A Tribe Called Red is a (Girl Power Academy) First Nation, Earth Day DJ recommendation:

A Tribe Called Red is an all-First-Nation-DJ-crew from Ottawa Canada. Ian Campeau (Nipissing Anishinaabe), Tim ‘2oolman_ Hill (Mohawk) and Ehren Bear Witness Thomas (Cayuga)

A Tribe Called Red’s Electric powwow, now known as powwow step, has since gone global. 

Their big moment came in 2014. After months on tour in Europe, where they performed from Paris to Berlin, they took home a Juno, Canada’s music award, for breakthrough artist of the year, and were nominated for best electronic album. It was the first time an aboriginal artist had won outside the aboriginal category.

For fans, Tribe’s success is a source of pride in a national context where First Nation people still face systemic racism, unchecked police brutality and higher rates of suicide and addiction than any other group in North America.

For critics, they represent an emerging aesthetic that explores the tensions between city life and “rez life”, between pop and traditional native culture – a dual identity shaped by a decades-long migration from reservations and Canadian reserves to urban centers in a pattern than mirrors that of the Great Migration. Ethnomusicologists see Tribe’s approach to sampling native music as a form of repatriation, a challenge to western concepts of copyright.

The band has also struck a chord with a certain cultural elite – and this is where things get complicated. 

They’ve been accused on social media of reverse racism, of being too politically correct, of “taking away people’s fun” – which is why Witness finds the exchange on Instagram both upsetting and delighting.

“We never expected non-indigenous people to show up at our parties and listen to our music,” Witness says. “I see the indigenous audience getting frustrated by the space that the non-indigenous crowd can take up. The fact they’re out there trying to claim that space is a kind of action. In the past, indigenous people were silent. We didn’t complain. We tried to fit in.There wasn’t a space to complain about. So that in itself is a new kind of privilege for indigenous youth to have: to be able to complain.”

Underpinning such complaints are questions around assimilation and ownership, and who Tribe’s music belongs to.

By sampling powwow music and dance, Tribe is sampling a piece of indigenous history that was outlawed and suppressed, through indirect policies and outright violence, in both the US and Canada.

These conflicts speak to a longer history of struggle, resistance, and music that extends back through the Oka Crisis, the American Indian Movement and the massacre at Wounded Knee.

On a snowy weekend in January, Witness, Campeau, and Tim Hill, the band’s newest member, sat inside a multi-million dollar recording studio at the Phi Center in Montreal, surrounded by Macs and mixers, foam-padded walls, and a flag of the Iroquois Confederacy.

After five consecutive weekends in the studio, the sound and feel of the album was beginning to take shape. A mashup of rawhide drums and electronically crafted beats, it combined vocals by the Black Bear Singers (a young powwow group from an isolated reserve in northern Quebec) with rappers, electronic musicians and folk artists. The list is impressive: among those names were Saul Williams, Maxida Marak, Koolaid and the former chairman of the American Indian Movement, John Trudell, the activist behind the occupation of Alcatraz,one of the most successful American Indian protests of the 20th century.”

~BIO written by Damaris Colhoun

Read the full Biography-Article Here: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/jul/28/electric-powwow-tribe-called-red

The A Tribe Called Red “ALie Nation” ft. John Trudell, Tanya Tagaq, Lido Pimienta and Northern Voice (Music/Spoken Word video) is being posted here for NO COMMERCIAL PURPOSES.

A Tribe Called Red “ALie Nation” ft. John Trudell, Tanya Tagaq, Lido Pimienta and Northern Voice LYRCS:

The Halluci Nation

The human beings

The people see the spiritual in the natural

Through sense and feeling

Everything is related

All the things of earth and in the sky have spirit

Everything is sacred

Confronted by the alienation

The subjects and the citizens see the material religions

Through trauma and numb

Nothing is related

All the things of the earth and in the sky have energy to be exploited

Even themselves, mining their spirits into souls, sold

Into nothing is sacred not even their self

The ALie Nation, the alienation

The A Tribe Called Red “The Virus” ft. Saul Williams (Music Video) is being posted here FOR NO COMMERCIAL PURPOSES.

