I Was Indian

I WAS INDIAN

(before being Indian was cool)

AN ANTHOLOGY OF
NATIVE LITERATURE
VOLUME I

Edited by Susan Deer Cloud


TABLE OF CONTENTS

I Was Indian - Introduction    Susan Deer Cloud     9

Paul Hapenny
   Halfbreed Boy     15                                                                                                                                        
   Reverie on the Southeast Expressway     17                                        
   The Indian Joke      19
   Pain of Mystic      21

Monty Campbell
   Rez Photos     22
   Lamentation     23
   On Ancient Land     24
   Organic Turmoil      25
   Warm Winter     26

Paula Gunn Allen
   America the Beautiful V     27
   A Trick of Light     28

Sayra Pinto-Wilson
   The Story I Will Tell the Youngsters When I Am Old     29
   Hiking With My Uncle Carlos     31

Charles Bane, Jr.
   Widening     32

Lance Henson
   All the Names     33                                                                                
   From Jordan      34
   Crossing     35                                                                                
   A Sudden Dislocation & Passages     36  
   Here     37

Sarah Littlecrow-Russell
   Storm Poems     38
   Indian Child Support     39
   I Do Not Know Your Name     40
   Atlantic Bridge     41

Stephanie Elliot  
   Consider the Pinpoint of Entry     42

Chip Livingston
   Coon Was Here, 1985     44                                                                                 
   Crow Blue-Crow Black     46
   Apalachee Tuscaloosa     47       

Dave Brinks
   In Stone Stelae, in Nebulae     48
   The Ouroborous     49

John David Henson
   Watching TV     50
   Early Morning Storm     52
   Learning to Let Go     53

Cedar Firesong Robideau
   Firesong, Dark, Death     54

Barney Bush
   Arrows     55
   A June Wind Above Regina     57

Black Bear
  Indian Man     59
   Winter Stillness     60

Briget Truex    
   Song     61

nila northSun
   Pale in the Desert     62                                                                             
   Poetic Phrases     63     

Sandra Haley
   Marvin's Funeral     64  

Kim Shuck
   Objects May Be Closer Than They Appear     65     

Asani Charles
   Indin Souljer Boy     67

J.P. Dancing Bear
   A Brief Informal History     68

Diane Way
    NDN Blues     69

Rick Kearns
   Kill the Indian     72

Martin Esapada
   Colibrí     74
   All the People Who Are Now Red Trees     75  

Charles Johnson                                                                                     
   Piedras Negras     76

Ron Welburn
   String Theory     77
   Mohawk Memory (Schoharie County, N.Y.)     78                       
   Every Morning Is a Season     79

James Autio
   Nind Inaabandam/I Dream     80                                                          
   Lemon Poppyseed     81

Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán
   Hibernate     82

Eric Schwartz
   New World     83

Gary Wilkens
   Indian Recycler     84                                                                          
   82 MPH on the NY State Thruway     85       

Jennifer Lemming
   Quilting Circle     86    

Kim Becker
   Beloved Woman     87            

Linda Hogan
   Dimensions     88                                                                                     
   Affinity: Mustang     90    

Matthew C. Wolfe   
   On the Rez     92
   O Great Spirit     94   

Thomas Hubbard
   Lakota Woman     96
   This Morning's Blues     97

Vicenti Kurle Caljesuseso
   Sweet T     98

DeLyssa Begay/Black Sheep Woman
   Bear     99                                                                                

Joe Bruchac
   Wawanogit     101
   Ghost Song     102

Rane Arroyo    
   No Burying Echoes     104
   The Blue Lagoon (a Remake)     106

Latona Swan-Ena
   Counting Coup     107                                                     

Alice M. Azure
   Walking in the Rain     111

Tiffany Midge
   Imagining Yes     112
   A Song for Conjuring Shelter     113

Ray “Moose” Jackson
   I Want to Make Love to You     114

Susan Deer Cloud
   Horse     116
   Sugar Daddy     117
   Our Parallel Universe     118               

From the book:

I WAS INDIAN  INTRODUCTION - Susan Deer Cloud

Then all Indians
lived in country
my people in Catskills
where Indians
were “part Indian”
families extended
including boy cousins
too numerous to count
including wolf-eyed friends
also “part Indian”

