory to ethnic and political cleansing (29, my translation). Similarly, Anne McClintock argues that soap, light and white clothes have been main fetishes of imperialism and Western civilization. Branding the original inhabitants as unclean, colonial structures utilize the poetics of cleanliness to legitimize the invasion of their own economic and cultural values (32, 226). Ironically, through her attempt to cleanse herself of her “paganism,” Pauline becomes spiritually, physically and morally the most unclean character in the novel. Nanapush directly relates

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E S S A Y that to her assimilation: “You’re more and more like the whites who never wash themselves clean!” (153). The madness which makes it possible to escape “the false ‘truth’ of this world in order to look at the world with eyes free from this ‘truth’” (Bakhtin 49), is also discernible from the description of Pauline’s pregnancy and her delivery. Good “at easing souls into death but bad at breathing them to life, afraid of life in fact, afraid of birth” (57), when she finds out that she is pregnant by Napoleon Morrissey, Pauline wants to rid herself of the baby at any cost. “The acts of the bodily drama,” including “pregnancy,” are “the main events in the life of the grotesque body,” says Bakhtin, pointing out that one of the main traits of the grotesque is playing with boundaries between two bodies (317, 322) and representation of “two bodies in one: the one giving birth and dying, the other conceived, generated and born” (26). Similarly, in her delusional mind Pauline equates delivery with death. She paradoxically refuses to give birth in order to protect her child from sin. Her determination to terminate her pregnancy is additionally based on her fear that an illegitimate child will make her a heretic too: “If I gave birth, I would be lonelier. I saw, and I saw too well. I would be an outcast, a thing set aside for God’s use, a human who could be touched by no other human” (135). Grotesque madness is evident in the scene when Pauline tries to do away with the baby by striking her stomach with an axe handle, so that she can free herself of her sin and dedicate her life to God: “And since I had already betrothed myself to God, I tried to force it out of me, to punish, to drive it from my womb” (131). In other words,

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Pauline tries to take her child’s life in order to save her own soul. Even though Christian theology sees sin as a manifestation of man’s separation from God, Pauline on the contrary commits mortal sin to get closer to God. Through this paradox Erdrich once again deconstructs the imperial paradigm of conversion, as Pauline does not shrink from killing to enact “salvation.” Pauline’s belief that her exceptional destiny absolves her from her sin— “I was forgiven of my daughter. I should forget her. He had an important plan for me, for which I must prepare, that I should find out the habits and hiding place of His enemy” (137)—once again resonates the strategy of the colonizer to “falsify history” and so “absolve himself” of the conditions under which victory was attained (Memmi 52). Accepting the dominant religion, Pauline also experiences a separation from her own body as something sinful and shameful. In the grotesque picture of the world, the body is imbued with strictly topographical meaning. Whereas the face and the upper body epitomize heaven, the belly and the lower body represent the earth—the mechanism of birth, but also of absorption and death (Bakhtin 21). Similarly, Pauline’s sense of guilt is attached to her lower body. Apart from suppressing her digestive and bladder functions, Pauline also wants to obliterate the birth mechanism and refuses to push during the delivery:

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I dug my heels into the sheets, into the straw ticking, shut and held. But the child moved, inched forward. Her will was stronger. I sat up suddenly and gripped the top rails of the bed. I deceived her, lay sideways, and let the convulsions of her movements pass… I held still and howled and in

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the interludes I told Bernadette I had decided to die, and let the child too, no taint of original sin on her unless she breathed air. (135)

Terrorizing her body to protect herself from the evils of nature and the temptations of instincts, Pauline “brings to a pitch her acute experience of intolerable borders” (Ferrari 155). Yet, by denouncing her body and its functions, Pauline also attests to the fact that the body is a construct “imprinted by history” and “disciplinary discursive practices” (Hall 11), the “’text’ on which colonisation has written its most graphic and scrutable messages” (Ashcroft et al. 1995: 322). Whereas the traditional heroine Fleur goes to the world of the dead to save her children, when with Bernadette’s help she gives birth to a healthy girl, Pauline’s motherly instinct evaporates under the burden of “sin”: “But the child was already fallen, a dark thing, and I could not bear the thought. I turned away./ ‘You keep Marie.’” (136). Those words once again correlate Pauline’s madness to her colonized state. Retelling Nanapush’s description of the buffalos that survived the extermination, Pauline ironically delineates the scope of her own insanity: It was as old Nanapush had said when we sat around the stove. As a young man, he had guided a buffalo expedition for whites. He said the animals understood what was happening, how they were dwindling. He said that when the smoke cleared and hulks lay scattered everywhere, a day’s worth of shooting for only

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the tongues and hides, the beasts that survived grew strange and unusual. They lost their minds. They bucked, screamed and stamped, tossed the carcasses and grazed on flesh. They tried their best to cripple one another, to fall or die. They tried suicide. They tried to do away with their young. (139, 140)

Turning Pauline’s mind and body into a colonialized space, Erdrich fully exposes the imperial dogma and the psychophysical perils of its internalization. Pointing out the wickedness, grotesqueness, and insanity of Pauline’s missionary pursuit by unsettling the boundaries of the magical and the real, she disturbs the colonial meta-narrative and its evangelistic tools. Accordingly, filling her text with conflicting referents, Erdrich creates a polyphonic space in which the discourse of hegemony is estranged, and power relations reworked and reversed. She writes a narrative that effectively reimagines the frontier, showing a venue of resistance from which the colonized voice can speak to the center and be heard: The Indian has appropriated and occupied the frontier, reimagining it against all odds. A century after Frederick Jackson Turner’s famous pronouncement, the frontier appears to be moving once again, but this time it is a multidirectional zone of resistance… the Indian continues to “light out” from the territory ahead of the rest toward new self-imaginings, continual fluidity, and rebirth. (Owens 28, 41)

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E S S A Y Works Cited Adamson Clarke, Joni. “Why Bears Are Good to Think and Theory Doesn’t Have to Be Murder: “Transformation and Oral Tradition in Louise Erdrich’s Tracks.” Studies in American Indian Litera tures 4.1 (1992): 28-48. Aschcroft, Bill, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin. The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures. London: Routledge, 1989. —, eds. The Post-Colonial Studies Reader. London and New York: Routledge, 1995. Baker, Suzanne. “Binarisms and Duality: Magic Realism and Postcolonialism.” SPAN: Journal of the South Pacific Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies 36 (1993): 82-87. Web. 4. Dec. 2011. <http://wwwmcc.murdoch.edu.au/ReadingRoom/listserv/SPAN/36/Baker.html> Bakhtin, Mikhail. Rabelais and His World. Trans. Hélène Iswolsky. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana UP, 1984. Bataille, Gretchen, ed. Native American Literary Representations: First Encounters, Distorted Images, and Literary Appropriations. Lincoln and London: U of Nebraska P, 2001. Bhabha, Homi K. The Location of Culture. 1994. London and New York: Routledge, 2002. Champagne, Duane. “A Multidimensional Theory of Colonialism: The Native North American Experience.” Journal of American Studies of Turkey 3 (1996): 3-14 Web. 8. Aug. 2002. <http:// www.radford.edu>. Cornell, George L. “Native American Perceptions of the Environment.” Buried Roots and Indestruc- tible Seeds: The Survival of American Indian Life in Story, History and Spirit. Ed. Mark A. Lindquist and Martin Zanger. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1993. 21-46. Delbaere-Garant, Jeanne. “Psychic Realism, Mythic Realism, Grotesque Realism: Variations on Magic Realism in Contemporary Literature in English.” Magical Realism: Theory, History, Com munity. Ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora, and Wendy B. Faris. 1995. Durham and London: Duke UP, 2005. 249-266. Delicka, Magdalena. “American Magic Realism: Crossing the Borders in Literatures of the Margins.” Journal of American Studies of Turkey 6 (1997): 25-33 Web. 4. June 2003. <http://www. radford.edu>. D’Haen, Theo L. “Magical Realism and Postmodernism: Decentering Privileged Centers.” Parkin- son Zamora and Faris 191-209. Erdrich, Louise. Tracks. 1988. London: Flamingo, 1994. Faris, Wendy B. “Scheherazade’s Children: Magical Realism and Postmodern Fiction.”Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community. Ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora, and Wendy B. Faris. 1995. Durham and London: Duke UP, 2005. 163-191. Fernandez Retamar, Roberto. “Caliban Speaks Five Hundred Years Later.” Dangerous Liaisons: Gender, Nation and Postcolonial Perspectives. Eds. Anne McClintock, Aamir Mufti, and Ella Shohat. Minneapolis and London: U of Minnesota P, 1997. 163-172. Ferrari, Rita. “’Where the Maps Stopped’: The Aesthetics of Borders in Louise Erdrich’s Love Medi- cine and Tracks.” Style 33.1 (1999): 144-165. Web. 14. May 2003. <http://www.lias.psu.edu>.

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Gross, Lawrence W. “Cultural Sovereignty and Native American Hermeneutics in the Interpre- tation of the Sacred Stories of the Anishinaabe.” Wícazo Sa Review 18.2 (2003): 127-134. ˆ

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—. “The Trickster and World Maintenance: An Anishinaabe Reading of Louise Erdrich’s Tracks.” Studies in American Indian Literatures 17.3 (2005): 48-66. Hall, Stuart, and Paul Du Gay. Questions of Cultural Identity. 1996. London: Sage Publications, 2000. Johnston, Basil. Ojibway Heritage. New York: Columbia University Press, 1976. Lučić, Dragutin. “Pravila o čistoći kao dobar uvod u religijsku komparatistiku: higijena kao služba Božja.” Jutarnji list. 27 Jan. 2005: 29. McClintock, Anne. Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest. New York: Routledge, 1995. Memmi, Albert. The Colonizer and the Colonized. 1957. Trans. Howard Greenfeld. Boston: Beacon, 1967. Owens, Louis. Mixedblood Messages: Literature, Film, Family, Place. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1998. Pearce, Roy Harvey. The Savages of America: A Study of the Indian and the Idea of Civilization. Balti- more: The Johns Hopkins UP, 1953. Pratt, Mary Louise. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. 1992. New York: Routledge, 1997. Rainwater, Catherine. “Reading between Worlds: Narrativity in the Fiction of Louise Erdrich.” American Literature 62.3 (1990): 405-422. Said, Edward W. Culture and Imperialism. New York: Knopf, 1993. Sloboda, Nicholas. “Beyond the Iconic Subject: Re-Visioning Louise Erdrich’s Tracks.” Studies in American Indian Literatures 8.3 (1996): 63-79. Tanrisal, Meldan. “Mother and Child Relationships in the Novels of Louise Erdrich.” American Studies International 35.3 (1997): 67-80. Vecsey, Christopher. Traditional Ojibwa Religion and Its Historical Changes. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1983. Wilson, Rawdon. “The Metamorphoses of Fictional Space: Magical Realism.” Parkinson Zamora and Faris 209-235. Zamora, Faris, Lois Parkinson. “Magical Romance/ Magical Realism: Ghosts in U.S. and Latin American Fiction.” Parkinson Zamora and Faris. 497-550.

Sanja Runtic´ is Assistant Professor of English Literature at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Osijek in Croatia. She was a Fulbright fellow at the University of Arizona in 2003-2004. Her recent scholarly work is in the fields of American Indian Studies, postcolonial literature, theories of globalization, postmodernism and women’s studies.


