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Joy Harjo -- Legacy

In Wheeling, West Virginia, inmates riot.
Two cut out the heart of a child rapist
and hold it steaming in a guard's face
because he will live
to tell the story.
They know they have already died
of unrequited love
and in another version
won't recognize the murdered

as he walks toward them
disguised as the betrayed lover.
I don't know the ending,
or how this will make the bruised and broken
child live easier into the night
of a split world,
where in one camp the destroyers
have cooked up
a stench of past and maggots.
And in the other
love begins a dance, a giveaway to honor
the destroyed with new names.
I don't know the ending.
But I know the legacy of maggots is wings.
And I understand how lovers can destroy everything
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Navajo Chant

House made of dawn.
House made of evening light.
House made of the dark cloud.
House made of male rain.
House made of dark mist.
House made of female rain.
House made of pollen.
House made of grasshoppers.

Dark cloud is at the door.
The trail out of it is dark cloud.
The zigzag lightning stands high upon it.
An offering I make.
Restore my feet for me.
Restore my legs for me.
Restore my body for me.
Restore my mind for me.
Restore my voice for me.
This very day take out your spell for me.

Happily I recover.
Happily my interior becomes cool.
Happily I go forth.
My interior feeling cool, may I walk.
No longer sore, may I walk.
Impervious to pain, may I walk.
With lively feelings may I walk.
As it used to be long ago, may I walk.

Happily may I walk.
Happily, with abundant dark clouds, may I walk.
Happily, with abundant showers, may I walk.
Happily, with abundant plants, may I walk.
Happily, on a trail of pollen, may I walk.
Happily may I walk.
Being as it used to be long ago, may I walk.

May it be beautiful before me.
May it be beautiful behind me.
May it be beautiful below me.
May it be beautiful above me.
May it be beautiful all around me.
In beauty it is finished.
In beauty it is finished.
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Conquest | Excerpt


Women of color live in the dangerous intersections of gender and race. Within the mainstream antiviolence movement in the U.S., women of color who survive sexual or domestic abuse are often told that they must pit themselves against their communities, often portrayed stereotypically as violent, in order to begin the healing process. Communities of color, meanwhile, often advocate that women keep silent about sexual and domestic violence in order to maintain a united front against racism. In addition, the remedies for addressing sexual and domestic violence utilized by the antiviolence movement have proven to be generally inadequate for addressing the problems of gender violence in general, but particularly for addressing violence against women of color. The problem is not simply an issue of providing multicultural services to survivors of violence. Rather, the analysis of and strategies for addressing gender violence have failed to address the manner in which gender violence is not simply a tool of patriarchal control, but also serves as a tool of racism and colonialism. That is, colonial relationships are themselves gendered and sexualized.
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Professor nominated for Nobel Prize
By Kevin Brown

Assistant Professor of Native American Studies and of Women's Studies Andrea Smith is one of 40 U.S. women who have been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize as part of a global initiative sponsored by the Swiss-based organization "1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005."

The group makes the point that women around the world commit themselves daily to the cause of peace and justice, rebuild what has been destroyed in villages and cities, fight against poverty and create new sources of income. Yet, since 1901, 80 men, 20 organizations and 12 women have received the Nobel Peace Prize, project organizers report.

"It is hoped that awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to a number of women will enhance the recognition and honor accorded women's work throughout the world," the group states on its Web site.

"What I think is cool about this project is that it does not highlight one woman, but shows that real peace happens when movements of people begin to work together to make change," Smith says. "I think it is important that we break our reliance on the charismatic personality-driven types of organizing, and develop organizing projects that foster collectivity and mutual cooperation in order to really change our world."

Smith was asked last fall to be one of the 1,000. She speculates the invitation was sparked by her work to form "Incite! Women of Color Against Violence," which addresses domestic and sexual abuse among other issues.

Smith also has helped co-found Critical Resistance: Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex, the Boarding School Healing Project, and the Chicago chapter of Women of All Red Nations. She also supervised the violence against Native women project at Amnesty International for two years.