All Indian kids
flung rocks   burrs   snakes
at non-Indian kids
dumb enough to wander
onto Indian territory
in my case School Street
no white girls dared wear
a snake necklace the way
an Indian girl dared to
every Indian child
got savaged by teachers
teaching Indians are savages

Little Indian rebels with a cause
got low grades if they spoke up
against so-called founding fathers
who stole Indian land   made
Mother Earth their whipping girl
all the budding warriors' mothers
warned them not to tell outsiders
their dreams   beautiful ways
lest they'd be caged as crazy

Long time ago
when all Indians
went berry picking
strawberries in June
blackberries in July
blueberries in August
beechnuts and apples in fall
boys   men      hunting   fishing
wild meat for every meal
joking   you are what you eat

All our wild boys
tongues tasting of fried trout
plump berries   hard cider
the way third cousins tasted
when we bartered kisses
in high mountain meadows
when kisses howled forth
shadows of panthers
passenger pigeons
oh   my lost wild heart

And continuing genocide
the ones who tried to shame us
called us dirty   dumb
our untamed tenderness suspect
when all our mothers led us
to the rivers of summer
when our small bodies
wept into the waters
under mountain laurel slopes
when we let our salt grief
wash out to the seas of deepness

Breathing in then   white pine
blue spruce   firefly nights
when Indians stood up for Indians
no one carried an identity card
no one had to whisper
they hated the U.S. Government
no professors informed us
we were Native Americans
when America didn't hunger to be US
believed eastern Injuns were all dead
When we survivors gathered
beneath a Tree of Peace
but no one called it that
we had swallowed the garbage of exile
for too many centuries
we simply sang   played   together
cradled babies together
that was our powwow
no bumperstickers for sale
no I was Indian before being
Indian was cool to slap
on all our rusting Indian cars'
proud rear ends
only our dreamcatcher faces
refusing to vanish


LAMENTATION - Monty Campbell

Angel of light,
angel of simple alabaster,
gun breath or whiskey,
connect me to dirt,
let me find a brother
in this ancient,
sacred soil,
let the turtles wake
wash me upon an
unshrapneled shore,
take my simple cloth
and sew it to the
sky world
where an old woman's hands
would heal me to sleep,
make the stripes of an
unwanted father bleed on the
hands of a father forgotten,
let him awake,
let them all awake,
pound the drum until the
fire is blazing, until
every spirit stands
or dances.


AFFINITY: MUSTANG - Linda Hogan

Tonight after the sounds of day
have given way
she stands beneath the moon,
a gray rock shining.
She matches the land,
belonging.

She has a dark calm face,
her hooves like black stone
belong to the earth
the way it used to be,
long grasses
as grass followed rain
or wind laid down the plains of fall
or in winter now when
her fur changes and becomes snow
or her belly hair turns
the color of red water willows
at the creek,
her legs black as trees.

These horses
almost a shadow,
broken.

When we walk together
in the tall grasses, I feel her
as if I am walking with mystery,
with beauty and fierce powers,
as if for a while we are the same animal
and remember each other from before.

Or sometimes I sit on earth
and watch the wind blow her mane and tail
and the waves of dry grasses
all one way
and it calls to mind
how I've come such a long way
through time
to find her.

Some days I sing to her
remembering the Kiowa man
who sang to cover the screams
of their ponies killed by the Americans
the songs I know in my sleep.

Some nights, hearing her outside,
I think she is to the earth
what I am to her,
belonging.

Sometimes it seems as if we knew each other
from a time before our journeys here
In secret, I sing to her, the old songs
the ones I speak in my sleep.

But last night it was her infant that died
after the kinship and movement
of so many months
Tonight I sit on the straw
and watch as the milk streams from her nipples
to the ground.  I clean her face.
I've come such a long way through time
to find her and
it is the first time
I have ever seen a horse cry.

Sing then, the wind says,
Sing.


    I WAS INDIAN is a 128 page hand-stitched paper book with spine.   $16.00

TO ORDER  ON-LINE                               

From the US        

From Canada   

From Other Countries           
     


     To order through mail click here