F I C T I O N

Stephen Graham Jones

Nightfall

Michael Wutz

L

ike the killer he is and will never not be, Tim doesn’t sit with everybody else in the birthday circle in the living room. He doesn’t even stand by the doorway to the kitchen that everybody keeps having to duck through to get more beer, or to find the birthday candles and then go back again to scrounge a lighter, and maybe another beer. He stands instead by the hall entry, like a tall fake plant, he thinks, and takes another drink. On the carpet in the middle of the room is the boy Tim killed. His sister’s son Hannity, a name she’d been saving all through her girlhood. The birthday boy. He’s six, now. Somehow. And, if Tim had just walked in, if he was a stranger and had just stepped through the wrong door, up into a strange house, he would never have known there was anything wrong with Hannity. Because you can’t tell from the outside, from just a snapshot, a glance. That’s how developed he was, how perfect he was. You especially can’t tell anything’s wrong if Hannity’s smiling. It’s a stupid smile, though. A vacant one.


Tim hates himself for thinking that, too. He holds the bottle to his lips longer than it takes for a single drink. What happened: the night Hannity was born, the night Tim’s sister called to say it was starting, so that he could hear in her voice that she was about to become somebody else, Tim borrowed a neighbor’s car, gassed it up for the three-hour drive home, and pulled a cap on his head tight so he could drive with the window down. If he went straight through, he could make it before he was an uncle. Except his neighbor’s car had only been good for two of the three hours he needed. And when he called the hospital for a ride, it was his mom who came to the phone, insisting he be careful, and when the car finally pulled up to deliver him the rest of the way to the hospital, it was full of everybody: two of his younger cousins, along for the thrill, his same-age uncle so he’d have somebody to talk to, and, because his mom wanted to be sure nothing went wrong on this of all nights, his dad, who always had complete control of the situation. Tim nodded, touched the brim of his cap, and settled into the passenger seat, and in the days after, the months, the six years, he’d come to pinpoint the place in the road they must have been when his sister first went into distress, and then where they were when Hannity was born, and where they were in the night when the doctors brought Hannity back for the second time, both of his lungs blowing out from the adult-sized breathing bag. It’s still that night for Tim. And it would have all gone different if his dad could have been there, Tim knows. His dad wouldn’t have bought the midwife’s line about how the fetal monitor was just being contrary. His dad would have evaluated the situation in his military way, appreciated what was at stake, and then stepped down the hall for the doctor, for all the doctors. His dad could have saved everything, if he could have just been there. Tim has zero doubt about that. It’s why he doesn’t come home anymore, except for these, for Hannity’s impossible birthdays. Like the doctors say, too, Hannity is, if not getting better, then getting more used to the world anyway. When Tim’s sister puts the bright unfragile package in his lap, his fingers start feeling out the rough edges, smoothing them down, finally tearing the thin paper in jerks. When she dabs the icing onto his lips, after a couple of moments—Tim counts to five, almost to six—Hannity tongues a bit of the sweetness in, looks around for the rest, his eyes blinking fast. Tim smiles about it—who wouldn’t look around for more?—then accidentally catches his mom’s eyes. He pulls away, steps forward to watch what Hannity’s doing now. The remote.

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F I C T I O N “Watch this,” Tim’s sister says, clapping her hands up near her throat. Hannity has learned to aim the tapered end of the remote like a wand, evidently knows in his crude way that the buttons go on top, and mean something. “Oh no,” Alex, Tim’s brother-in-law, mimes, pausing in an exaggerated stance, from the button Hannity’s holding down. Hannity coughs a burst of excitement, waves the remote up and down. Next to pause is Tim’s sister, her beer almost touching her lips. Everybody laughing. “No, no, not the mute—,” Tim’s dad says then, cutting himself off, touching his mouth like it won’t work anymore. Everybody knows the game. Tim smiles, is suddenly caught in the remote’s invisible beam. He stands away from it. Like it’s a spotlight, an X-ray. “Volume,” his sister hisses, pointing up with her eyebrows, and Tim looks back to Hannity, waiting, pushing the button deeper. “I—,” Tim starts, raising his hands to show he doesn’t know, that he can’t, he’s just here to—, but then his sister is nodding yes to him, yes, and he stretches the I out, louder and louder, up and up, until he’s almost screaming from his place behind the couch, his eyes hot. Later his mom finds him in the hall and squeezes the side of his hand. “Thank you,” she says, and then is into the kitchen before Tim can pretend he doesn’t know what the thanks was for. An hour after that, the bottles teetering on every flat-enough surface of the living room, Tim’s sister explodes against Alex like she always does, so that Tim’s dad has to stand in the kitchen and watch the wallpaper not move, and Tim’s mom has to turn the sink on louder, and, when Hannity is suddenly just in the hallway, moving away from the living room, Tim scoops the little man up. “Let’s check out that backyard,” he says. In the living room, glass is breaking. Not on accident, Tim knows, but still, everybody can pretend, right? On the way through the kitchen he’s careful not to catch his father’s eyes. How could you not do what they were doing in the living room? That’s the thing. But the backyard, it’s better. Quieter, cooler. Tim starts to set Hannity down on the dead, uncut grass, but Hannity’s feet curl up, away from the tiny green blades, so he holds him instead, and points up, to the thousand-million stars above the reservation. “You get a wish today, you know that?” he says, but Hannity’s eyes never stop tracking whatever he’s tracking, whatever he’s seeing that nobody else can. “Seriously,” Tim says, switching arms, stepping farther away from the racket of the house, “and I bet you haven’t even used your wishes 120

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for five years. And those are the strongest ones anyway. So now you’ve got them all saved up. One big blast, little man.” Nothing. Tim nods, accepts this. It’s for the best, really. Would Hannity even know to wish for a car to have been able to go three hours instead of two? Would he know to wish that he was different now, that he was the way he should have been? Tim makes himself smile, in case Hannity’s watching. And then something plastic taps him in the side of the head. The remote. Hannity still has the remote. “Here,” Tim says, angling Hannity out to help him, to point the remote at the house, the living room. To push that mute button. Like everybody’s still playing the game, the night goes quiet. A lull. The world giving them that at least. “There,” Tim says, shrugging like this is no big deal, like this always happens—this is the remote after all, right?—then starts to say sorry to Hannity, like he’s started to a thousand-million times before, but his lower lip catches like it always does and he doesn’t say anything, just points up into the sky instead. “All of them,” he says, a senseless thing, and Hannity cues in for once, aims the remote up into the sky, his finger on the power button this time. “Yeah,” Tim says, swallowing hard and studying the quiet house, nodding that it’s safe now, that it has to be—that he can’t do this anymore—and then turns back, the birthday boy rotating in his arms, so that Hannity is the only one in the whole world to be right at this moment looking up into the sky, the only one to be smiling about it, understanding it, why the stars are winking out one by one, off.

Stephen Graham Jones is the author of eleven novels and three collections of short stories, most recently, Growing Up Dead in Texas, Zombie Bake-Off, and The Last Final Girl. Flushboy and Zombie Sharks with Metal Teeth are forthcoming. He has been an NEA Fellow, has won the Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural Fiction, the Texas Institute of Letters Award for fiction, and been a finalist for the Stoker Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, the Black Quill Award, and the Colorado Book Award. Stephen earned his PhD from Florida State University and now teaches at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of California Riverside—Palm Desert, and sometimes Clarion West. Nancy Alann

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F I C T I O N

Gerald Vizenor

Roman Beaks

A

loysius Hudon Beaulieu created marvelous blue ravens that stormy summer. He painted blue ravens over the mission church, blue ravens in the clouds, celestial blue ravens with tousled manes perched on the crossbeams of the new telegraph poles near the post office, and two grotesque blue ravens cocked as mighty sentries on the stone gateway to the hospital on the White Earth Reservation. My brother was twelve years old when he first painted the visionary blue ravens on flimsy newsprint. Aloysius was truly an inspired artist, not a student painter. He enfolded the ethereal blue ravens in newsprint and printed his first saintly name and surname on the corner of the creased paper. Aloysius Beaulieu, or beau lieu, means a beautiful place in French. That fur trade surname became our union of ironic stories, necessary art, and our native liberty. Henri Matisse painted the Nu Bleu, Souvenir de Biskra, or the Blue Nude, that same humid and gusty summer in France. The blue ravens were visionary traces and original abstract totems, the chance associations of native memories in the natural world. Aloysius was teased and admired at the same time for his distinctive images of ravens. Frances Densmore, for instance, the renowned ethnomusicologist, attended the annual native celebration and must have seen the blue ravens that summer on the White Earth Reservation. Her academic interests were more dedicated, however, to the mature traditions and practiced presentations of music than the inspirations of a precocious native artist.


President Theodore Roosevelt, that same year, proposed the Hague Convention. The international limitation of armaments was not sustained by the great powers because several nations united with Germany and vetoed the convention on military arms. The First World War started seven years later, and that wicked crusade would change our world forever. Marc Chagall and my brother would be celebrated for their blue scenes and visionary portrayals. Chagall painted blue dreams, lovers, angels, violinists, donkeys, cities, and circus scenes. He was six years older than my brother, and they both created blue visionary creatures and communal scenes. Chagall declared his vision as an artist in Vitebsk on the Pale of Settlement in Imperial Russia. Aloysius created his glorious blue ravens about the same time on the Pale of White Earth in Minnesota. He painted blue ravens and new reservation scenes, perched over the government school, the mission, hospital, cemetery, and icehouses. Many years later he blued the bloody and desolate battlefields of the First World War in France. Chagall and my brother were the saints of blues. Aloysius was commended for his godly native talents and artistic portrayals by Father Aloysius Hermanutz, his namesake and the resident priest at Saint Benedictâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mission. Nonetheless the priest provided my brother with black paint to correct the primary color of the blue ravens. The priest was constrained by holy black and white, the monastic and melancholy scenes and stories of the saints. Black was an absence, austere and tragic. Blues were a rush of presence. The solemn chase of black has no tease or sentiment. Black absorbed the spirit of natives, the light and motion of shadows. Ravens are blue, the lush sheen of blues in a rainbow, and the transparent blues that shimmer on a spider web in the morning rain. Blues are ironic, the tease of natural light. The night is blue, not black. Augustus Hudon Beaulieu, our cunning and ambitious uncle, overly praised my brother and provided more blue paint to encourage his artistry. Our determined uncle would have painted blue the entire mission, the face of the priest, earnest sisters, the government school and agents. He had provoked the arbitrary authority of federal agents from the very start of the reservation, and continued his denunciations in every conversation. Our uncle easily provided the newsprint for the blue ravens because he was the independent publisher of the Tomahawk, a weekly newspaper on the White Earth Reservation. Aloysius never painted any images for the priest, black or blue, or for the mission, and he bravely declined the invitation to decorate the newspaper building with totemic portrayals of blue bears, cranes, and ravens. He understood by intuition that our uncle and the priest would exact familiar representations of creatures, and that would dishearten the natural inspiration of any artist who created visionary sense of native presence. My brother would never paint to promote newspapers or the papacy. Blue ravens roost on the fusty monuments. Aloysius was actually a family stray, but he was never an orphan or outcast in the community. He had been abandoned at birth, a newborn