According to the statutes, the Nobel Prize can be awarded simultaneously to three individuals at the most, or to an organization. The 1,000 women were proposed to the Nobel Prize Committee Feb. 1 in Oslo, Norway.

"Some work on anti-war initiatives, some focus on racial justice, some do work on gender violence," Smith says.

Smith, a Cherokee, also is author of "Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide." A U-M assistant professor for three years, she holds a doctorate in history of consciousness from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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Arizona State Ends Class Limited to Native Americans

Arizona State University announced this week that it has told a professor that he may not limit enrollment in some class sections to Native American students.
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Olivas said that despite the controversies in Arizona State and Oregon, he thought such classes were few and far between. He also said that these disputes distract people from other inequities in academe, such as “set asides at universities that are for rich white kids — they are called honors programs.”

— Scott Jaschik
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Columbus Day by Jimmie Durham

In school I was taught the names
Columbus, Cortez, and Pizzaro and
A dozen other filthy murderers.
A bloodline all the way to General Miles,
Daniel Boone and General Eisenhower.

No one mentioned the names
Of even a few of the victims.
But don't you remember Chaske, whose spine
Was crushed so quickly by Mr. Pizzaro's boot?
What words did he cry into the dust?

What was the familiar name
Of that young girl who danced so gracefully
That everyone in the village sang with her--
Before Cortez' sword hacked off her arms
As she protested the burning of her sweetheart?

That young man's name was Many Deeds,
And he had been a leader of a band of fighters
Called the Redstick Hummingbirds, who slowed
The march of Cortez' army with only a few
Spears and stones which now lay still
In the mountains and remember.

Greenrock Woman was the name
Of that old lady who walked right up
And spat in Columbus' face. We
Must remember that, and remember
Laughing Otter the Taino who tried to stop
Columbus and who was taken away as a slave.
We never saw him again.

In school I learned of heroic discoveries
Made by liars and crooks. The courage
Of millions of sweet and true people
Was not commemorated.

Let us then declare a holiday
For ourselves, and make a parade that begins
With Columbus' victims and continues
Even to our grandchildren who will be named
In their honor.

Because isn't it true that even the summer
Grass here in this land whispers those names,
And every creek has accepted the responsibility
Of singing those names? And nothing can stop
The wind from howling those names around
The corners of the school.

Why else would the birds sing
So much sweeter here than in other lands?

by Jimmie Durham
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Law on books still bans American Indians from Boston
Posted on Wednesday, May 18 @ 22:48:39 PDT

John "Sam" Sapiel gets an uneasy feeling when he steps over Boston city limits. There are no warrants out for his arrest and he hasn't committed any crime, but he still could be put behind bars -- just because he's an American Indian.

Sapiel, a 74-year-old full-blooded Penobscot Indian who lives in Falmouth, is technically a persona non grata in the city of Boston, where an archaic law forbids American Indians from setting foot since 1675, when settlers were at war with area tribes.

Of course, the bloody conflict known as King Philip's War has been over for centuries, and the odds of Sapiel's arrest under the statute are nonexistent.

But the fact that it's lingered for so long has been a festering source of anger for Indians, who feel that it should have been stricken from the books long ago.

"I feel kind of put out on the whole thing, because we're being singled out as Indian people," Sapiel said. "I think about it quite a bit. It's on my mind all the time."

Now, some 330 years after passage of the act entitled "Indians Prohibited Being in Boston," lawmakers are poised to finally delete it from the statutes.

Indians and activists have been working for about eight years to repeal the statute. Just before the Democratic National Convention last year, the Falmouth-based Muhheconnew National Confederacy, a coalition of American Indian tribes, called for the law's repeal, and Boston Mayor Tom Menino filed a petition in the fall to dump it.

But it didn't go anywhere -- until this week, when a state legislative committee sent it to the full Legislature. The renewed effort comes as a national organization of minority journalists considers whether to hold its 2008 convention in Boston.

