Native Author Joy Harjo Wins The Prize…Again!

“Today, we are excited to announce Joy Harjo has been awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement and contribution to the art of poetry. Of Harjo’s poetry, Don Share remarks: “Her work is a thrilling and necessary antidote to false news, the ephemera of digital celebrity, and other derelictions. It pushes vigorously back against forgetfulness, injustice, and negligence at every level of contemporary life. ” H. Staff, Poetry Foundation

Joy Harjo

Excerpt: Joy Harjo Awarded 2017 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, by Harriet Staff, The Poetry Foundation

“Presented annually to a living US poet whose lifetime accomplishments warrant singular recognition, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize is one of the most prestigious awards given to American poets. At $100,000, it is also one of the nation’s largest literary prizes. Established in 1986, the prize is sponsored and administered by the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It will be presented at a ceremony at the Poetry Foundation on Monday, June 12th.

Joy Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She earned her BA from the University of New Mexico and MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop…Her work draws on Native American storytelling and histories, as well as feminist and social justice poetic traditions, and frequently incorporates indigenous myths, symbols, and values into her writing. Harjo’s many honors include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, the Josephine Miles Poetry Award, the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award. Harjo is a founding board member of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation.”

One of Harjo’s best known and loved poems She Had Some Horses was first published in 1983 and is now considered a classic.

She Had Some Horses By Joy Harjo

She had some horses.

She had horses who were bodies of sand.

She had horses who were maps drawn of blood.

She had horses who were skins of ocean water.

She had horses who were the blue air of the sky.

She had horses who were fur and teeth.

She had horses who were clay and would break.

She had horses who were splintered red cliff.


She had some horses.

She had horses with eyes of trains.

She had horses with full, brown thighs.

She had horses who laughed too much.

She had horses who threw rocks at glass houses.

She had horses who licked razor blades.

She had some horses

She had horses who danced in their mothers’ arms.

She had horses who thought they were the sun and their

bodies shown and burned like stars.

She had horses who waltzed nightly on the moon.

She had horses who were much too shy, and kept quiet

in stalls of their own making.

She had some horses.

She had horses who liked Creek Stomp Dance songs.

She had horses who cried in their beer.

She had horses who spit at male queens who made

them afraid of themselves.

She had horses who said they weren’t afraid.

She had horses who lied.

She had horses who told the truth, who were stripped

bare of their tongues.

She had some horses.

She had horses who called themselves, “horse.”

She had horses who called themselves, “spirit,” and kept

their voices secret and to themselves.

She had horses who had no names.

She had horses who had books of names.

Animal digestion

She had some horses.

She had horses who whispered in the dark, who were afraid to speak.

She had horses who screamed out of fear of the silence, who

carried knives to protect themselves from ghosts.

She had horses who waited for destruction.

She had horses who waited for resurrection.

She had some horses.

She had horses who got down on their knees for any saviour.

She had horses who thought their high price had saved them.

She had horses who tried to save her, who climbed in her

bed at night and prayed.

She had some horses

She had some horses she loved.

She had some horses she hated.

These were the same horses.

Category: Culture

Native Super Moms!

“Among the many tribes of Native Americans throughout North America there were many different roles for the Native American women. The roles of many Native American women were very important to every Indian tribe.” Native Net

‘Super Native Woman’ design by Jared Yazzie and OXDX Clothing

Excerpt: Native American Women, Native Net

“Women are important to any society since they are the bearers of children, but to Native American tribes the women had many other very important responsibilities.

Native women cooking on open fire

Among some American Indian tribes the women would make many of the weapons that were used for hunting and war, and also built the homes they lived in, gathered firewood, as well as herbs for medicine, and nuts and berries for food.

Native arts

Native American women are the ones that made the crafts that have become very popular forms of art worldwide. Some of the crafts they are known most for are the hand woven and quilted blankets, colorful beaded necklaces, handmade and painted pottery.

Native American Women Warriors

No matter what tribe you are referring to, the women were always very important and had many different roles for the survival of the tribe.”


Yakama Native American Mother and Child

Category: Social

Meet The New Baby Bison!