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F I C T I O N ditched at the black mission gate with no name, note, or trace of paternity. My mother secretly raised us as natural brothers because we were born on the same day, October 22, 1895. We were born in a world of crucial missions unaware of the Mauve Decade and the Gilded Age and yet we created our own era of Blue Ravens on the White Earth Reservation. That same year of our birth Captain Alfred Dreyfus was unjustly convicted of treason and dishonored as an artillery officer in France, and Auguste and Louis Lumière set in motion the cinematograph and screened films for the first time at Le Salon Indien du Grand Café at the Place de l’Opéra in Paris. Two Benedictine Sisters, Philomene Ketten, and Lioba Braun, embraced the forsaken child at the mission gate and named him in honor of the compassionate priest. Aloysius was my brother by heart and memory, by native sentiment, and our loyalty was earned by natural scares and covert confidence, always more secure as brothers in arms than by the mere count and conceit of our blood descent. Father Aloysius was solemn and solicitous in the presence of the boy who would bear his first name, and the name of a saint. The priest was an honorable servant, and he was much adored by the native parishioners of the reservation mission. Yet, to appreciate his consecrated name in the dark eyes of a forsaken native child would never be the same as a ceremonial epithet on a monument or holy façade. My mother was not pleased that her second son, my brother by chance, was named in honor of the priest. She respected the priest, the dedication of the sisters, and the mission, but she considered the name too much of a burden on the reservation. The situational caution of that priestly name was soon alleviated, however, when my aunt named her son, born a year earlier, Ignatius. The priestly name was delayed because he was not expected to survive the year. Only then were the honorable namesake of two priests and two saints acceptable to the mission and to our native families. Aloysius was never an easy name to pronounce. The teases and ridicule of his saintly name were constant at the government school, such as, “Alley boy, son of the mission priest.” Mostly the parents of the teasers were members of the Episcopal Church and dedicated critics of the Catholic Mission. Aloysius practiced the artifice of silence and the politics of evasion, similar to the rehearsal of a wise poker player, and he studied the strategies of counter teases. He would pause, turn aside, and declare, “Mostly, the son of a tricky saint.” Only the priest, the sisters, and my parents knew that my brother had been abandoned at the mission. Aloysius was delivered a second time, in a sense, a few days later at our house near Mission Lake. My mother raised us as twins, nurtured us as a timely union, and taught us to perceive the natural motion of the seasons, and the subtle hues of color in nature. She was an artist at heart and might have painted her children blue and united in flight over the reservation. Those early insights and memories were the start of my natural sense of creation stories and family. We were not the same, of course, natives and brothers are never the same, but we became intimate and loyal friends

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by experience and trust. We were driven by the same intense curiosity, by a sense of empathy, wonder, the natural surprise of intuition, and always by the tender tease of our mother. She experienced the world through our adventures, and so she teased every scene, gesture, pose, and story. Our parents were born near Bad Medicine Lake, north of Pine Point and west of Lake Itasca, the source of gichiziibi, the Great River, or the Mississippi River. Many generations before the treaty reservation two great native families, and only two, lived on the north and south shores of Bad Medicine Lake. Bigiwizigan, or Maple Taffy, the ironic nickname of a dubious native shaman, created stories of mistrust about Bad Medicine Lake because there was no obvious source of the water. The cunning shaman used the mystery of the lake to sway his stories of unease and medicine mastery. Bad Medicine, about five miles long, was cold and crystal clear, and the sources of water were natural springs. Our native ancestors created by natural reason the obvious origin stories of the water, and were secure on the north and south shore, the only native families who dared to live near the lake. Honoré Hudon Beaulieu, our father, was born on the north shore of Bad Medicine Lake. He was also known as Frenchy. Our mother was born on the south shore of the lake. These two families, descendants of great fur traders, shared the resources of the lake and pine forests. My father was private, cautious, but not reticent. He was native by natural reason and disregarded the federal treaty that established the White Earth Reservation. Honoré refused to honor the boundaries and continued to hunt, trap, fish, gather wild rice and maple syrup in the manner of his ancestors. Honoré shunned the federal agents. Margaret, our mother, was carried in a dikinaagan, or native cradleboard, and remembers the scent and stories of maple syrup. The two families of the lake came together several times a year to share the labor and stories of gathering wild rice and making maple sugar. Our parents met many times at wild rice and sugar camps. More natives were conceived at sugar camps than any other place. Honoré was a singer and woodland storier, and in his time created scenes about resistance to federal agents and the native police. He refused to relocate and shunned the summons to receive an assigned allotment of land according to the new policies of the federal government. He was a fur trade hunter and never accepted or obeyed any government. My father continued to hunt, fish, and cut timber near Waabigan, Juggler, and Kneebone lakes, as his ancestors had done for many centuries. Honoré had earned the veneration of many natives for his resistance to the government, and for his integrity as an independent hunter and trapper. Politicians and federal agents cursed his name, and yet they had never visited or heard his stories. The native police ordered and threatened him several times, but only our mother and the contract of a timber company convinced him to accept an allotment. Our father never located the actual land that was allotted in his name, an arbitrary transaction, but he agreed

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F I C T I O N to move with his pregnant wife to a new house near Mission Lake, and at the same time he was hired by a timber company to cut white pine near Bad Medicine Lake. The federal agent selected the new teachers at the government school. Most of the teachers were from Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts in New England. The agent never hired a native teacher. He always wore a black suit, and the teachers were secured in layers of white muslin with creamy flowers. The classroom was an unnatural box of distraction, the pitch and duty of an awkward hem and haw civilization. The teachers roamed and droned for hours at the chalkboards. The autumn wind soughed with the stories of native shamans in the corridors. Native word players cracked in the cold beams, and the ice woman moaned at the frosted windows. The ice woman murmured seductive stories to lonesome natives in winter, and we were the lonesome ones in school. She whispered a temptation to rest in the snow on the long walk home at night. She gathered the souls of those who were enticed by her treachery. The ice woman was a better story than the presidents. Every winter day we cracked and moved the thick clear chunks of ice on the schoolroom windows, and pretended to melt the ice woman and other concocted beasts and enemies of natives by warm breath, touch, and natural motion on the window pane. Sometimes we told stories that the government teacher was the ice woman but we never dared tease her to rest overnight in the snow. Actually we never mentioned the name of the ice woman. Our stories were only about the natives who had been tempted by the ice woman and froze to death. The federal agent denied the ice woman stories and blamed the deaths on alcohol. Only the clumsy son of the assistant agent dared to name the teacher as the ice woman. He knew nothing about native stories of shamans or the ice woman. We turned away and shunned the stupid student because natives needed the most creative stories of the ice woman to survive the winter, and we needed even better stories to survive the federal agents and barrels of commodity salt pork. Summer in the spring was our natural liberty. The only memorable experience on the reservation was nature, the rush of the seasons, summer in the early spring, the fierce autumn wind over the peneplain, the gusts and whispers in the mighty white pine. Our every moment outside of school was a sense of fugitive adventures. We shared the notions of chance, totemic connections, and the tricky stories of our natural transience in the world. We were delivered by stories, and our best stories were nothing more than the chance of remembrance. My brother was delivered by chance, we learned years later, and that clearly demonstrated our confidence in stories of coincidence and fortuity. Margaret, our mother, never revealed the mission secret that my brother was a reservation stray, a newborn of obscure paternity, and apparently that we were not related by blood, until that early summer when we were drafted and departed by train for military service in the American Expeditionary Forces in France.

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Our mother was an herbal healer and insisted that her son the artist use only natural paint colors. She provided the natural blue tints that my brother used to paint ravens. Blue was not a common native pigment, so the blue ravens were doubly distinctive. The pale blue tints were made with crushed plum, blue berries, or the roots of red cedar. My mother boiled decomposed maple stumps and included fine dust of various soft stones to concoct the rich darker hues of blue and purple. The synthetic ultramarine powder from traders was not suitable for painting. Most of the blue ravens were abstract with huge dark blue angular beaks and almost human eyes. The curves of the wings were broken in flight, and several feathers were painted with elaborate details. Some ravens were turned upside down in flight, as ravens turn over, cant, bounce, and play in flight with other ravens over the mission and post office. My brother painted blue ravens as sentries at the stone gate of the hospital, and that troubled the priest more than a naked woman, even more than the stories that my brother was the son of the priest. The giant claws of the abstract raven were painted dark blue, with faint veins and the broad traces of human hands. Two claws were curved with cracked fingernails. The two blue sentry ravens wore masks. The huge beaks were outlined and distorted, and turned to the side of the ravens. Aloysius truly painted abstract scenes by inspiration, not by mere duplication or representation, and yet the priest was concerned that he had painted the images of demons in the ravens. My brother had never seen the haunting images of raven masks with monstrous beaks worn by medical doctors during the Black Plague in Europe. Father Aloysius wore clerical collars, not masks. Aloysius was curious, of course, but my brother had already established his own expressionistic form and style, abstract blue ravens in the natural world, and the chance associations of material scenes in cities. Later he had created blue ravens of war and he would continue to create his inspired scenes of blue ravens over the parks and statues in Paris. No one on the reservation would have associated the abstract blue ravens with the modern art movements of impressionism or expressionism, or the avant-garde, and certainly not compared the color and style of the inspired raven scenes on the reservation with the controversial painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso. Yet, my brother painted by inspiration the original abstract blue ravens at the same time that Picasso created The Brothel of Avignon, the actual title, in 1907. Picasso was swayed by the notion of primitive scenes. The five naked women were pitched to the viewer, angular, gawky, excessive, abstract, and two women wore masks, the obvious influence and deliberate conceptual imitation of primitive art that had been exhibited at the Musée d’Ethnographie du Trocadéro in Paris. Aloysius accepted the crown of chance, an uncertain destiny and saintly name, and became a soldier and artist in the American Expeditionary Forces in France. We served together as scouts in the same division and infantry regiment, and survived the unbearable memories of shattered

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F I C T I O N blue faces in the brush, broken bodies, small bare bones in the muck, and solitary tremors in the ruins of war. The eyes of soldiers at the end turned hoary with no trace of rage, solemn touch, shimmer of the heart, or praise of irony. We were brothers on the reservation, brothers in the bloody blue muck of the trenches, slow black rivers, brick shambles of farms and cities, brothers of the untold dead at gruesome stations. Bodies were stacked by the day for a wretched roadside funeral in the forest ruins. We were steadfast brothers on the road of lonesome warriors, a native artist and writer ready to transmute the desolation of war with blue ravens and poetic scenes of scary civilization and native liberty. The Italian Aloysius of Gonzaga, a sixteenth century saint, was castle born and encouraged by his mighty father to become a soldier. He was a warrior only in name. Aloysius the original renounced his inheritance to become a priest and vowed chastity, poverty, and obedience, a comely ritual of conceit, monotheistic separation, and ancestral agony. Father Aloysius Hermenutz was born in the ancient Kingdom of WĂźrttemberg in 1853. He studied to become a Benedictine priest and dedicated his godly service and obedience to the care, conversion, and education of natives for some fifty years at Saint Benedictâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mission on the White Earth Reservation. Aloysius, my brother, continues his saintly name in the marvelous artistry of a painter, not in the doctrines of monotheism, obedience, and the noticeable pain of priestly courtesy. Saint Aloysius envisioned his death at age twenty-three on June 21, 1591. Aloysius Hudon Beaulieu was drafted with me and other native relatives at the very same age and in the same month some three centuries later as ordinary infantry soldiers of the American Expeditionary Forces in the First World War. The chance connections of soldiers and saints. Ignatius Vizenor and many of our other cousins enlisted or were drafted that same summer to serve as soldiers in the ironic name of the Great War. Ignatius was the namesake of Father Ignatius Tomazin, and more notably of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Ignatius, our cousin, was the firstborn of Michael and Angelina Cogger Vizenor. He was raised with four brothers and two sisters. Joseph, the last born, was elected many years later as the manager of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe in Minnesota. Ignatius and his brother Lawrence, who was a year younger, were privates in the American Expeditionary Forces in France. The Beaulieu and Vizenor families praised and raised large godly families, a legacy of the fur trade and that premier native union with spirited descendants of New France. The families were mostly devout but they became cautious Roman Catholics after the First World War and the Great Depression. Absolute devotion to a church or a saint was more uncertain after the massive death and destruction of an unspeakable world war and the absolute desperation of extreme poverty. Many native fur trade families came together with new and obscure traditions, the union of blood and treasure to honor and defend France. 128