Unity: Journalists of Color Inc. said they might pass over Boston for the convention because of the law. The convention would mean 8,000 or so journalists converging on Boston for four days -- spending an estimated $4.5 million on lodging, dining and souvenirs.

"It is a deal breaker, because we couldn't in good heart come to a city that banned one of our members, or any group," said Unity Executive Director Anna M. Lopez. The group will pick the host city in June.

State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, who co-chairs the committee that recommended repealing it this week, said she acted as soon as she heard about the issue last week.

"I think the proponents for the repeal made the case that just having it on the books was offensive enough," she said.

The statute was passed, along with a law creating an internment camp for Indians for Boston Harbor's Deer Island, when tensions between colonists and Wampanoag leader Metacom -- derisively dubbed Philip by the settlers - broke out into violence in 1675.

The war only lasted a year, ending when Metacom was killed in 1676. Though lawmakers repealed the law creating the Deer Island camp the year after the war ended, the imprisonment act remained.

Menino, who presides over a city that now has more minorities than whites, supports doing away with the law. A spokeswoman for Gov. Mitt Romney said he would sign the bill if it reached his desk, which could happen as soon as Thursday.

Allowing it to remain in place, Menino said in letter to lawmakers, "is a disservice to the people and history that makes our city wonderful."

Chris "Quiet Bear" Montgomery, 79, a member of the Nipmuc tribe who lives in Revere, testified earlier this week at the legislative hearing, called it "a black mark against the state of Massachusetts. Not just Boston, but the whole state."

Sapiel said he was relieved that the law's demise appeared imminent.

"This should have happened a long time ago," he said. "I'm glad it's happening now."
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The Woman With Two Vaginas

The woman with two vaginas tried her best
to hide them from her husband. It was difficult
because her vaginas weren't in the usual place

but in the palms of her hands. To distract her husband,
she tickled his penis with her nipple,
or she took him into her backside.

She had traveled far, from a place she preferred
not to talk about, and her husband assumed
she learned her sexual practices there. He was happy

until he discovered his wife
pissing through her fingers, as though she were trying
to cup running water. He wished

that he didn't know what he then knew --
that his sexy young wife was also a ghost.
This was no time for sentimental lust --

a ghost can only bring loneliness to a snow hut.
So he strapped his wife into his kayak
and deposited her on an ice-floe far from home.

He told her to go back to the Land of the Dead,
but she was trapped like a moving shadow
that was neither here nor there. Some say

they still hear her sobbing: "My husband
will not have me! My husband will not have me!"
But she has no way of knowing how he misses her

twin vaginas, how he tries his best to
hide it from his new wife -- yet the village is small,
the gossip as fast as wind during a storm.

It's said he makes his new wife slap his face,
to feel the warm tingle of her fingers,
that he then cries out into her barren palms.
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"They had scribes for each branch of knowledge.”
-- Ixtiuxochiti, a brother of the last native ruler of Texcoco

“The poets spoke or sang units of meaning – bundles of sound assembled into one long phrase in which the word elements were so fused as to be merely tribatory elements to a single, precise symbol or meaning.”
– Edward Kissam, Poems of the Aztec People

In Xóchitl in Cuicatl – Flower and Song

I am come
from the ocean
where water is dyed
with the morning.

(I am just
a singer.
My heart
is a flower!
I offer – my song.)

I am from the rainland,
come to please the deity!

(I am just
a singer.
My heart
is a flower!
I offer – my song.)


How do they fall? How do they fall?
These hearts, ripe fruit for harvest.

Look at them,
these fall, the hearts –
oh our arrows
these fall, the hearts –
oh our arrows

emeralds and
flowers fall
like rain –
your song!
as you are singing

in Mexico

the sun is shining!

The butterfly
the flower
my open heart,
a fragrant flower.
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Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before I have in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Looking Glass is dead. too-Hul-hul-sote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food; no one knows where they are--perhpas freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs. I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.
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The Ballad of Crowfoot -- Willie Dunn
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