Native News Network Staff in Entertainment. Discussion »
Reading at NMU
MARQUETTE, MICHIGAN - An anthology of creative works representing the contemporary American Indian experience in Michigan "Voice on the Water: Great Lakes Native America Now" will be released.
A public reading at Northern Michigan University tonight will showcase contributors and celebrate the book's launch. The public is invited to attend this free event, which is scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm in 105 Jamrich Hall.
"Voice on the Water" features poetry, short stories, essays, photographs and artwork. It also includes a glossary of Anishinaabe terms and contributor biographies. Northern Michigan University's Center for Native American Studies and the NMU Press collaborated on the anthology, which was made possible by a $15,000 grant from the Michigan Humanities Council.“We wanted this book to appeal to a broad audience and our hope is that it will also be used as a textbook from the junior high level through college,”
said Grace Chaillier, adjunct professor at NMU and the project's coordinator.
"Indians in general are not very well known as contemporary people in American society. If you ask students to draw depictions of them, it's usually with tee-pees, bows and arrows and other images from the past. We want to introduce ourselves as Indian people, but also as contemporary Michigan residents so our Michigan neighbors will know us better."
"The poem is titled 'Family Tree.' It is a succinct 31 syllable consideration of my Nokomis life with diabetes, and how I felt she dealt with it," states Courtney Biggs, Cherokee -Ojibwe, who is one of the contributors from Sparta, Michigan.
Biggs also is a talented artisan who creates beautiful painted wooden bowls and sells them at various powwows and other art venues. For the book, he submitted an image of the bowls he paints in the form of a mosaic titled "A Dozen Cousins."
More than 200 pieces were submitted for consideration from within the state and beyond. A committee of campus scholars, along with a community elder and author, selected the 88 that are included in the book.
"The tough part was not being able to include all of them because there were so many quality submissions," said April Lindala, director of the NMU Center for Native American Studies. "I've seen Native anthologies that revolve around themes, but this is the first that specifically relates to the contemporary experience in Michigan. We made a conscious effort to have a span of generations' voices included, so there is a lot of youth representation.
"The seeds for this project were first planted several years ago, before I became director, but it's extremely fulfilling to see it finally completed. It has been a labor of love for the last two years. The book is something tangible we can carry and hold close to our hearts and say, 'We did this.'"
In addition to the Marquette public reading and book launch, a similar event will be held on Friday, December 2, from 4:00 - 6:00 pm est at the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture and Lifeways in Mt. Pleasant. Both are hosted by the Center for Native American Studies and the Communications and Marketing Office, which oversees the NMU Press.
Levi Rickert, Potawatomi, editor-in-chief of the Native News Network is another contributor with an essay called "Indian Pride."
Excerpt of "What Does it Mean to Me to be an Indian?" by Ronald G. Douglas, a tribal citizen of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan. Douglas is a retired tribal judge, who served three different American Indian tribes:
I am an Anishinabe, but people ask me what that means. I have a "green-card" stating that I am registered with a federally recognized tribe, but one of my full-blooded cousins is not. Yet, we shared all of our community experiences as we were growing up. He has the same beliefs that I do. He speaks the Ojibway language, but is excluded by federal restrictions forced upon the tribal leaders in 1937, when the federal government was trying to cut back the cost of regulating Indians by limiting the number of members of a tribe, and terminating their identity as an Indian.
I am proud of my heritage even though I look more like my Polish and Scotch father than my mother who was full-blooded Indian. I believe that my pride results from being able to examine and compare Anglo-European traditions to the American Indian traditions and then making a choice of which was better in each area. Few people can do that. It worked for me as I spent half of my time in each world as a child growing up in a city, but spending week-ends with Indian relatives in a place called Indian Town. I learned to observe both cultures.
I had close attachments to a very large Indian family of 30 first cousins and many other relatives who followed most of our traditions. They formed a clan where an ill or injured member was immediately inundated with volunteer efforts to assist them. In spite of lacking telephones, several relatives showed up as soon as someone was sick, injured or had a special need. They never asked for more than food, tea or a cold beer. I learned that nobody ever said "thank you" or "you are welcome" since it was understood just as love was never mentioned, but always understood and known. Emotions were hidden.
posted November 30, 2011 7:10 am est
Thank you for visiting. We are loading the new Native News Network website. Visitors always come first, so if you click on a link only to find the corresponding page is unavailable, please use this link to contact us here ».
Then, tell us how we can help you.
I will contact you personally.