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A disproportionate number of natives enlisted and others were drafted to serve in the military, and their reservation families invested in patriotic war bonds to cover the cost of the American Expeditionary Forces. Peter Vizenor, or Vezina, and Sophia Trotterchaud raised fourteen children, including Abraham, Henry, and Michael who married Angeline Cogger. Peter was a native hunter and fur trader at the time the reservation was established in 1868. Two of their children married and raised twenty more children. Abraham Vizenor and Margaret Fairbanks, for instance, raised five boys and six girls on the reservation. Henry Vizenor and Alice Mary Beaulieu raised nine children on the reservation and then the family moved to Minneapolis at the end of the Great Depression. Clement Hudon Beaulieu and Elizabeth Farling raised ten children and were removed by the federal government from Old Crow Wing to the new White Earth Reservation. Augustus Hudon Beaulieu, the firstborn, founded and was publisher of the Progress, and later the Tomahawk, the first weekly newspapers published on the reservation. Clement Hudon Beaulieu, the eighth child and namesake of his father, became a priest in the Episcopal Church. Charles Hudon Beaulieu served in the Civil War and was promoted from private to captain in the Ninth Minnesota Volunteers. Theodore Basil Beaulieu, the youngest of the ten children, married three times and raised six children with his first wife Anne Charette, two children with his second wife Maggie Pemberton, and four children with his third wife Anna Tanner. These first native families of the fur trade and the reservation begot a new nation, and their sons and daughters served with honor and distinction in every war elected, concocted, and declared by politicians in two centuries. Most native soldiers were born on federal reservations, served with others in integrated companies, and were not yet recognized as citizens at the time of the First World War. Natives of the fur trade served to save one of the nations of their ancestors. France established many war memorials, but never a memorial to honor the natives of the fur trade. Ignatius of Loyola was the mastermind of the Society of Jesus, otherwise named the Jesuits. Basque born more than four centuries ago he waived nobility, his knightly fortune, and by vows of poverty and chastity became a hermit, priest, and theologian. Ignatius was inspired by many reported visions of the saints, sacred adventures, and holy figures, and these marvelous ethereal contests in his dreams determined the stories of his divine service. He was canonized and declared the patron saint of soldiers. Ignatius Vizenor was never secure with a saintly name. Father Ignatius Tomazin was the first priest delegated by the abbot of Saint Johnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Abbey to establish a mission at the White Earth Reservation. Federal policy at the time favored the mercy and politics of the Episcopal Church over the secretive papacy of Rome. Father Tomazin was a testy immigrant from Ljubljana, Slovenia, with a great vision of political resistance, and he spoke the language of the native Anishinaabeg. He was provoked and criticized by Lewis Stowe, the nasty federal agent, who had been appointed by the Episcopal Bishop Henry Benjamin Whipple. Stowe

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F I C T I O N was actually the agent of the bishop, not the federal government, and he maligned Father Tomazin. The Catholic natives on the reservation defended the mission priest and united to resist the arbitrary authority of the agent and the policies of the federal government to designate a minority religious functionary. Father Ignatius Tomazin, in February 1879, accompanied a delegation of five principal native leaders, Wabanquot, or White Cloud, the head chief, Mashakegeshig, Munedowu, Shawbaskung, and Hole in the Day, the younger, to discuss the crucial issues of native liberty on the White Earth Reservation with federal officials in Washington. Father Tomazin was eventually removed from the White Earth Reservation because he rightly goaded the federal agents and chosen Episcopalians. The feisty priest protected native political liberty. Some thirty years later he served as the pastor of a church in Albany, Minnesota. Tragically the nasty parishioners of that mingy and disagreeable community challenged the priest, beat and cursed him in the parish house, and chased him out of town. Father Tomazin, then in his seventies, was badly wounded in spirit and, deceived by his own resistance, wandered to Chicago and “jumped to his death from the sixth floor of a hotel,” according to the New York Times, August 27, 1916. Ignatius, our coy, courteous, and elegant cousin would not survive the saintly names or priestly patronage. He was born premature, so tiny as an infant that he was swaddled in an ordinary cigar box. Partly to overcome the constant teases and tedious stories of his hasty birth and chancy presence he became a fancy dresser on the reservation. He wore smart suits, ties, and a dark fedora, but his courage and costumes were not enough to survive the horror of the First World War. Ignatius was killed in action on October 8, 1918, at Montbréhain, France, and buried in Saint Benedict’s Cemetery on the White Earth Reservation. Aloysius revealed his visions in the creative portrayals of blue ravens, and the abstract ravens became his singular totem of the natural world. He was convinced that his totemic associations were original, and there were no other blue raven totems or cultures in the world. Aloysius forever soared with ravens and never wholly returned to the ordinary world of priests, missions, communion of saints, the strains of authenticity, newspapers, manly loggers, salt pork, or the mundane catechism, recitations, and lectures on civilization by lonesome missionaries, teachers and federal agents. He became a blue raven painter of liberty. My brother actually inspired me to become a writer, to create the stories anew that our relatives once told whenever they gathered in the summer for native celebrations, at native wakes, and funerals at the mission. Our relatives were great storiers, and natural leaders with many versions of stories and reservation scenes, and for that reason they were associated with the crane totem, the orators of the early Anishinaabe. Frances Densmore, the musicologist and curious explorer of native cultures, recorded native songs and stories on the reservation. She was mostly interested in the translation of the songs and oral stories. My inter-

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ests were in the actual creation of the songs and stories, and the totemic variation of stories, not in the mere concepts and evidence of culture. The specialists forever collected native stories and concocted a show of conceptual traditions. The culture was ours, of course, and the show was never the same in the studies by outside experts. Similar stories were told over and over with many personal and communal variations at native festivals, funerals, and summer celebrations. The heart and humor of native stories and cultures are never in the books of outsiders. Aloysius inspired me to create visionary stories and scenes of presence, stories that were elusive and not merely descriptive. The scenes of blue ravens in court, ravens balanced on the back of a black horse, and seven blue ravens perched in a caboose were memorable. He created abstract ravens in motion, the very scenes of his visions and memory, but words were too heavy, too burdened by grammar and decorated with documented history to break into blue abstract ravens and fly. My recollections of the words in stories were not the same as artistic or visionary scenes, not at first. Dreams are scenes, not words, but one or two precise words could create a vision of the scene. That would be my course of literary art and liberty. Frances Densmore visited the reservation that summer and indirectly provided me with the intuition and the initial tease of visionary songs and stories. Yes, we were twelve year old native amateurs at the time, so the actual memory of my inspiration is much clearer today. Densmore recorded hundreds of native singers on a phonograph, a cumbersome machine that recorded sound directly onto cylinders. We had heard the songs of shamans and animals, of course, but we had never heard the immediate recorded tinny sound of a human voice. Densmore recorded singers and the song stories, the situation, cultural significance, and descriptive meaning of the song. The stories of the songs inspired me, and by intuition the actual creation of written scenes and stories became much easier for me. Densmore, for instance, recorded this song by Odjibwe, the traditional native singer, little plover, it is said, has walked by. Only eight words were translated, nothing more. The song scenes were active and memorable because the listeners understood the story. The song story is what inspired me to create the presence of listeners in the story. The song dancers imitated the natural motions of the plover, elusive motions to distract intruders and predators. The little plover was alone, always vulnerable near the lakeshore. That sense of motion was portrayed in my three written stories that were inspired by the native song of the plover dance. The listeners and readers must appreciate the chance of the plover. My first three stories were neatly written on newsprint, and my brother painted two blue abstract ravens for the cover of the plover dance scenes. The first stories were gathered by my mother but were lost in a house fire, never folded or signed on the corner. The fire destroyed the early box camera photographs of my brother and me when we sold newspapers at the station, when we worked in the liberty stable of the Hotel

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F I C T I O N Leecy, and the only photographs of us as soldiers in the American Expeditionary Forces. Ignatius was the first to leave for the war, and we were pictured arm in arm at the train station. The first story was about the cocky little plover with the most sensational wounded wing dance, so impressive that the evasive motion of the plover dance was easily perceived and imitated by envious dancers and predators. My second story was about the plover with an irregular hobble, an intricate dance that feigned a broken foot and a wounded wing. The elusive dance was so decisive that the plover could only reveal the artistry of the dance to escape the envies of a predator. The third story was about a plover with a variety of trivial vaudeville performances, feigns, guises, blue raven masks, acrobatic, and deceptive plover dances that entertained and completely distracted and deceived the intruders and predators. The most evasive plover dances were the crafty and clumsy practice of tricky entertainment. My first three written stories were visionary, and the stories demonstrated by specific metaphors of three plover dances the actual and familiar experiences of natives on the reservation. My last story was the dance of the trickster plover of liberty. Native saints and secrets were blue, the blue of creation and visions of motion, not deprivation, the conceit of sacrifice, or the godly praise of black and tragic death. Blue were the origin of the earth and stories of creative energy. The mountains emerged from the blue sea and became that singular trace of blue creation and the hues of sunrise. Blue morning, blue seasons, blue summer, blue thunder, blue winter nights, and the irony of blue blood. Blue snow at night, blue shadows in the spring light, blue spider webs, and wild blue berries were natural totemic connections. Some nations were blue, coat of arms blue, blue flags on the wind. The chance of native stories, memories, conscience, and the sacred were a mighty blue. Blue ravens were the saints forever in abstract motion, and the traces of blue were eternal in native stories. Blue ravens were the new totem of native motion. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Roman Beaksâ&#x20AC;? is the first chapter of the historic novel Blue Ravens: Native American Indians in the First World War, forthcoming from Wesleyan University Press, 2014.

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E S S A Y

Edward Welch

Oscar Howe’s Wounded Knee Massacre and the Politics & Popular Culture of an American Masterpiece There is not one iota of evidence to sustain the belief that there was any ordered or organized brutality. —Will G. Robinson, South Dakota state historian, 1960

Wounded Knee Massacre, casein on paper, 1959-1960, Oscar Howe, Yanktonai Dakota (1915-1983).

If there is any error in the painting by Oscar Howe it is only the limitations inherent in depiciting action that spread over several miles within the borders of a single canvas.

—Robert Pennington, 1961


E S S A Y This essay introduces Oscar Howe’s masterly painting Wounded Knee Massacre by providing a historical context of the work and by examining the political and popular culture elements of the painting shortly after its completion. Finally this essay addresses the silence of the painting in the field of (Native) American art history due to the work’s limited exhibition history and lack of writing in the art history canon. Created in late 1959 and early 1960, Oscar Howe’s casein painting Wounded Knee Massacre is a largely unnoticed work, and yet one of the most controversial, in the artist’s remarkable career. Wounded Knee Massacre depicts a moment in history between the Lakota and United States Army on December 29, 1890. The event known today as the Massacre at Wounded Knee is often identified by American historians as marking the end of the era of United States-Indian warfare on the plains. In Howe’s vivid painting, a troop of uniformed Calvary officers stand at the edge of a pit and fire down into a crowd of defenseless Lakota Sioux. Howe described the painting in a collaborative project with John R. Milton, Professor of English at the University of South Dakota, where Howe worked as the artist-in-residence and Professor of Art at the state’s flagship public university. Howe explained that the purpose of the work “was to record a historical event, namely the massacring of Chief Big Foot and his starving Sioux Indians by the 7th Calvary troops in 1890” ( Howe n.p.). Howe’s explanation of the painting continued:

diately opened fire on the frightened desperate Indians with the bayoneted rifles. They drove men, women, and children back into a natural ravine and trained their Gatling machine guns on them, mowing down the hapless men, women and children. (Howe n.p.).

