Poem: Mad Libs of Anti-Social Media

My obsession with rotary phones is real. More real than your smartphone. Rotary phones are elegant and regal. Decolonize today! When I run for Ogema in 2029 it will be mandatory to have a rotary phone in your home if you live on the reservation. Sincerely, real olde school Generation X-er.

My obsession with rotary phones is real. More real than your smartphone. Rotary phones are elegant and regal. Decolonize today! When I run for Ogema in 2029 it will be mandatory to have a rotary phone in your home if you live on the reservation. Sincerely, real olde school Generation X-er.

My Instagram left me running,
For myself,
In my own mirror,
Of self-absorption,
I knew I made it big on facebook with a clown,
That in town,
Ran away,
Like a king of a fling,
Ohhhh I am sure that stings,

The TRUTH,
You get the boot,
From the Russian bot,
Watching your activity,
Cuz youse is Indigenous on the internets,

I know you thinkin’ youse is wise,
Decolonizing with tons of hashtags,
You are so a millenilal,

Get a rotary phone,
Listen to the tone,
This is a poem,
So quit the roam,
Of your soul,

Phew!
Thank the God of Two-Spirit God’s,
Decolonial God’s in the Ojibwe night sky,
Alien cat God’s,
Alien angel human God’s prayin’ ya to thee decolonial JESUS,
All caps cuz he was a radical brown man,

What were you in your past life,
A lump on the log of anti-social media,
Smoke smoke smokin’ those likes up,

The world has taken the drug,
This is the smart plan,
To manipulate your soul,

Get out while you can,
Don’t bury your heard in the sand,

Delete,
Uninstall,
Roll it back,
Cuz youse is loosing track,
Of who you is,
In this world,

They will manipulate your mind,
So you think you are fine,
Why in fact you are not free,
Just let the app,
Tap,
Go,
Just be,
Like it was 1982,
With the talkin’ on the steps,
In the hood,
Before the corruption,
Disruption of the dial tone,
Phone.

A Call to End Lateral Violence In Our Anishinaabe Communities

Preface

I can’t wait until our own people start to protest lateral violence within our Anishinaabe communities.  I can’t wait until we start demanding action be taken and misogynistic tribal councilor’s are removed.  I can’t wait to see the mass of Anishinaabe people at Tribal government buildings demanding that corruption be stopped.  I can’t wait to see our people with protests signs that say – LOVE WATER NOT ALCOHOL.  I can’t wait until we stop running from our own communities and do the work within.

I am aware of “large actions” against Line 5 – “the straits sunken hazard.”  However I am even more aware of the apparent visible hazards of addiction, sexual abuse, and lateral violence within our Anishinaabe communities.  We need not run from these problems but to face them directly.  This is the greatest direct action!

The problem with anti-social media is no one can have 5,000 “friends” or “followers.”  That is a small town you’ve accumulated in a virtual un-reality.  Even in small towns not everyone gets along.  This is why small towns are often quiet and the curtains are drawn because it is better to keep to yourself.

Personally, I am at a breaking point with the lateral violence.  This is a call for help.  This is a decolonial treatise, if you will. 

Decolonization – For Real

I have been involved in community work (I don't use the word activism) since I was 12 years old when I fought against gentrification in my hometown of Royal Oak, Michigan.  Now Royal Oak is a place I wouldn’t want to live.  For 7 years I have resided in the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Territory – or colonially known as Manistee, Michigan.  I have a love and hate relationship with this place.  Little River Band of Ottawa Indians is a non-community meaning there is no community with this tribe.  The level of heteropatriarchy and misogyny is extreme here.  As an Ojibway/Métis Two-Spirit, I have experienced more lateral violence here than I can count from men and women.  On the flipside, there are also people who supported me in crisis, usually more conservative people.  Mostly what I love about Naaminitigong (Manistee) is the land and water.  The non-community troubles me but fuels my life work. 

