Identity: An Open Letter to Bioneers (2016)

Following is a open letter written to the Bioneers community.  I read this open letter during my Live Poetic Scribe session on Sunday, October 25th to conclude conference proceedings at CU Boulder. 

This was initially inspired by a keynote lecture by Lisa Calderon of the Denver Community Reentry Project, who spoke on the prison industrial complex and over-incarceration of people of color and poor people.  She later sat on a panel in which she challenged us all to envision a world in which there are no prisons. 

[Bioneers is a fertile hub of social and scientific innovators with practical and visionary solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. ]

***

Continue reading

Real History of the Americas

Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO, October 14th, 2013: Real History 2013

Approximately 25 people – students, community members, artists, and Ft. Lewis college staff – sat down this morning to share breakfast and speak about the meaning of The Real History of the Americas, now in its sixth year in Durango Colorado.  This tradition began with a vision by Teahonna Colleen James and Amy Joy Iwasaki in 2008.  The words in this poem are statements I weaved together from this morning’s council.   This is an open letter to America.  

History After Columbus – An Open Letter to America

Issues confront, Buffalo Council
identity, more to America
than spoon-fed books.
Everybody needs to see
our nations, we come from
land.
Good mornings, and history
books written to lie.
Mini steps 
we take, not only indigenous-
poor, working class
suicide, 
drugs, 
alcoholism 
and domestic violence.
Terror becomes America.

Mini steps, working on my own
ignorance,
hope for losing battles,
jews and catholics throwing stones at each other,
at war with muslims, and those undefined and uncapitalized.
Addicted to conquest
we resist, through coordination
scheduling ritual
to replace cultural voids.

I stand for what I believe
and build tomorrow
with what I do not know, challenging grandparents
so often void of wisdom now
we seek balance.
Where are the voices of women?
Where are the voices, period?   
We want to come home.
We keep knowledge
growing,
having grown
without tribes, often
without celebration.
We make time
and observe meaning.

This is not about teaching to hate whites.
This is to heal black, all shades brown, white.
To see history for what it is-
Space
to learn and unlearn.
Responsibility
for lessons to seeds.
Grandmothers sending pilgrims in the mail, fall

in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue,
making red land more red
with blood.

The real history is powerful-
part of us.
Hero worship for murderers,
a ceremony for power.
We speak our stories to the wind
to chisel mountains.
A new reality, which is an old reality,
(re)defining real people’s stories
valid, to exist
and function
whole.

Our history really happened
so we carry our names,
educated to agendas
we are global
again.
Clans.

This day means to be here.
Happy
to be alive.

SmallPoster