The remainder of Howe’s descriptive essay on Wounded Knee Massacre provides ample evidence on the formal and aesthetic considerations he chose in his depiction of this historical event. He wrote that he “kept the painting semiobjective rather than abstract. It was not meant to be a shocker but merely a recorded true event. I heard about this story from the Indians. There was more to the massacre, but I left out some of the gory details” (Howe n.p.). Howe continued to explain the history of the event: “The massacre paradoxically happened at Christmas time. One of the reasons for the massacre was to avenge General Custer’s death at the Battle of Little Big Horn” (Howe n.p.). Howe was known for a reserved and composed personality. He was described as shy and quiet by those who knew him as a teacher, friend, or neighbor. However, upon being prompted, Howe enjoyed discussing his artwork, and Wounded Knee Massacre was no exception. He spoke at great length about the intention of the painting and his art-making decisions in this work:

The Indians were disarmed of their weapons even to the taking of the women’s sewing needles. The men and boys were separated from the women and children. During the disarming of one of the Indians one shot went off accidentally. The white soldiers imme-

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The design gives the impression of an open grave with a structure-like tombstone of soldiers. In a movement of the macabre onslaught it was a movement of agony with the writhing bodies like human red flames in ghastly rhythm with the read flashes from the guns as visual piercings into the dying group. Over them the white soldiers stand, stilted, impassionately-posed gunlike figures much like the deadly bullet

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streaks and flashes from their guns. The visual content is erratic like the contrasting movements of two groupal masses: the curvilinear movement of Indian bodies below the ground level contrast to the static vertical movements of the white soldiers in a group above the ground level. (Howe, n.p.).

Howe had spent much of his career in the exploration of line, movement, and color with a decidedly Dakota Sioux Indian subject matter. Wounded Knee Massacre evidences his exploration of color in particular and the ways in which the artist considered the characteristics of color as applied to traditional Sioux arts. Howe intentionally departed from the traditional symbolism of Sioux colors and their meanings as indicated with this painting. The parallel groups embody contrasting feelings, causing a paradox of Sioux symbolic colors: the supposedly peaceful blue is the color of the clothing worn by the soldiers, and the supposedly war-like red is the color of the Indians. And so, the reversal of meanings detracts from the beauty of traditional colors. The yellow, symbolic of religion, here is the color of the ground like a carpet on which the unnatural is happening. The gray is the natural color of the underground and ashes of fire; here it means interment and symbolizes Indian fate in an analogy to the ashes. The blue sky, muted to offset its symbolic Indian meaning, forms the background. The red spots on the ground of the death ditch are blood from the Indians. (Howe n.p.).

Howe ended his description of the painting with the following two sentences: The event-scene shows the culminated emotions at a time of opposing forces. Thus ended a brief spiritual revival of the Sioux Indians. (Howe n.p.).

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Surprisingly, there is little mention of the painting in any scholarship on the history of Howe’s art. Writing on Wounded Knee Massacre has thus far been limited to Susan Forsyth’s graphic description of the painting in the prologue of her book Representing the Massacre of American Indians at Wounded Knee, 1890-2000, and Jeffrey Ostler’s discussion of the painting in his concluding chapter of The Plains Sioux and U.S. Colonialism from Lewis and Clark to Wounded Knee (Forsyth 1-5; Ostler 366-367). Wounded Knee Massacre was in fact an anomaly in Howe’s oeuvre viewed in light of the artist’entire career. The historical-political subject matter of the painting was uncommon territory for Howe. “Howe was intensely aware of the unjust treatment of his people,” argue Day and Quintal, “but with one notable exception, Wounded Knee, he consciously avoided social protest in favor of the beauty in Sioux culture” (55). Wounded Knee Massacre does not fit the general mold of his work characterized by interpretation of Dakota life and culture in his professional career which spanned roughly four decades and over five hundred paintings. Retracing the history of Howe’s decision to address the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890, we need to turn to the historical record to better understand the artist’s motive and intent. From the mid-to-late 1950s and prior to painting Wounded Knee Massacre, Howe had extensively research the Ghost Dance Movement of the Plains Sioux. In a series of letters to Dorothy Dunn, Howe’s former art instructor at the Santa Fe Indian School in the 1930s who had organized an exhibition of his paintings at the Museum of New Mexico, Howe informed Dunn that he was working on a number of paintings with a Ghost Dance/r theme and also

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E S S A Y that he was preparing a work on the massacre at Wounded Knee. In a letter dated April 10, 1959, Howe notified Dunn that he had created two works based on the Ghost Dance and that he was working on another. Howe further informed Dunn that he had been told the stories of Wounded Knee from survivors of family members directly involved in the massacre. At the end of the letter, Howe stated that his grandmother told him much of the history of the Sioux people and that Francisco Goya, The Third of May 1808, 1814. “she herself had been in attacks by whites, [and that] she had a historical event from the artist’s perscar on her hand, where she had been spective. Finished by the artist in 1814, shot through the hand by white soldiers” Goya’s painting depicts the reluctant sur(Howe n.p.). render of Spanish civilians to Napoleon Bonaparte’s imperial French army. In the Another indication of his interest in the painting, the people of Madrid defend topic includes several literary works in the imposing leader’s advancement in his personal library, including ethnograan intense scene. Surrounded by Spanpher James Mooney’s account, The Ghostish civilians with the French army’s guns Dance Religion and the Sioux Outbreak of pointed directly at him, the painting’s 1890, and a document with the list of central figure is dressed in white with his the names of Lakota people who died at arms spread in surrender (Febbrano and Wounded Knee. Both sources offer hints Schwetje 246-247). to the deeply personal nature of Howe’s interest and research into the history of Inspired by Goya, Manet’s Execution the tragic events at Wounded Knee in the of Emperor Maximilian winter of 1890. Paintings on the subject of the firing squad by three renowned artists provide a backdrop to understanding the work by Howe in an art-historical context. Francisco Goya’s The Third of May 1808 (1814), Édouard Manet’s Execution of Emperor Maximilian (1868-69), and Pablo Picasso’s Massacre in Korea (1951) each depict a separate and distinct 136

Pablo Picasso, Massacre in Korea, 1951.

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in clear divisions. The vertical orientation of Wounded Knee Massacre suggests Howe purposefully flipped the composition in contrast to the group of paintings by Goya, Manet, and Picasso. Howe’s composition differs from the horizontal divisions in the preceeding paintings. Howe placed the Army directly over the Lakota, creating a stark symbolic division of oppression in a similar vein of the earlier paintings.

Édouard Manet,The Execution of Emperor Maximilian, 1867.

reflects a similar style in terms of composition and intent. Manet was said to have witnessed Goya’s painting in person at the Prado before setting out to create a firing squad painting of his own era (Danto). Similar to the composition of Goya’s painting, Manet’s Execution of Emperor Maximilian depicts the execution-style assassination of three people including Maximilian, a Habsburg duke appointed emperor of Mexico by Napoleon III, by members of the Mexican-led army. Picasso’s Massacre in Korea, based on a study of the aforementioned works, reflects a similar composition. Picasso distorts the victims—Korean women and children—with his unique figurative style. Picasso also alters the American occupiers to depict machine-like aggressors (Febbrano and Schwetje 362-363). With this broader art-historical perspective in mind, Wounded Knee Massacre demonstrates Howe’s attention to the thematic and historical concerns of his art with an explicit intent to place the victims and aggressors S PRING 2 0 1 3

Howe’s inclusion of “the pit” in his painting further suggests that the artist studied George Trager’s photograph of the mass burial at Wounded Knee following the attack. The morose image, taken a few days after the mass execution by the United States Army, depicts a pile of dead bodies stacked in a makeshift grave with armed members of the Army looking on. After its completion in early 1960, Howe’s painting appeared in at least two newspapers in early February of that year. Wounded Knee Massacre was repro-

Photograph of the Mass Burial at Wounded Knee, January 1, 1891.

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E S S A Y officers, participated in an organized brutality. What happened at best would make any informed and intelligent man wince. But it had no ‘worst’ as depicted by Howe. There is not one iota of evidence to sustain the belief that there was any ordered or organized brutality. As an historian, the area where the sad affair transpired, I do not feel that I can let the ‘Howe picture’ go unchallenged. I am enclosing a couple of markers that we have erected that factually, augmented by small markers on the field, present the reasonably exact story. Oscar Howe, as an Indian, cannot deplore what happened at Wounded Knee more than I as a white man do, but after all, he should use his talents to depict and not distort the truth.

duced alongside a story by journalist Art Raymond in the Mitchell Daily Republic on February 6 and again the following day in full-color on February 7 in the Sunday edition of the Minneapolis Tribune. The controversial imagery and contentious nature of the painting was highlighted a few weeks after its publication. In a newspaper editorial, a state official named Will G. Robinson from Pierre, the state’s capital, issued a public rebuke of Howe’s painting and offered a defense of the United States’ involvement in the massacre at Wounded Knee. Robinson strongly objected to the painting’s subject matter in a Letter to the Editor on February 29 in the Mitchell Daily Republic, a newspaper based in Mitchell, South Dakota. Under the headline “Distortion,” the editorial read: When a copy of your paper on February 6, 1960, was handed to me with Oscar Howe’s version of the lamentable Wounded Knee tragedy, I sat down and wrote a rather long story of why I thought it to be a historical distortion. I’m afraid that I went into so much detail that you would not be tempted to use it at all. If there is anything I dislike more than historical distortion, it is editorial amendments by way of deletion that not infrequently wrecks constructive thought. I do think your readers should understand that the Howe picture is an artist’s conception.

Robinson continued his harsh rebuke of the painting and Howe’s depiction of the events in late December of 1890. The editorial continued: Without going into minor detail or commenting on other factors, the viewers’ conception of the Wounded Knee tragedy, with nothing more than Howe’s picture to go on, would inevitably be that the Army had, at command of its

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WILL G. ROBINSON, Secretary, Dept. of History, Pierre, S. D.