A Tribe Called Red “The Virus” LYRICS:
The people
The virus took on many shapes
The bear, the elk, the antelope, the elephant, the deer
The mineral, the iron, the copper, the coltan, and the rubber
The coffee, the cotton, the sugar
The people
The germ traveled faster than the bullet
They harvest the mountainside, protect the crops, herd the cattle
The people
The women and children were separated from the men
They divided us according to the regional affiliations of their minds
The violence of arrogance crawls into the air, nestles into the geospatial cortex
We are not a conquered people
Drum beats by regionI was wakened by my elder brother
The compound was on fire
Awakened by my elder brother
The compound was on fire
The compound was on fire
The compound was on fireThe missionaries never hid their perspective
Prospectors of land, they would rather see us disappear
Recycle their prayers
The people
This is my body which is given to you
The people
This is my blood
We are not a conquered peopleI was wakened by my elder brother
The compound was on fire
Awakened by my elder brother
The compound was on fire
The compound was on fire
The compound was on fire
The compound was on fire

We’d like to give a special thanks to MuchFACT, DAIS, Pirates Blend Records and MadRuk Entertainment for helping bring this project come to life! Produced for the Halluci Nation by DAIS & Mad Ruk Directed for the Halluci Nation by Tunkasila Writers: Bear Witness, Sol Guy & Ezra Miller for the Halluci Nation “Produced with the financial assistance of MuchFACT, a division of Bell Media Inc.” 


ATCR: Bear, DJ NDN 2oolman Halluci Nation Guardian: Mathew Creasian Guardian: Devery Jacobs Guardian: Narcy Guardian: Dre Ngozi Elder: Bears Mom Monique Mohica aka Mama Bear Refugees Saul Williams: Saul Williams Youth: Brooklyn (Big Rez’s daughter) Woman: Jiji Woman: Rupi Kaur Man: Budda ALie Nation: Hasan Hazime ALie Nation: Viktor Micic CREW Production Company: DAIS & Mad Ruk Entertainment Director: Sol Guy Director: Ezra Miller Producer: Mark Andrew Sirju Production: Manager Elliot Clancy-Osberg 1st Assistant: Director: Mario Scenna 2nd Assistant: Director: Jacob McIntyre Choreographer: Zack Winokur Director of Photography: Rafe Scobey-Thal 1st AC: Keenan Lynch 2nd AC/DMT: Jon Elliot Gaffer: Bryan Angarita Best Boy Electric: Chow Khanseng Mein 3rd Electric: Zach Duchin Key Grip: Spencer Johnston Best Boy Grip: Jordan Heighington Swing: Bradley Chowace Production Designer: Stephen Depko Props Master: Michael Tessier Hair & Make-Up: Gillian Berry Assistant HMU: Lisa Diane Rueckert Costume Designer: Caitlin Wright Assistant Costumes: Shirin Nadjafi Production Assistant: Nick Telesca Production Assistant: Matt Johnson Production Assistant: Janelle Bartley Production Assistant: Jaclyn McBride Craft Services: Rafaela D Scully Catering: iFeed Catering, Patrick Simaan Stills Photographer: Ruthie Titus

The A Tribe Called Red “Electric Pow Wow Drum” (music audio) is being posted here for NO COMMERCIAL PURPOSES.

Get A Tribe Called Red‘s new album “We Are The Halluci Nation” now: http://smarturl.it/ATCRHalluciNation

 ————–A Tribe Called Red————-

Website: http://atribecalledred.com/

Spotify: http://spoti.fi/28W5Znz

Twitter: http://twitter.com/atribecalledred

Instagram: http://instagram.com/atribecalledred

Facebook: http://facebook.com/atribecalledred

Merch: http://atribecalledred.com/shop-2/

Toni Jensen’s first story collection, From the Hilltop, was published through the Native Storiers Series at the University of Nebraska Press. Her stories have been published in journals such as Ecotone, Denver Quarterly, and Fiction International and have been anthologized in New Stories from the South, Best of the Southwest, and Best of the West: Stories from the Wide Side of the Missouri. She’s working on a collection-in-progress, called Cowboyistan, about fracking and the sex trafficking of Indigenous women. She teaches in the Programs in Creative Writing and Translation at the University of Arkansas. She is Métis.

