JOY HARJO ON FURY AND KINDNESS

Monica Charles posted this on alt.native a discussion group that is a being overrun with racists and other bizarre people…I used to read it regularly but while 5% of it has wonderful gems…you have to cut out the other 95% of toxic nonsense. I don’t know how Monica deals with it day after day but as I have often said I think that the indigenous women of America are the absolute strongest!!! I used to think I was strong until I started encountering these amazing women. Of course I could hide in the everything is relative routine but….I think on this subject I’m right in just backing away and letting what is true just be…

Anyway this is from the poet and songwriter JOY HARJO’S POETIC ADVENTURES IN THE LAST WORLD BLOG

Last night I gave a musical performance with Larry Mitchell for the
American Indian Studies Program at the University of Illinois in
Urbana Champaign. We were given a numbered parking permit for a
covered meter at the front of the student union. When we drove up the
space was illegally taken by a red sports car with emergency blinking
lights. No one was in the car. We couldn’t load for sound check until
we could park. The university police were called to tow the car.
Shortly, four young jocks strode from the union with overnight bags to
the car. Once they saw us, and security warned them to move, they
slowed with a deliberate hatefulness. In their eyes, we had no
business being on campus. We were not white. Fury rolled over me. I
thought of the words George Coser, Jr. told me that had come from his
parents, and had come from their parents; all the way back to the
original teachings of our Mvskoke people. His words were something
like this: “no matter what happens, stay in the direction of
kindness.” I restrained myself from leaping out and pounding the
driver with words (and yes, I have succumbed before) and turned my
energy toward what I was there for that night. I saw that if I had
acted on fury I would have given the sick man some of my energy. And
in turn, I would have taken on some of that hatefulness. This is the
school that has been at the center of the Indian mascot controversy.

In the last month I have been to Anchorage, Alaska, to the En’owkin
Centre, a native arts and cultures center on the Okanagan Reserve in
British Columbia, Canada. I assisted in the visioning of the
International Native Writing School. They were having a thirty-year
anniversary. And then I flew to Berlin, Germany, to New Mexico, and
now here. I carry stories from each place and have met our people in
many of those places (except Berlin, but our people have traveled
there. Some things that belong to us are in their museums) but the
most touching and powerful story along the way recently was from last
night, at the concert.

A Ho-Chunk and Hopi recent graduate, Angie Naquayouma, from Wisconsin
brought her husband and four young children to the performance. They
all sat on the front row: a beautiful native family. I was impressed
with the behavior of the children. I did perform some things
specifically for children, and children always love the saxophone and
flutes. The children were well behaved throughout the hour and a half
performance. At the end of the performance we had our photograph taken
together. But what was most impressive and what I will always carry in
my heart is that each child, before they left, beginning with the
oldest, came over and expressed how much they enjoyed the performance.
The oldest child, a boy of about seven, told me that he was happy to
get out of a boring meeting to come and he really enjoyed the music,
the next three young ones came in turn, and each very eloquently
spoke. They have been trained to be real human beings. Yes, we will
make it somehow, through the delusion of fast food and fast culture.
This kind of behavior and speaking elevates all of us.

And finally, during a break at the one-day Indigenous Sexualities
Conference, I heard that when the movie “Dances with Wolves” came out,
the Native American Educational Services College in Chicago was called
by area sperm banks for donations by Indian men. Now, why does this
not surprise me?

Joy on Youtube

I love Joy Harjo she seems to be on of those rare people who has discovered that the world is a playground and she isn’t afraid to play!!!

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