Heal Yourself to Heal Your People

Fighting a pipeline is bullshit when you haven’t healed yourself.  If you are struggling with an addiction seek help right now.  Stop running from your pain.  Besides big oil will win and it is better to get to the root cause of trauma within our communities that continuously fight against one another.  Big oil doesn’t care about Treaty Rights or Native American rights, we all know this.  You aren’t going to change big oil’s mind with a protest and they actually think it’s funny you are out there “resisting.”  It is the same old song and nothing will change by screaming at cars driving by on the Mackinaw Bridge.  This is Michigan and I come from a Ford family.  My great-Grandfather was a Union Organizer who assisted in the building and the founding the UAW (United Auto Workers).  Without the ancestors hard and monotonous labor we wouldn’t have the world that we have today.  We need cars because we can get to protests.  Otherwise how do you get there?  So what solutions do you propose post oil and post auto industry?  The auto industry has a strong hold on Michigan and these actions won't change it any time soon.  I praise the auto industry for innovation and changing our world.  Do I love the auto industry?  No, I am not in love with it and changes can be made within it.

I’m Sick of Standing Rock

For those of us who resisted in our home territory we see that Standing Rock did nothing to heal you.  Are you really a warrior when you attack your own people?  You are not a warrior when you degrade, insult, and bully another person.  I am sick of hearing about people who went to Standing Rock.  So what?  I went to the racist work environment on numerous occasions.  I wake up in the colonial white supremacist land as a Two-Spirit every single day boldly walking a sober road.  The frontlines are our lives and not this show of power and ego when it comes to “resistance.” 

Authenticity

If you are authentic in your work you need not make a show of it.  This is ego as well as insecurity.  If you are a true warrior then live it and say nothing of your work.  I am not interested in a show of power or a show of ego (insecurity).  You prove you are more in alignment with Diocletian or King Henry VIII when you do this.  I believe in the old Anishinaabe ways.  I believe in what the ancestral and hereditary Chiefs in my lineage might say.  Blood memory means we may feel this or get insights via dreams, intuition, etc.  This leadership is often not even welcome in our own Anishinaabe communities.  Leadership is nurtured throughout one’s lifetime.  It is not something you attain and then know everything.  If you think like this then you are still in alignment with King Henry VIII and not Ogema Waub Aijaak (Chief White Crane).  Leading an authentic life means you don’t need validation of your work by anyone.

Zaagidewin – Love Is the Solution

My treatise doesn’t declare surrendering.  In fact, I am gaining strength.  I am tired of “water protectors,” who are violent towards their own people or smoke “medical marijuana” around their Anishinaabe children.  Anishinaabe are around other Anishinaabe at events and no one can talk to each other.  Then you bully me because I am strong, independent, fierce, educated, creative, intellectual, healed, and healing.  You say I am “intense” because I work very hard for our communities.  You lack intensity because you are normal and boring.   I challenge the patriarchy within men and women. I challenge those who who hog the stage and are not allowing anyone else to be up there.  This is not the work of our people or in our 7 Grandmother (ehem) and Grandfather Teachings.  There are elders who are not passing the torch to the next leaders so I will make my own place to lead without ya’ll supporting me.  This brokenness needs repair.

Gpa & Cece 83.jpg

There is no Anishinaabe “community.”  There is no “Michigan Native community.”  At this point the oppressor has won.  Colonization and genocide has never ended and we are now continuing this oppression in our own non-communities towards each other.  All the buzz words of “resistance,” “decolonization,” and “water protection,” fail because we need to empower our people by and for each other.  Forget the pipeline – get alcohol off of our tribal lands! 

I love my parents.  I love my family.  I love the LaPointe’s.  I love the Sanborn's.  I love the land.  I love the water.  I love Michigamig.  I even love my enemies.  These are my teachings.  The more hate, anger, jealousy, hostility, and lateral violence you send me the more I grow my love.  This garden I tend is beautiful – can you see it?  This work is lonely but I continue forward working from – zaagidewin – love.  Chi miigwech Mishomis LaPointe for supporting me from the so called “other side.”  You are always with us.

Zaagidewin,

Nigig-enz Baapi (Little Laughing Otter)

Poem: Standing on the Frontlines in Anishinaabe Aki

What does the first memory of racism mean?
If the Grandfathers and Grandmothers are with us,
If the ancestors are with us,
What does the first memory mean?
If blood memory means feeling,
If blood memory means healing,
Does it mean I can final feel and release what Grandpa LaPointe endured?
My Great-Grandparents?
Madeline Cadotte?
Waub Ajijaak?