“A bison calf has been born on Wyoming’s Wind River Indian Reservation for the first time in 130 years.”Casper Star Tribune

The first wild bison calf in 130 years. Billings Gazette

Excerpt: First bison born on Wyoming reservation in 130 years — Casper Star Tribune

“The Casper Star-Tribune reports the baby bison was born Wednesday into a herd of 10 animals reintroduced to the reservation last fall.

Jason Baldes with the Eastern Shoshone tribe says the bison calf is ‘an honor bestowed upon us by the Creator.’ White settlers nearly eradicated bison from the West in the 19th century.”

Do You Know the Difference Between Buffalo and Bison?

“It’s easy to understand why people confuse bison and buffalo. Both are large, horned, oxlike animals of the Bovidae family. There are two kinds of bison, the American bison and the European bison, and two forms of buffalo, water buffalo and Cape buffalo. However, it’s not difficult to distinguish between them, especially if you focus on the three H’s: home, hump, and horns.

From top to bottom: A bison, an Asian water buffalo, and an African Cape buffalo.

Contrary to the song “Home on the Range,” buffalo do not roam in the American West. Instead, they are indigenous to South Asia (water buffalo) and Africa (Cape buffalo), while bison are found in North America and parts of Europe. Despite being a misnomer—one often attributed to confused explorers—buffalo remains commonly used when referring to American bison, thus adding to the confusion.

Another major difference is the presence of a hump. Bison have one at the shoulders while buffalo don’t. The hump allows the bison’s head to function as a plow, sweeping away drifts of snow in the winter. The next telltale sign concerns the horns. Buffalo tend to have large horns—some have reached more than 6 feet (1.8 meters)—with very pronounced arcs. The horns of bison, however, are much shorter and sharper. And, if you want to throw a B into the mix, you can check for a beard. Bison are the hipsters of the two animals, sporting thick beards. Buffalo are beardless.”

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Category: Animals | Tags:

The Zuni Pueblo Main Street Festival Coming in May!

“Dowa Yalanne Mesa also referred to as “Corn Mesa” is a sacred site that overlooks Zuni Pueblo and has been a place of necessary refuge for the Zuni People since time immemorial.It sits rather off the beaten track. There are no glitzy casinos to attract folks. It’s not near any big population center. But Zuni Pueblo is doing what it can to highlight what it has, and much of that will be on display May 6-7 for the Zuni Pueblo MainStreet Festival.” G. Rosales, AlbuquerqueJournal

Dowa Yalanne Mesa

“The fifth annual fair is a celebration of our local businesses and local artists, giving appreciation for everything they do collaboratively to sustain our local economy, said Wells Mahkee Jr., Zuni Pueblo MainStreet manager. ‘We’re celebrating our community and culture.’It’s a celebration open to all comers and includes such entertainment as a carnival with rides and games, and a showcase of the many artisans from the pueblo.

‘We’re going to have an arts market with the local vendors set up and local arts and crafts,’ Mahkee said. ‘We’ll have a wide variety of artists that will have their arts and crafts for sale so you can buy directly from the artist. You know what you’re getting. You’ll be getting quality work, and you get to meet the artists, which is something not many communities can say.’ One of the big highlights of Saturday’s event will be traditional Zuni dances, he said.

Native Zuni dances.

‘They’ll be social dances, and I know one group will be doing the buffalo dance, the corn dance, the turkey dance and the butterfly dance,’  Mahkee said.

Then there will be what is sure to be a crowd favorite as the local Head Start program will do a series of dances, he said.

Several art competitions also will be on tap, with a juried show in which five judges will be rating the artwork in categories from jewelry, paintings, textile, pottery and carvings, with the work on display throughout the weekend.

And in another competition, artists will be challenged to stretch their creativity by using recycled material provided by the Zuni Environmental Program.”