Oscar Howe never publicly responded to Robinson’s scathing editorial that accused the artist of “distorting” history. As was his preference, Howe allowed the art to speak for itself, and he would not confront Robinson nor any other person who denied the truth of what happened at Wounded Knee. Howe’s painting of the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890 was indeed the artist’s “conception” of an actual event in history. Howe’s interpretation of the event was in line with his belief in painting the truth, demonstrating that he was not unaffected by the plight of his people or the social consciousness of the times. The issue raised by Will G. Robinson is important because he was the state’s official historian at the time. While Robinson’s motives remain less clear, the zealous language of his editorial seems to suggest that the two men had been at odds with one another prior to the completion of the Wounded Knee painting. Robinson and Howe had a longstanding acquaintance dating back to at

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least 1946, and Robinson undoubtedly knew of Howe’s reputation as a modern American Indian artist. Less than two months following the controversial editorial, Wounded Knee Massacre received national attention ever so briefly during the artist’s guest appearance on the popular television program, “This is Your Life.” Televised on the evening of April 13, 1960, Howe was surprised on camera before a national audience during “This is Your Life, Oscar Howe.” During the show, a close-up of Wounded Knee Massacre was shown, and the show’s host asked Howe what the painting depicted. Howe closed his eyes in thought. When he spoke aloud, he informed the show’s host, Ralph Edwards, that the historical events surrounding the massacre at Wounded Knee were a response to “Custer’s Battle,” a reference to the June 1876 Battle of Little Big Horn where the Cheyenne and Sioux famously routed General George Armstrong Custer’s 7th Cavalry. Howe stumbled to find the right words under the spotlight of national television to fully appreciate what he had created. The televised scene occurred in a matter of a few tense seconds as Howe contemplated the painting. Edwards quickly cut off Howe from elaborating on the meaning and decision to paint Wounded Knee Massacre. Edwards, however, did then make the outrageous claim that the Indian men sitting behind the host and Howe were survivors of the massacre at Wounded Knee. Edwards’ off-handed remark was untrue, of course, but made for good television appeal. At the end of the television program, Edwards announced that his production company had purchased Wounded Knee Massacre from Howe through an arrangement with the artist’s wife Heidi Howe. S PRING 2 0 1 3

The announcement of the purchase of the painting was mostly inaudible to those in attendance and those watching at home amidst the excitement of the crowd in hearing that Howe had won a brand-new Ford station wagon. Edwards further announced Wounded Knee Massacre, described by the host as a “masterpiece by an American Indian,” would be presented to President Dwight Eisenhower. Wounded Knee Massacre was eventually gifted to President Eisenhower by Edwards following the television program and, intentionally or not, effectively shuffled away from the story of American history. Today the painting is located in the collection of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas. In the fifty plus years since its creation, Wounded Knee Massacre remains largely unknown by historians of modern Native American and American art. Since the painting left Howe’s hands following the television program, the painting has never been shown in an art exhibition in South Dakota or elsewhere. Despite its controversy, or perhaps as a result of it, few common citizens have seen the work in person given its limited exhibition history. There was no celebration, no discussion, no memory, of Oscar Howe’s iconic painting as part of its fiftieth anniversary in 2010. Driving on the interstate that summer, with my wife and infant son on board, we listened with great interest to the National Public Radio program on the fiftieth anniversary of a book, Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. Weekend Edition essayist Dian Roberts spoke about her hero of the book, Atticus Finch, the lawyer-father who dared to stand in the way of segregation and hatred in the South. My mind wandered during the NPR program as I compared the publication of 139


E S S A Y To Kill A Mockingbird with the painting of the massacre at Wounded Knee. Paintings, like novels, are sometimes a reflection of past stories. And yet, growing up in Pierre, South Dakota, I do not remember the massacre at Wounded Knee as part of any history lesson that I was taught in school. Listening to the fascinating program that day, I thought of Howe as a cultural hero in much the same way as Atticus Finch—both men who had the personal resolve to do good in a world

where good deeds and honorable values can easily be overshadowed by greed and prejudice. The critical difference was, of course, that Howe was real, not a fictional literary character every kid in school read about including myself. I could not help but think about the silence of Oscar Howe’s life, and his painting as a vital element of the American narrative that has been overlooked for far too long.

Works Cited Danto, Arthur C. “Surface Appeal.” The Nation. 11 January 2007. Print. Day, John, and Margaret Quintal. “Oscar Howe: Father of the New Native American Art.” Southwest Art. 1984: 52‑60. Febbrano, Flavio and Burkhard Schwetje. How to Read World History in Art. New York: Abrams, 2010. Forsyth, Susan. Representing the Massacre of American Indians at Wounded Knee, 1890-2000. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen, 2003. Howe, Oscar. Letter to Dorothy Dunn, 10 April 1959. Oscar Howe Collection. University of South Dakota. —. Oscar Howe: Artist. Ed. John R. Milton. 1974. Vermillion: University of South Dakota Press, 2004. “Oscar Howe Painting of Wounded Knee Renews Controversy.” Mitchell Daily Republic, 6 Feb. 1960. “The Wounded Knee Massacre.” Minneapolis Tribune, 7 Feb. 1960. Ostler, Jeffrey. The Plains Sioux and U.S. Colonialism from Lewis and Clark to Wounded Knee. New York: Cam bridge University Press, 2004. Pennington, Robert. Oscar Howe: Artist of the Sioux. Sioux Falls: Dakota Territory Centennial Commission, 1961. Robinson, Will G. “Distortion.” Mitchell Daily Republic, 29 Feb. 1960. “This is Your Life, Oscar Howe.” This is Your Life. Ralph Edwards Production. NBC. 13 April 1960. Television.

Edward Welch is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Native American Studies at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. A native of Pierre, South Dakota, Welch earned his Juris Doctor and Masters in History at the University of South Dakota. He completed his PhD in American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona in 2011. Greg Latza

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F I C T I O N

Simon Ortiz

Rhetoric of Continuity Story Upon Story, Story Within Story, Story On-going, Story On and On and On

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rer Rabbit is Indigenous. Brer Bear is Indigenous. Brer Snake is Indigenous. Did you know that? Truu-tuh-neemastha. Kuumeh-dzah. Kuumeh-haaah. No? Yes. Maybe so? Hee-yuh, guuwah maah-meh chaimaatse. Who knows which way the truth goes. Okay, some people say Rabbit came from Africa. Or from Europe. Or Asia. Or the South Pacific. Not Arizona. Not New York. Not Georgia. Not Washington. And okay, Bear came from Europe, not from North Carolina. And Snake came from Asia, not from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas where there’s a lot of snakes! Not to mention New Mexico, California, Colorado, Montana, yeah, all those places, United Snakes of America. Where does story come from David Burkchalter anyway? Seems like everywhere you go, you hear stories? In fact, I know Brer Deh-tyah is from Acoma because there’s a story about him—or her—there. And I know Brer Tsuush-khi—Coyote, as you might know him or her by that name—is from Acoma too because there are dozens of stories about him or her there. And there are hundreds and probably thousands of stories of Coyote just in the U.S. alone! And I know definitely Tse-maashah oowahkah is from Acoma because there is this one story that has Tse-maashah oowahkah in it. What more proof do you need than that, that Tse-maashah oowahkah is from Acoma? Which shows that the story is native or Indigenous to Aacqu. Yes? Yes. What? Hmmmmm. Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you. Tse-maashah oowahkah. Okay, then. I’ll tell you what it means. You know what pine trees are. Yes? No? Piñon trees. Evergreen trees. Like in the pine forests in the Zuni Moun-


F I C T I O N tains. Or Deeni buuh to the west of Acoma. Or north to Kaweshtima, usually known as Mt. Taylor. It’s the heavy sap that oozes from the trees. Big gobs you can pick off the ground under the trees. Or off the tree trunks. Tse-maahsha, that’s what that stuff is. Pine pitch, pine sap. Real sticky, gluey, gooey stuff, natural glue! If you get it on your hands or your clothes or your hair, you’re in trouble! Sticky t-r-o-u-b-l-e spells sticky trouble! Tse-maasha, that’s what it’s called. And oowahhkah, that’s the Acoma word for baby. You know, a little baby, a toddler, toddler-sized. A little oowahkah. So Tse-maahsha oowaahka is Pine Tar Baby. Or Pine Pitch Baby. Tse-maasha oowaahka. Say it after me: Tse-maasha oowaahka. Tsee-maasha oowaahka. You got it! Now, you know that it’s an Acoma story. Right? Well, it could be from other places too, just like many, many folk stories of the world. And actually that’s their beauty, that they—folk stories—come from many places! And now you want to hear a story. I thought you might. It’s a simple story, like most memorable stories are. I’ll tell you a story and then I want to say a few things about story and storytelling and how story on and on and on is rhetoric of continuity. Alright, this story not necessarily an Acoma story but a story nonetheless: Kee-hah-maa-hah, a long time ago, there was a man—we’ll call him Hushtee-dzehshih. Or Hushtee for short. He was a farmer. Acoma people were farmers, growing corn, pumpkins, chile, melons, beans, other food crops. Hushtee was a farmer like other Acomas. He was a hard worker, and he had the reputation of being a good farmer. He had a wife with whom he would share his feelings and views on life and comments on what was going on around him. You know, his triumphs and his trials, his successes and his failures. And, especially, troubles with his garden. In fact, just then, something was eating the garden plants he was growing! Or was trying to grow, that is. He would plant corn seeds or pumpkin seeds. And the seeds would sprout and the little bitty green plant would pop out of the ground, seeking the sunlight and bright world all around. Hushteedzehshih would be very happy and delighted when the seeds popped out of the ground as green corn plants and green squash plants, and he would dance and sing. Ah hah ah ah aaaaahah ah haaaah ah sheetuunih nih ih ih sheetuu-nih ih ih ihhhh. Ahneh-eh eh eh. And he would say what he heard his elders saying when he was a boy: When you are happy and joyful, your plants will be happy and joyful. And they will grow in happiness and joyfulness! He would remember it was important to celebrate the vitality of life as the plants grew. Yes, of course, it is important to celebrate with language the life of plants, just like it is important to celebrate with language our human lives! But the problem was a problem, that is, something eating Hushteedzehshih’s plants was a problem! “Every night, something or someone is eating my beautiful growing plants,” he complained. “So I’m going to take care of that problem-causing nuisance,” he said to Kow-kqui-ie, his wife. “That’s what I’m going to do. If I don’t get rid of that nuisance, it’s going to eat us out of house and home.”

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“What are you going to do? “ Kow-kqui-ie— his wife—said. “And how are you going to do what you’re going to do?” “First I’m going to go get some tsee-mahshah!” Hush-stee said. “I know just the place to go. I’m going to go climb the Quutiih where the pinon trees have a lot of tse-mahshah.” So that’s what Hush-stee-dezshih did. He climbed a mountain nearby and gathered tse-mahshah from the pine tree bark. He had to be very careful with Billy J. Stratton the very sticky tsemah-shah. Because, as you know, it is very sticky stuff. Indeed, it is stickier than glue, in fact. Maybe even stickier than airplane glue! He had to rub his hands on the sand and with sand every frequent once in a while! Finally, though, he got enough globs of the tse-mah-shah, and he went on home with it. Shruweh-tse chu-wee-trah Tse-mashah Uwaa-kah. So then Hushtee made a Pine Pitch Baby. First the baby’s head he formed by making a round ball of the tse-mah-shah. And then the body: shoulders, chest, back, stomach, and lower limbs, such as thighs and legs that he formed from the globs of tse-mah-shah. And then Hushtee added the arms and hands also from the sticky tse-mah-sha. Can you imagine all the work it took to make Tse-mah-shah Uwaakah? It took practically all day, in fact, and it was evening and night was falling by the time Hush-stee finished the Pine Pitch Baby. “He’nah shru-weh, now,” he said, “I’m going to go and take Tsemah-shah Uwaakah and place it on the trail as a greeter to the nuisance that’s been eating our plants. That’s what I’m going to do.” “So that’s what you’re going to do with the Tse-mah-shah Uwaakah,” Kqow-kquie said. “So that’s what you have made, a greeter.” “Yes, a greeter—an ah-yaashuutse—that’s what this baby is!” Hushtee said with a big grin. So Hushstee took Tse-mah-shah Uwaakah to the garden with the corn and squash plants, and he went to the trail that the nuisance

