Conquering the Dream Killers: Fear, Doubt, Worry, and Guilt

In November 1998, I attended a lecture in Lusby, MD, during National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. A Piscataway Indian showed us beautiful ancestral cooking pots made of clay and spoke about the different Potomac and Patuxent River clay soils used historically and now to make clay cooking pots. When I asked him where I could learn more…

Riding Songs

Granddad drove a burgundy Oldsmobile. When I rode with him, there was always a small bag of lemon drops and a pack or two of Halls Cough Drops stowed safely under the front seat armrest. I loved the taste of both. It took a lot of restraint not to eat a handful of lemon drops or two cough drops at…

Red Fire Ants

Among the hills and pines, teen problems swarm the land like red fire ants on their way to nowhere or somewhere, a motion known only to them, but determined and relentless.  We know where they came from, rode in on whisky crates and pack mules. For years they grew in numbers.  No one tried to stop them because they were…

Renewal of Faith

It all began with a return trip to my home reservation to seek monetary assistance for school clothes and supplies; my son was to begin his freshman year in high school in a couple of weeks. I wasn’t working that summer and had spent my monthly stipend from college on expenses. When my home reservation’s tribal council told me there…

Choosing to Forgive

When I was 6-weeks old, my mother left my father and moved to Minneapolis. She remarried a non-Indian German man named Mike, who loved me very much. I was raised calling this man Dad and knowing no other. They had decided to keep me away from my real father. I was given a new name and social security number. My…

Aaka’s

The TV was always on at Aaka’s, from the moment she first awoke in the morning and her plastic-bottomed Isotoner slippers swished past my room, to the late evening when she again shuffled the unusually long hallway back to her bedroom to fall asleep on her side of the bed, despite the fact that she was the only one to…

2005 Introduction by Sherman Alexie

Ten years ago when I was visiting Indian students, I always met singers, dancers, painters and actors, but I did not meet that many young writers. But something quietly revolutionary has happened.  Thousands of young Indians are writing, and they are writing well. I was only the second generation in my family to regularly put pen to paper.  Authorship was…

2004 Introduction by Louise Erdrich

From my desk here in the city of Minneapolis, I hear a car alarm go off, buses shift gears, children shout from the playground of a nearby school. But all I have to do in order to enter the peace and strangeness of the Montana landscape is walk with Annie Tillery Waldow through a pasture gate. I am suddenly in…

2003 Introduction by Joseph Bruchach

Telling Their Own Stories Two thoughts came to me as I read these new writings by tribal college students. The first was how important it is to tell your own stories. Not only because no one can see the world as you do, but also because if you don’t tell your story someone else may tell a story about you….

2002 Introduction by Luci Tapahonso

The art of storytelling has always been strong in indigenous communities. Over the centuries, the form has evolved and exists now in many versions. This collection of student writing from various tribal colleges shows how dynamic this literary form is today. Although the students touch upon contemporary concerns, there exist nuances of the indigenous philosophies and teachings that are the…