I recall friends in my hometown saying,
“Me sled downhill on bones,”
In a derogatory tone,
Mocking stereotyped and broken Native American speech,
I said to them,
“If you don’t stop I will walk home,”
They didn’t stop and I walked home alone,
In the cold white suburbs on that end of summer day,
Along the railroad tracks,
Looking south at the Detroit haze,
My mind through the train yard to the rivers,
Looking north at the unknown from 12 Mile Road and up,
Angry and hurt, 

Or was it the white girl in high school joking about,
“Wanting her land back,”

The white man got the job before me,
The white woman got the job before me,
I wasn’t hired as the “token minority” in Detroit,
Because of the harm of the Black and White racial binary,
Discredits and ignores Native lives from the start of Grand River,
To 36 Mile Road,
I was allocated to unemployment,
Underemployment,

Making movement out of poverty,
Now here is your chance,
But the racist white liberal in lily white Traverse City says,
Maybe we need to treat you with more harm,
Maybe we need to treat you harsh,
Maybe you don’t deserve any job, 

And on my own I have cried in the shower,
My tears blended with the water,
Why is this happening to me?
When will it end?

The racist words,
I jot them down,
My ancestors I confide in,
The land I touch,
I am reconnecting,
I am reclaiming,

The words are continuing to come,
These racist words are all around me,
I jot them down,
I am taking more notes,
They say they will do cultural diversity training,
They aren’t taking action fast enough,

The hostility increases,
It is hard for me to be here,
I am barely functioning,
More racial microaggresions,
More covert racism,
I am yelled at when I ask them to take this seriously,

I couldn’t take it anymore,
So I “filed the paperwork,”
I couldn’t breathe anymore,
I feel like I didn’t want to be here anymore,
I’m filing the paperwork,
Shaking with deep soul wounds,
As I write down my addendum to the “Charge of Discrimination,”
On my kitchen table in Manistee,

The last moment,
She appeared in the bathroom mirror,
Cecelia Shalifoe was with me,
She is behind me,
I see her old clothes,
I feel her spirit,
I’m not alone,
I’m fighting for the ancestors when they had no platform to speak,
Cecelia was there in spirit,
To have her life and pain validated through this action,

I won this case as far as colonial justice can go,
But it is never over,
Racism is on every inch of this land if you are Anishinaabe,

Standing on the frontlines in Anishinaabe Aki,
I hold an anti-racist sign daily,
Because I can’t afford a billboard campaign,
Do you see my sign?
I’ve never gained “likes” and an online “following,”
No one started a gofundme for all the racism I’ve experienced,
My issues aren’t made popular on whitestream and lamestream media,
I didn’t have aid sent to me in mass,
Surprisingly it was conservative allies who stood with me and encouraged me to speak,
Actually white liberals left when it became too uncomfortable to face racism in their own backyard,
Except they run off to Standing Rock,
Not Eagle Rock,
Not Benzie County,
Or Manistee,
Not Ispheming,
Thunder Bay,
Winnipeg,
Or da Soo,
My story didn’t happen in isolation,
So this is why I share it, 

It never stopped,
2 EEOC cases later,
I’m sorting through files,
I keep adding to folders,
Sometimes it is racial microaggression or bigotry in a grocery store,
Other times its people thinking I have too much money for a minority,

Standing on the frontlines means everyday life for Native people,
My existence is resistance,
Our existence is resistance!

Poem: The Copper Mine to the Copper Mind

The Origins of Suburban Crisis

If you didn’t feel comfortable in your body,
When your sweaty palms made streaks on the desk at school,
When homogenization tactics left you alone,
Your voice is vibrating between this powerline and the one 500 miles away,

You had become a fierce warrior at twelve,
When the junior high principal ostracized you,
Injustice was nothing new,
Instead of your concerns being taken seriously,
You cut your arms all alone,

Chi Miigwech Mother Love Bone/Green River/Andy Wood/original non-corporate grunge,

While grunge understood you there was no way to process this energy,
They give you the “at-risk,” label,
Toss out nets of prevention but never deal with the root cause,