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would use as it came to eat the growing plants. Yes, that’s the trail that Hahstee went to, and that’s the trail on which he placed the Tse-mahshah Uwaakah. Right in the middle of the trail, that’s where he put Tse-mah-shah Uwaakah, so there was no way the nuisance could miss it. And then Hahstee left to go home to rest, telling himself that he would return the next day. Time passed, and soon it was deep night. The wind was moving gently and without any noise. There was only starlight that night. Soon on that trail where the Tse-mah-shah Uwaakah waited on the trail, something or someone was approaching. Why it was Deh-tyah, that’s who it was. Deh-tyah, ehmee! Rabbit, it was! He came along happy as he could be, expecting to find the feast he had found before. He knew exactly what to expect: corn and squash greens. Fresh ones too! Crisp and juicy! Just what he was looking for. Deh-tyah’s favorites. Other nights he had found those delicious and luscious veggies. Deh-tyah savored the thought of them. Ummmmmm hmmm! Mah meh emee ah-neu stih, he said to himself. Very much in a delicious way, they are my special favorites—that’s what Rabbit meant! As he went along the trail, Deh-tyah hummed a corn and squash greens hunting song. Well, it was an uu-waiyuutse ‘yuunih, a hunting song, in other words, a hunting song for game animals. But Deh-tyah was an inventive fellow. He made a song up as he went along. Maybe Coyote was his teacher. Who knows? Well, he felt he was doing a clev-

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er thing on his way to the feast he pictured in his mind! Humming his made-up song. Hmmmm ah ha ah substituting Dyaanih (Deer) with Daah-nee (Squash) and Quuti (Antelope) with Yaa-cheenih (Corn). That’s kind of a stretch, but, you know, it’ll do, Deh-tyah figured. He dance-walked as he went along. Hmmmm ah Daaah nee Yaa-cheenihih ahh ahh hah. Aaaahaaahh!!! Abruptly, Deh-tyah’s song stopped. That is, Deh-tyah stopped singing. Very abruptly, in fact! Whaaaaaat? Deh-tyah said, his voice a question. Deh-tyah came to a screeching halt. Well, a dance-walking halt! Something was on the trail ahead of him! Something? What was it? Deh-tyah peered into the dark. Something was standing on the trail in front of him, in his way. It was a dark night, the only light was just the starlight from above, and Deh-tyah could not tell what it was in front of him. Deh-tyah couldn’t see that it was Tse-mah-shah Uuwaakah silently standing there. Deh-tyah was startled for a moment, but very quickly, he composed himself. “Guwaadze,” he said in a friendly way, hailing whoever it was on the trail in front of him. But there was no hail in return. No sound. No word, not a peep. Nothing. Tse-mah-shah Uuwaakah did not speak. The Pine Pitch Baby had no voice. “Guwaadze,” Deh-tyah said again, louder and firmer, stepping closer to the Tse-mah-shah Uuwaakah. No reply from the Pine Pitch Baby. Nothing. No word. Not a peep. “Guwaadze, steh-nah-tah,” (Hello, how are you? I have said this to you.) Dehtyah said, louder, definitely louder this time! Still not a word from Tse-mah-shah Uuwaakah. “Chahkeh, guwaadze, srah-tse-kuu-yah,” Deh-tyah said (Again, I said hello to you.) even louder now! No sound. No word. Not a peep. Nothing from Tse-mahshah Uwaakah. Deh-tyah stepped Billy J. Stratton closer. “Guwaadze,

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dzee-kah-nah steh-nah-tah,” Deh-tyah said (Hello, I say again to you.). “Trah-kah?” (Do you hear?) “Koomeh peh-shah-trudah?” (Or are you deaf?”) Deh-tyah said, his voice sounding somewhat mean. No sound, not a peep. Nothing from Tse-mah-shah Uuwaakah. Not a bit of sound. Now Deh-tyah was really angry. Fiery and boiling mad! “Okay, henah!” Deh-tyah said, “Get out of my way then, if you want to be so impolite and not say anything when I speak to you!”And still no word. No sound, no peep! And Tse-mah-shah Uwaakah did not move. Not an inch. No sound, no movement, no nothing! “Okay then, you leave me no choice! You’re not answering me, and you’re not moving out of the way! If you don’t move, I’m going to punch you!” Tse-mah-shah Uuwaakah didn’t say anything and it did not move. Deh-tyah wound up his fist and arm in a cocked position, but still there was no response from Tse-mah-shah Uuwaakah. And so Deh-tyah threw a big punch! And Deh-tyah’s fist got stuck! Instantly held fast by the thick and sticky and gooey stuff that was Tse-mahshah Uwaakah. And immediately, Deh-tyah hollered, “Kah-tuuweenai-e. Kah-tuuwee-nai-e!” (Let me go. Let me go.) But his fist was held fast and very tightly! And still no word or sound or peep from Tse-mah-shah Uuwaakah. “Kah-tuuwee-nai-e. Kah-tuuwee-nai-e! Dze dzeh tyah-tuuwee-nai-e, duwee-yah-nee-yah nieu bashah-tsa-shrowmah!” (Let me go. Let me go. If you don’t let me go, with this other fist I will punch you out!) Deh-tyah said, holding up his other hand balled into a fist! But still no sound from Pitch Pine Baby. And not a move. So with a lunge Deh-tyah threw a punch with his other hand with all his might!

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And immediately his fist was stuck tight to Tse-mah-shah Uuwaakah. Deh-tyah tried to wiggle loose but the more Deh-tyah wiggled trying to free his hand, the more Deh-tyah was stuck! I mean really stuck! That didn’t stop Deh-tyah from hollering though! “Kah-tuuwee-nai-e. Kah-tuuwee-nai-e!” he hollered loud. As loud as he could. Let me go! Let me go! But to no avail. Tse-mah-shah Uwaakah would not let Dehtyah go. “If you don’t let me go,” Deh-tyah hollered frantically, “I’m going to kick you with my foot” And Deh-tyah wiggled and shook his foot and leg to show he meant business! Tse-mah-shah Uwaakah did not let go, and so Deh-tyah swung his leg with a powerful kick! And he was again stuck! So now his right hand and arm were stuck; and his left hand and arm were stuck! AND NOW his foot was stuck. Oh my! What to do. Immediately, Deh-tyah shouted, “Kah-tuuwee-nai-e. Kah-tuuweenai-e! If you don’t let me go I’m going to kick you with this foot.! Dzah tah tuuwee-nai-e, mah meh neetah shrou mah!” Deh-tyah shook and wiggled his other leg and foot. And then, not waiting for a reply, Dehtyah threw a kick and was immediately stuck! So now he was completely stuck hand and foot! Captured by Tse-mah-shah Uuwaakah who was not going to let him go! But Deh-tyah was no quitter, no sir! He shouted, “Kah-tuuwee-naie! Kah-tuuwee-nai-e! Let me go! Let me go! Dzah tyaa-tuuwee-nai-e, mah-meh tsee-shah-tse neh-kuu shrou mah! If you don’t let me go, I’m really going to strongly bite you!” And Deh-tyah bared his teeth to show he meant business! And so that’s what Deh-tyah did. Deh-tyah bit Tse-mah-shah Uuwaakah who didn’t say a word. Not a sound, not a peep. And Dehtyah was totally trapped now. Hand, foot, and mouth. Not a word, not a sound, not a peep. Deh-tyah was totally stuck in the goo that was Tse-mah-shah and he was silenced. Not a word more, not a sound more, not a peep more. And that’s the end of the story. Actually, that’s the end of that part of the story. And actually in the cycle of such stories, that’s the beginning of a series of episodes that comprise the rest of the story. Coyote—the all-time favorite—comes into the picture or the cycle in the very next episode. But I won’t continue this story, because it’s actually a very long story.

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Billy J. Stratton

Towards a Heteroholistic Approach to Native American Literature

Zig Jackson

The steady development of Nativecentered forms of literary analysis and critical theory has been evident during the last two decades. Since the 2008 publication of â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Peoplehood Matrix: A New Theory for American Indian Literature,â&#x20AC;? Lakota scholar and novelist Frances Washburn and I have advanced an approach to Native American literature founded upon the principle of the Peoplehood matrix.1 This approach considers the status of individual Native cultures based upon four interconnected cultural elements that all communities share: language, sacred history, territory, and ceremonial practice. Tracing the various ways in which these elements are inscribed by Native writers into their works encourages a

culturally responsive, Native-centered reading practice that is firmly grounded in Native thought and experience. The four constitutive components produce what Washburn and I have conceived as a heteroholistic ordering of the world. Simply stated, heteroholism is a term created to denote the interplay between intellectual and spiritual or visionary ways of knowing that are anchored in specific spatial and temporal sites that distinguish Native worldviews and knowledge. First and foremost, the essential quality of heteroholism reveals that tribally specific worldviews are contingent upon deep reservoirs of local knowledge to produce an understanding of reality that is anchored in sacred places, whether they


be mountains, rivers, forests, swamps, deserts, tundra, or oceans. That is to say, Native communities form intimate spiritual and cultural relationships to the land, which define their vital being in words, stories, and rituals. This synergy is conceived as heteroholistic because it emerges from specific geographic locations that are universally valid, while it simultaneously coexists alongside other universal, but localized, tribal experiences that function to ensure balance and harmony. In this way, for example, Chumash, Lakota, Acqumeh, Anishinaabe, Cherokee, and Haudenosaunee stories and cultural practice can express individual worldviews that are both metaphysically valid and culturally distinct without impinging upon, or otherwise negating, one another. This is a critical distinction from Semitic religious traditions such as Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, which make claims to universal and exclusive primacy. With these traditions it is all or nothing—adherence to one naturally excludes the other two in major ways. Heteroholism, by contrast, allows for the consideration of an integrated conception of what N. Scott Momaday refers to as “the remembered earth” out of the discursive tapestry of particular and local tribal knowledge and lived experience. This conception of the world, and the stories from which it becomes known, is precisely what leads Simon Ortiz when citing Acoma stories to say that these same stories “could be from other places too.” It is this sort of openness to seemingly contradictory systems of belief that most clearly distinguishes Native American knowledge from those that developed in European and Semitic cultures. The dynamic interplay of the components of peoplehood—sacred history,

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territory, language, and ceremony— combine to form a cohesive intellectual cartography that is both communal and culturally specific in practice. Through the use of a heteroholistic lens, readers of Native literatures are given an effective means to engage with and account for Indigenous knowledge and Native aesthetics in all of their richness, but most vitally, on their own terms. An interpretive approach enlivened by such a critical method encourages a deeper understanding of the unique contributions of Native storiers, while acknowledging the complex histories that coalesce in the formation of tribal identities. The connections between the elements of Native peoplehood through heteroholistic practices are expressed in a balanced system of interpretation in terms of its exactness, precision, and harmony. The fact that this approach can account equally for the presence of the four elements of peoplehood, as well as their absence, means that it can be applied to any Native literary work. The value is most evident in the way it can open Native literary expression to new insights and understanding. Furthermore, it allows readers to gain a clearer understanding of Native literary nationalism that is grounded in Native knowledge and aesthetics. The resulting sense of intellectual and artistic flexibility encourages critical engagement with the broadest array of Native writers, regardless of their cultural diversity or aesthetic preferences. This encourages reading practices that bring renewed interest to well-established works of Native literature, while also engaging with a new generation of Native storytellers whose work tends to be more unconventional and experimental. Many contributors to this special issue utilize hybrid genres and postmodern

