On The Trail to the Swamp

She is alone. Alone, with cats and dogs and fish. The morning is dark. She flicks on a kitchen light switch. She descends to the basement TV room to feed the flitting neon swimmers. She sees that she forgot, the previous night, to turn off the tank light. Her hand taps two shakes of flaked fish food into the lit…

2015 Introduction by LeAnn Howe

A little over a decade ago I published “The Story of America: A Tribalography,” discussing how Native authors pull together all the elements of their tribe—meaning the people, the land, multiple characters, and all their manifestations and revelations—and connect these in past, present, and future milieus. I argued that “tribalography” comes from the Native propensity for bringing things together, for…

Animals Matter

In the United States today we face many issues with feral cats and dogs. Euthanizing them simply because they do not have a home should not be a solution to this problem. There are other ways to get these animals off the streets and into someone’s care. These animals can spread unhealthy diseases, not only to other animals but to…

Help For Our Youth

There are many needs in Wolf Point, Montana, but one of the most pressing ones is the well-being of younger generations. There are many children and families that are in need of a healthy environment in which to live. These families need a place to temporarily stay and live, where they will be protected and feel safe; a place where…

Take a Stand & Propose a Solution on Hepatitis C

Historically, the Indian tribes of northeastern Montana were first ravaged by outbreaks of smallpox, and then by both malnutrition and starvation as the great buffalo herds dwindled to nothing. More recently, the Native population from that part of the state, which now lives on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, has suffered from the effects of diabetes, alcoholism, and drug addiction…

What Comes From Hitting Sticks

Bernice Joseph is many things to many people. She was a thoughtful, smiling, grounded, faithful lover and champion of our People. She was a laughing hugger. I am among her many relations. It was our kinswoman, Ma’s ilung Tun, Margaret Nick Cooke, who noticed I was the twin of Kathleen Meckel, Bernice’s Koyukun Athabascan, Dene’, sister. Tun introduced us to…

Heartbeats

“Hey, should we hang some of these up?” My husband rustles through the cardboard box in front of him and holds out a few carved wooden picture frames. It’s a hot June morning after moving into our first apartment together as a married couple. I forgot I had even bought the frames, intending to put photos of our small family…

Debwewin (The Sound of the Heart)

The heartbeat is what gives us life. The heartbeat is what makes us stronger. The heartbeat means survival. The heartbeat means stability and togetherness. The heartbeat pushes the blood through the veins, giving life to the body where the spirit can breathe and grow. The heartbeat IS what gives us life . . . without it, we die. To Anishinaabe,…

Rite of Passage

My rite of passage came about unexpectedly. It wasn’t killing an animal or getting drunk, and thank God it wasn’t losing my virginity. I was nine years old if I remember correctly. Grandpa Henry owned a ranch in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona. He was a tall, lanky man, a WWII Marine vet, hardened by the sun and long,…

Final Beats of a Song

There are days I sit and reflect on the episodes that have shaped the character I will eventually become. I have questioned the reason for the experience. Why did it happen? Was I supposed to feel this? Will it ever become just a distant memory? One memory that plays in my mind is the strength it took to endure such…