For more information Zuni Pueblo MainStreet Festival May 6-7

Category: Culture

Native High School Veterinary Program Empowers Students

“It’s 8 a.m. in the vast, chilly agricultural-science building, and Clyde McBride is reaching deep into the back end of a cow to deposit prize-winning bull semen. Sixteen teenagers, bunched into a tight semicircle, watch silently, necks craning. Not one of them asks that most pervasive of high school questions: ‘Why do I have to learn this?’ … The students in Monument Valley High School’s ‘ag-science’ program know exactly why they are learning to perform artificial insemination. It empowers them to provide veterinary services that are scarce and crucial to their families and neighbors here in Navajo Nation.” Education Week

Clyde McBride


Excerpt: Clyde McBride Recognized for Leadership in Technical Education, Education Week

“It boosts their employability, confidence, and future wage earnings. And it opens doorways to college. Here in the northeastern corner of Arizona, on an arid plain edged with sandy orange spires and pine-dotted mesas, teenagers have a rare opportunity to practice what policy wonks preach: to study academics through a lens that matters to them. A keen sense of relevance, and of community service, runs deep in students’ work here, where many Navajo families depend on livestock for their livelihood.

Clyde McBride, who is the director of career and technical education in the 2,000-student Kayenta Unified school district, started this program in 1990 and has built it into a powerhouse that catapults students past the odds they’d face without it. In a Native American community of high poverty and unemployment, his 200 students outscore their peers statewide on math and English tests, and 100 percent graduate from high school, outstripping the statewide average by 22 percentage points. Three-quarters of McBride’s graduates enroll in college or training programs. The rest go straight into the workforce.

Responding to Community Need

McBride didn’t focus his agricultural-science program on veterinary skills at random. He saw that it was what the community wanted and needed. People kept asking: Can you come out and treat my colicky horse? Can you help birth our lambs? And there were emergencies, like the time a family’s sheep herd was attacked by wild dogs. McBride summoned a group of students, grabbed his bag of supplies, and raced out to the homestead. Suturing and bandaging like mad, they saved the family’s herd—and their livelihood.

Now, the ag-science building functions as both classroom and community clinic. Dogs, cats, goats, cows, sheep, and horses flow through its big doors all day—more than 12,000 animal patients in the past five years. For a modest fee, community members can get a range of services that are either impossible to find nearby or are too costly.

Photo PBS

Trevon Neztsosie, a senior in the program, says he likes the hands-on approach to learning better than sitting in a classroom. With his skills, he can far out-earn the burger flippers down the street and he can help his family, by taking over vaccinations of their sheep, goats, and cattle.‘I like it when I can do something useful.'”

Category: Education

‘Killa’: A New Film About Saving Natives

“The director of Ecuador’s first Kichwa-language movie wants the public to know the plot-line but also that the problems facing all Indigenous Peoples in this hemisphere are based on colonialism and a lack of sovereignty.”  R. Kerns, ICTMN

Alberto Muenala, a highly respected Kichwa scholar and filmmaker directed “Killa”, a film presenting the issues Indigenous Peoples . Courtesy Frida Muenala

Excerpt:  Killa’: The Indigenous Story Against Mining and Corruption, by Rick Kerns, ICTMN

“The movie Killa (pronounced keeja) premiered in the second week of March. It tells the story of a Kichwa (one of the Quechua related ethnicities) photojournalist who takes incriminating photos of a mining company operation and how ‘a corrupt government official takes ruthless steps to stop their publication.’ The local Indigenous community rallies in defense of their land against the mining operation and that leads to a conflict with government forces.

With this film we hope to demonstrate how our values and principles of maternal respect to the Pachamama (Mother Earth) can lead all of us toward the ultimate goal of sumak kawsay (good living)—respect, dignity, and cultural coexistence.

Killa is the culmination of our community’s search for a cinematic voice. This ambitious project is the first feature-length film written, directed, and produced by Kichwa filmmakers in our native Kichwa language.

[ According to Director Albert Muenala] ‘Every day we are subjected to a process of continued colonialism that does not allow for the self-determination of the peoples; it has become common practice to auction and sell off territories to transnational oil and mining companies without prior consent of the first peoples,’.

The Mestizo audiences in Quito and Tulcan left the theaters pleased to see another way of making movies that show realities that they themselves are not aware of in themselves too (racism), as well as seeing how the attitudes of the rulers played out, Muenala stated. Killa will be shown in other parts of Ecuador and Muenala is hoping to bring the movie to the U.S. and elsewhere through film festivals.”

Category: Films