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E S S A Y language, spirituality, and their own understanding of past, present, and future. In this way the Native world is endlessly renewed by the power to shape rather than be shaped and to assert a coherent and active presence in the face of a voided tribal absence. In the case of Jones and Singer, this renewal is best exemplified by their adaptation of American popular culture, such as 1980s B-horror movies and mass-market sci-fi novels, or noir aesthetics and punk music. By reading Native literature through the lens of heteroholism, readers are freed from the accumulated burdens of stagnant cultural representations to embrace works that speak of their place within a writer’s cultural imaginary. 1

Billy J. Stratton and Frances Washburn, “The Peoplehood Matrix: A New Theory for American Indian Literature, Wícazo Sa Review, 28:1 (2008): 82-118. ˆ

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² Tom Holm, J. Diane Pearson, and Ben Cha

vis. “Peoplehood: A Model for the Exten sion of Sovereignty in American Indian Studies,” Wicazo Sa Review 18.1 (2003): 7-24. ˆ

ˆ

sensibilities to create work that resists more conventional modes of literary analysis. In a story such as “Nightfall,” Stephen Graham Jones reinscribes his own unique Native subjectivity through the narrative elements of classic science fiction. A similar dynamic is at play in the vivid and satiric paintings of the Diné artist, Ryan Singer, in his merging of personal experience and interests with American popular culture. Jones and Singer both demonstrate that there is far more space for the expression of their own personalities and histories than is usually afforded to Native artists, whose works are often defined within a limited horizon of creative and thematic expectations. Simply stated, Jones and Singer’s work is Native, in addition to being Blackfeet and Diné, as they articulate a consciousness informed by their respective ancestries, travels, and life experiences. And yet, the imaginative visions they have cultivated are also informed by the relationship they maintain to Native space and place, which has indelibly shaped their relationship to

Billy J. Stratton was born and raised in Eastern Kentucky and earned a PhD in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona. He currently serves as Assistant Professor at the University of Denver where he teaches courses on 20th and 21st century American and Native American literature. His research interests also include postmodernism, trauma studies, ecocritism, and the literature of the American West. His work has appeared in Wícazo Ša Review, Weber: The Contemporary West, Red Ink, Arizona Quarterly, and Rhizomes. His manuscript on the influence and legacy of the Indian captivity narrative, Buried In Shades of Night, is forthcoming from the University of Arizona Press. He was recently awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in American Studies at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Germany. ˆ

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Pp Oo Ee TT Rr YY

Frances Washburn

How deep the Water For Louis, the fisherman

Sparkle and glitter the sun on the water, a trout flashes up with a writhe And the angler flings his filament line His hand-made lure on the end. Wading and stumbling into the ripples, gray clouds move in overhead. Upstream against the swift running current, by the bank where the cunning ones lurk The angler stoops down to look beneath Is there dark or light within? The river runs on washing one then another, running swiftly down to the sea And we cast our lines, our fugitive lines With uncertainty, yet hope. At the bank where the wise one lurks, he watches the glitter and spark. The angler knows that deep beneath There is dark and light within. Fading sunset growing dim on the water, a trout splashes down with a plunge And the angler flings his filament line His heart beating fast at the end.

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read-ing [from ME reden, to explain, hence to read] – vt. 1 to get the meaning of; 2 to understand the nature, significance, or thinking of; 3 to interpret or understand; 4 to apply oneself to; study.

The Colorado River The Colorado River has often been called “the Nile” of North America. Arising along the continental divide in the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado gives life to diverse plant, animal, and human populations as it meanders through the western United States and Mexico – until it reaches the sea. At least it used to reach the sea. Since 1905, more than 100 dams have been constructed on the river and its tributaries, diverting flows to serve the agricultural, industrial, and municipal needs in the arid West. Beginning in the 1920s, Western states began divvying up the Colorado’s water and diverting the flow hundreds of miles, to Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and other fast-growing cities. The river now serves 40 million people in seven U.S. states and Mexico, with 70 percent or more of its water siphoned off to irrigate 3.5 million acres of cropland. And climate change will likely decrease the river’s flow.

Source: http://www.gcdamp.gov/aboutamp/crb.html

According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, as of January 1, 2013, the Upper Colorado River area still has below average snowpack for this time of year.

“While it is still early in the season and anything can happen, water users should pay close attention to this winter’s weather patterns as well as the state’s snowpack, and plan accordingly,” wrote Assistant Snow Survey Supervisor Maggie Hultstrand of SNOTEL, in a Water Supply Outlook report. Above average snowfalls have to materialize in the next few months in order to reach average conditions. “We’re still doing the snow dance,” she said. “It’s early in the season, anything is possible.”

Sources: Tonya Bina, “Snowpack at 61% for Upper Colorado River,” Sky-Hi News, 13, January 2013, http://www. skyhidailynews.com/article/20130113/NEWS/130119986/1079%26ParentProfile=1067; NRCS: http://www.wcc.nrcs. usda.gov/snow/


Colorado River Delta Among the many organizations involved in restoring the Colorado River Delta is the Sonoran Institute in Tucson, Arizona. Although the Delta is less than 10 percent of its original size, it continues to be an important stopover for more than 300,000 migratory birds along the Pacific flyway.

Source: http://www.sonoraninstitute.org/where-we-work/northwest-mexico/colorado-river-delta.html

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Expedition Down the Colorado In June 2012, a team of young men started at the headwaters of the upper Colorado River in Rocky Mountain National Park and traveled downstream heading for the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. During their 100 day journey, the team interviewed over 50 land owners, stakeholders, government officials and concerned citizens about how the river has changed with the massive population growth in the Intermountain area. The expedition also conducted a citizen science project for the University of Colorado by collecting soil samples at the mouth of every tributary dumping into the Colorado River.  The data will be used to model the carbon budget of the Colorado River Basin and the role of wild fires on its biodiversity. The result is a virtual tour of the river through blogs, photographs, video, and scientific data. An interactive map is available: http://www.downthecolorado.org/home/.

Protect the Flows Protect the Flows is a coalition of over 600 businesses which depend on navigable flows in the Colorado River. In May 2012 the organization released an analysis conducted by Southwick Associates which concluded: If the Colorado River were a company, it would rank #155 in the 2011 Fortune 500, ahead of companies like General Mills, USAirways, and Progressive Insurance, and be the 19th largest employer on the Fortune 500. Economic Impact of Recreation along the Colorado River

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Used by 5.36 million people for recreational activities each year

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Supports 234,000 jobs across Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming

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Produces $26 billion in economic output

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Generates $17.0 billion in retail sales (including not just recreational equipment, but also travel expenses, apparel, maintenance and repair of equipment, and more)

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Outperforms regional farming revenues by 14.6% on average

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Contributes $3.2 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue annually

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Generates state and local tax revenues to fund over 29,000 teacher positions

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Creates $10.4 billion in annual earnings, salaries, and wages

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Climate Change and Water Resources According to a 2009 report from the Bureau of Reclamation, the most immediate result of the earth warming is in the hydrologic cycle. Warming impacts where precipitation falls, how much falls, and in what form. These changes directly affect the water supply in rivers such as the Colorado.

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Average temperatures are rising, thereby increasing evaporation and perhaps in- creasing the severity of recent droughts;

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A greater portion of winter precipitation is falling in the mountains as rain rather than snow, reducing the snowpack;

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Winter low temperatures are rising, and the snowpack is melting earlier in the spring;

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Collectively, these trends for precipitation and temperature are producing earlier runoff, making it harder to use the winter precipitation later in the summer.

In December, 2012, the Bureau released the Colorado River Basin Water Supply & Demand Study. That study concludes: Colorado River water managers and stakeholders have long understood that growing demands on the Colorado River system, coupled with the potential for reduced supplies due to climate change, may put water users and resources relying on the river at risk of prolonged water shortages in the future. The magnitude and timing of these risks differ spatially across the Basin. In particular, areas where demand is at or exceeds available supply are at a greater risk than others…. The study confirms that the Colorado River Basin faces a range of potential future imbalances between supply and demand. Addressing such imbalances will require diligent planning and cannot be resolved through any single approach or option. Instead, an approach that applies a wide variety of ideas at local, state, regional, and Basin-wide levels is needed.

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Source: http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/programs/crbstudy/finalreport/index.html

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Colorado River Indian Tribes

Ten Native American tribes occupy reservations with claimed or vested water rights to the Colorado River. Typically, those tribes have the senior water rights on the river. The tribes comprising the Ten Tribes Partnership are: the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe; the Cocopah Indian Community; the Colorado River Indian Tribes; the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe; the Jicarilla Apache Tribe; the Navajo Nation; the Northern Ute Tribe; the Quechan Indian Tribe of the Fort Yuma Reservation; the Southern Ute Indian Tribe; and the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe. However, the Bureau of Reclamation study noted above also reported that tribal rights to water from the Colorado are made more complex because not all tribes in the watershed have gone through the legal process of turning aboriginal claims into actual water rights. In all, 13 tribes still have unresolved Colorado River Basin claims, including the Navajo Nation, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Havasupai Tribe, Hopi Tribe, Hualapai Tribe, Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, San Carlos Apache Tribe, San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe, Tohono O’odham Nation, Tonto Apache Tribe and the Yavapai Apache Nation. John Lewis, a member of the Colorado River Indian Tribes and executive director of the Intertribal Council of Arizona, commented on the report: “Some tribes do have senior rights. . . . but it’s not going to be enough. . . . We need to get serious and start engaging tribes on a tribe-by-tribe basis,” he said. “The Bureau [of Indian Affairs] has committed in the report to do that.” Still, given the disparities in supply and demand, it could be of concern. Even with something like the CAP [Central Arizona Project], where again tribes have some secure rights, the position of Arizona still is lower for the canal water than some of the other states.” The tribes most at risk are those whose rights haven’t been quantified, Lewis added. “Arizona, California, Nevada – these are all fast-growing states. That puts pressure on how best to meet the water rights. Water is reserved for settlement use, but it’s not going to be enough.” Sources: http://www.crwua.org/TenTribes.aspx ; Anne Menard, “Study: Colorado River Water Supply Slowly Falling Short of Users,” Indian Country Today, 14 December, 2012, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/article/studycolorado-river-water-supply-slowly-falling-short-users-146313 Editorial matter

ISSN 0891-8899 —Weber is published biannually by The College of Arts & Humanities at Weber State University, Ogden, Utah 84408-1405. Full text of this issue and historical archives are available in electronic edition at https://www.weber.edu/weberjournal Indexed in: Abstracts of English Studies, Humanities International Complete, Index of American Periodical Verse, MLA International Bibliography, and Sociological Abstracts. Member, Council of Learned Journals. Subscription Costs: Individuals $20 (outside U.S., $30), institutions $30 (outside U.S., $40). Back issues $10 subject to availability. Multi-year and group subscriptions also available. Submissions and Correspondence: Editor, | Weber State University 1405 University Circle, Ogden, UT 84408-1405. 801-626-6473 | weberjournal@weber.edu Copyright © 2013 by Weber State University. All rights reserved. Copyright reverts to authors and artists after publication. Statements of fact or opinion are those of contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or the sponsoring institution.


©Jon Williams

ANNOUNCING the 2012 Dr. Neila C. Seshachari Fiction Award

to XXX

for “XXX,” in the Fall 2012 issue The Dr. Neila C. Seshachari Award of $500 is presented annually to the author of the best fiction published in Weber during the previous year. Funding for this award is generously provided by the Seshachari family.

Dr. Neila C. Seshachari (1934-2002) was a much respected advocate for the arts and humanities. Professor of English at Weber State University for 29 years, committed teacher, accomplished scholar, critic, and fiction writer, Neila was editor of Weber Studies for 12 years.


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