Rocks on the railroad tracks,
There were no cultural teachings,
Just a plastic Indian doll from China picked up at a tourist destination in Saint Ignace,
A gift and small gesture,
The culture was still far away as the ancestors sorrow yet to be healed,

I do love these plastic feathers,
They are all I have in suburbia,
The spiraling of building and construction,
Destruction and land loss,
My culture became this liberal utopia prior to gentrification,
The Dandelion Antique Shop,
Vintage Noir,
Going Once Going Twice,
Art and telephone wires,
They spiral into my heart to fill the soul sadness unexplainable in 1992,

Telephone

The telephone was plastic,
I push these buttons hard,
The sound spirals down the wires,
I hope sound vibrates through the wires in the sky and way up north to the ancestors,

They looked at you as the other,
The police came twice,
The table was flipped,
Generational trauma was swept out the front door,

Youth Indian Catholic Worker

Your heart aligned with the speeding train,
There was the “guy with the green hat,”
And I knew that I knew him,
Or maybe I was him?

I loved the speeding train,
The wind through my soul,
My hair strands catch a breeze,
To the train south,

The ancestors on da Soo line,
Riding out this copper mine,
To the copper mind,
Of decolonization,
In a cedar lodge of healing in Kchiwiikwedong,

Constellation Hearts Desire

An oak leaf was peace,
Most of those in suburban crisis could not see this peace,
Colorful telephone wires in a corner of a basement,
Connect to Ojibwe constellations,
The night sky without sounds,
To the sound of my heart,
The fingernails on my neck,
I will touch my neck in a loving way,
We are healing now.

Poem: From Eagle Rock to Standing Rock

Every treaty broken,
Meanwhile genocidal amnesia plagues the land,

We have never left the land,
We have always spoken for the land,
We have never left the water,
We have always spoken for the water,

From Eagle Rock way up in the UP,
In the 1842 Treaty of LaPointe territories,
In Anishinaabe Aki,
To the Ring of Fire,
Attawapiskat First Nation,
Neskantaga First Nation,
Aamjiwnaang First Nation,
To Standing Rock,
We join hands across Turtle Island,
Our tears become the cleansing waters,

Hands on the land,
Hands on the water,
Standing for the land,
Standing for the water,

Ancestors draw near,
Touch our hearts and souls,
As a people we rise,
Together in prayer,

Across Turtle Island injustice is normalized,
Through militarized colonial violence,
Denial of Indigenous identity,
Voice or visibility,
Our sacred sites gated with barbed wire and barricades,
They tell us our lands are not as worthy as a church,
Dominion reigns,

Eagle Rock is mined below,
We have no access to it,
Contamination of the soul is welcome,
We seek to bring healing,

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community fought for 12 years,
The colonial white government ignores our voices,
Colonization has never ended,

The security guards laugh and take pictures,
I tell them this is our land,
My heart connected to Migizi Wa Sin,
Through the barbed wire fence,
Our heart is Migizi Wa Sin,
I love you my family,
I love you my relatives,
I love you my ancestors,
I love our land,
I love our water,
The ancestors still protect Migizi Wa Sin,
We still protect Migizi Wa Sin,

Missing and murdered Indigenous women,
Girls and Two-Spirits,
Sex trafficking,
The Bakken,
Duluth,
Thunder Bay,
The ports,
Broken hearts,
Broken lives,
Wounded souls,
We never wanted to live this way,

The water flows under the steel and iron,
The voice silenced,
She never wanted to live this way,
Maybe the water will lead her to safety?
To heal,
To be renewed,

We are all rising,
So no one else goes missing in the oil fields,
On a Great Lakes freighter,

We are all rising,
To prevent more pipelines,
Which bring the toxic and patriarchal violence of "man camps,"
To say no more to colonial sexual violence,
We are on the tributary of a healing to a decolonized future,
When we stand and speak,

Eagle Rock is our ancestral soul,
Standing Rock is our ancestral soul,
Resonation in healing justice,

Heart,
Spirit,
Land,
Water is life,

The ancestral soul is rising,
We are rising,
We are here,
We are here with our ancestors,
We are here with the ones to come,

We are singing,
We are dancing,
We are speaking,
We are healing,
We are love.