joanne barker
A woman returned from the field to find a curious hole in the ground outside
her lodging. She looked inside the hole, deep into the earth, and someone
spoke to her from there. The woman asked who it was. “If anyone wishes to
hear stories, let them come and roll a little tobacco or a bead, and I will tell
them a story.” So the people came, with tobacco and beads, and many stories
were told. We do not know whether the stories are true, only that they tell
us who we are. And they all begin with a giving of thanks.1 Wanishi (Lenape).
Chin’an gheli (Dena’ina). Chokma’ski (Chickasaw). Nya:weh (Seneca). Niawen/
Niawen kowa (Onyota’aka). Ahéhee’ (Diné). Mahalo (Hawaiian). Miigwech
(Anishinaabe). Nyá:wę! (Skarure). Thank you (En glish).
It is a genuine challenge not to be cynical, given the relentlessness of racially
hyper- gendered and sexualized appropriations of Indigenous cultures and
identities in the United States and Canada: OutKast’s per for mance at the
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