Monday, September 15, 2014

Video: I am an Alaska Native Dancer | INDIE ALASKA



Haliehana Stepetin is a master Alaska Native dancer born in Akutan, AK. Stepetin has made it her life goal to promote and teach the many styles of dance found throughout the diverse Alaska Native cultures.

Special Thanks to the Alaska Native Heritage Center

Story by: John Norris
Produced by: Pat Yack
Additional Camera: Travis Gilmour
Music by: Dehrich Schmidt-Chya, Starship Amazing, Alaska Native Heritage Center Dancers

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Poem: Decolonized Do

Decolonized do,
Decolonized hair,
Decolonized stylin’,

Hair?
Hair!

She asked me what I am?
He asked me what I am?

What am I?

Two-spirit,
Gender non-conforming,
Mixed blood Anishinaabekwe,
How I define me,
How I see me,

But it’s not all pride,
Not all being proud of who you are,
In a… hierarchical discriminating structural world,
In a… racist-sexist-confining-we-don’t like-you-world,
In a… we-are-weirded-out-by-your-existence-world,
In a… we-are-uncomfortable-with-you-breathing-world,
In a… sistah-we-don’t-support-you-and-your-deviations-world,
In a… we-are-violent-towards-you-cuz-youse-is-a-threat-world,
In a… wellbriety-sobriety-recovery-makes-me-uncomfortable-so-I’m-gonna-shew-you-away-world,
In a… we-can’t-box-ya-in-so-we-bully-ya-world,
In a… she-ain’t-following-the-rules-so-she-must-be hidden-world,
In a… egocentric-proselytizing-addict-culture-health-ain’t-the-thang-even-though-you-got-it-sistah,
In a… mixed-blood-so-so-so-sorry-we-don’t-see-that-you-are-Native-world,

Okay,
Okay,
Ya get it?

So these confines make me boxed in,
Make me feel ostracized all the time,
Make me depressed,
And there are no community resources,

The forest,
The water,
The forest,
The water,
Traditional lands,
Territories,
Ancestral memories,
Ancestral sounds,
Feelings,
Motions,

We are here,

Did you not see me fully for who I am?
You did not!

Often it is a struggle,
In these identities,
In this identity,

Water flowing,
Rapidly by me,

Cedar – giizhick,
I hold in my hand.                 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Poem: A Normal Boring Poem About Non-Romantic Love

This is a normal boring poem,
About non-romantic love,

About boring stale energy,
About the sound of a ceiling fan,
About the order being up,
About diligent seekers across waters,
Not a mad man,
Not a mad woman,
Not her,
She,
He,
Him,

About boring invitations to romance,
While I purchase roses for myself,

About getting asked on a date and having other things to do,
Like write poetry,
Normal boring poem about normal boring attempts at romance,

I would rather watch two eagles fly and chase each other,
Seagulls eat Cheez-It crumbs on da beach,
Racoon's delicately clean their lil' hands in water,
Stare at my book collection,

Couplicious boring-ness,
This poet will never write about romantic love,
There is no interest in,
Romance,
Being in love,

I am complete.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Poem: A Two-Spirit Case Study

I put my stethoscope to the community,
I listened,
Most of the time quietly,
Or "underground,"

Right wing Christians,
Who are Native,
White tribal government structures,
Two-Spirits who are shamed,
This isn't traditional,

Still getting shunned,
I listen,

When children are neglected,
Ignored,
Abused,
Not fed breakfast by their Father's,
I listen,

The soul is wide open,
Listening,

The soul is black,
Tarnished,
Damaged,
Disjointed,

Scrambling across the territories to seek bits and pieces of healing,
To run into shards of glass of liquor bottles,
The addiction of a thirst unquenchable, 
A thirst to heal not understood by dominant culture influences and colonization,

Running into walls,
Abuse sprouts onto walls and window panes in the form of mold,
Mold toxicity damaging spirits,
This is a mold toxic house,
The house a metaphor for toxicity all around,
A mold toxic body,
A mold toxic soul,

Shards of broken glass shattered into souls,
Sharp edges,
It hurts,
This racism,
This internalized racism,
This sexism,
This internalized sexism,
This homophobia,
This internalized homophobia,

To seek but to stumble,
Imperfection as a survivor of genocide,
Swaying under the dim lights of this podunk-redneck-hick-NDN-rez-town,

What you seek is not out there,
The teachings are what you seek,
It is not a pedestal,
It is not a tribal government structure,
It is not patriarchy,
It is not abuse,

The soul listening can assembled the pieces,
In a de-insdustrialized way,
In a de-colonized way,
Yet no one cares to listen,
Still I listen,
Quietly,

A Two-Spirit observance and case study,
A community broken.