Opportunities through agencies like the National Center for Atmospheric Research offer tribal college students professional opportunities, and much-needed place at the table for Indigenous scientists. Read more →
A Storm Is Brewing
I am beaten, battered and a storm is brewing.
Tell those assimilated, beauty is perfection?
Now my beauty is burrowed in my scars.
Dead, an absent father scars my heart and now missing pieces on my crown.
The granddaughter of a chief with dark brown hair.
The past sharing roots with my present.
Presently ripped from my head.
Whose raging storm am I lost in?
Alcohol’s attempt to tarnish what’s within.
You should taste filled with regret, I taste nothing.
The more life changing blows I receive, I want to run, to hide my pain from this world of small men.
I cry for how fragile I feel.
I feel the downpour for what it is, your generational trauma.
Men, fear, sometimes I myself, tell me I may lose my sanity — serenity
Reminds me, my brain will not roll out of my open mind and while I struggle to open my heart
and focus on forgiveness; my storm is brewing.
The weather advisory calls for ten below – inside frost-nip transforms into a bite.
How do you fight a friend’s frigid touch?
Love. Love is the light to shine on the negative spaces, to regrow the strands of a broken friendship.
Love… is a stranger and a friend.
Love is the warmth of a child’s touch; a child whose future is how I handle the storm.
Rising after the storm is the hope I cling to.
The rope leading me up the cliffs of Wa’atch, a village of surging ocean and sacrifice.
I have known hurt herein, I know I am not alone.
I go unrecognized, a quarter, 4 out of 5 women see abuse.
We must have protection, my ancestors of the old north trail—who trekked mountain passes unafraid of storms brewing.
I protect the girl with two homelands. Glacier peaks now named for my father’s people, Lone Walker and Sinopahaki, daughter like me who married outside her tribe.
Grandpas’ resting places, Rising Wolf and Wa’atch beach.
She flourishes in the culture of both.
Winter ends, anchored–intertidal life adapts.
My little Sinopah will know, she comes from resilience; ancestors and now a mother…She will know we are sacred and we survive storms.
Like many young Native women, and young women in college, I recently experienced assault and battery. I ask my reader to critically analyze what I have written. Read between the lines. Read, and then, I implore you, do some research. Movies and media can only do so much; I can only do so much. As humans who share one body of land, we must care about each other’s wellbeing enough to make informed decisions about our rule of law. Right now, as the criminal justice system addresses my case, our rule of law concerning Native women is deplorably inadequate and convoluted. Once remedied, our justice system can help heal our communities to help break the trauma cycle. This is very much an issue of tribal sovereignty and trust responsibility.
Celina Gray (Blackfeet and Little Shell Chippewa) is a student at Salish Kootenai College and the mother of twins.