Women in the Fracklands: On Water, Land, Bodies, and Standing Rock

“Who is responsible for and to this woman, her safety, her body, her memory?”

By Toni Jensen


On Magpie Road, the colors are in riot. Sharp blue sky over green and yellow tall grass that rises and falls like water in the North Dakota wind. Magpie Road holds no magpies, only robins and crows. A group of magpies is called a tiding, a gulp, a murder, a charm. When the men in the pickup make their first pass, there on the road, you are photographing the grass against sky, an ordinary bird blurring over a lone rock formation.

You do not photograph the men, but if you had, you might have titled it “Father and Son Go Hunting.” They wear camouflage, and their mouths move in animation or argument. They have their windows down, as you have left those in your own car down the road. It is warm for fall. It is grouse season and maybe partridge but not yet waterfowl. Despite how partridge are in the lexicon vis-à-vis pear trees and holiday singing, the birds actually make their homes on the ground. You know which birds are in season because you are from a rural place like this one, a place where guns and men and shooting seasons are part of the knowledge considered common.

Magpie Road lies in the middle of the 1,028,051 acres that make up the Little Missouri National Grasslands in western North Dakota. Magpie Road lies about 200 miles north and west of the Standing Rock Reservation, where thousands of Indigenous people and their allies have come together to protect the water, where sheriff’s men and pipeline men and National Guardsmen have been donning their riot gear, where those men still wait, where they still hold tight to their riot gear.

If a man wears his riot gear during prayer, will the sacred forsake him? If a man wears his riot gear to the holiday meal, how will he eat? If a man enters the bedroom in his riot gear, how will he make love to his wife? If a man wears his riot gear to tuck in his children, what will they dream?

Magpie Road is part of the Bakken, a shale formation lying deep under the birds, the men in the truck, you, this road. The shale has been forming over centuries through pressure, through layers of sediment becoming silt. The silt becomes clay, which becomes shale. All of this is because of water. The Bakken is known as a Marine shale—meaning, once, here, instead of endless grass, there lay endless water.

There, just off Magpie Road, robins sit on branches or peck the ground. A group of robins is called a riot. This seems wrong at every level except the taxonomic. Robins are ordinary, everyday, general-public sorts of birds. They seem the least likely of all birds to riot.

When the men in the truck make their second pass, there on the road, the partridge sit their nests, and the robins are not in formation. They are singular. No one riots but the colors. The truck revs and slows and revs and slows beside you. You have taken your last photograph of the grass, have moved yourself back to your car. The truck pulls itself close to your car, revving parallel.

You are keeping your face still, starting the car. You have mislabeled your imaginary photograph. These men, they are not father and son. At close range, you can see there is not enough distance in age. One does sport camouflage, but the other, a button-down shirt, complete with pipeline logo over the breast pocket. They are not bird hunters. The one in the button-down motions to you out the window with his handgun, and he smiles and says things that are incongruous with his smiling face.


The night before, in a nearby fracklands town, you stand, with your camera, in your hotel room doorway. You left Standing Rock for the Bakken, and the wood smoke from the water protector camps still clings to your hair. You perform your fracklands travel protocol, photographing the room—the bedspread and desk, the bathroom. In your year and a half of research for your novel, of driving and talking to women in the fracklands, you have performed this ritual, this protocol, dozens of times. You upload the photos onto a website that helps find women who are trafficked, who have gone missing.

The influx of men, of workers’ bodies, into frackland towns brings an overflow of crime. In the Bakken at the height of the oil and gas boom, violent crime, for example, increased by 125 percent. North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem called this increase in violent crime “disturbing,” and cited aggravated assaults, rapes, and human trafficking as “chief concerns.”

In each place, each frackland, off each road, you wait until checkout to upload the photos of the rooms. In the year and a half of driving and talking and driving and talking, if you’ve learned nothing else, you’ve learned to wait. Because it is very, very difficult to sleep in a hotel room once you learn a woman’s gone missing from it.


In the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, a floorhand shuts the door to his hotel room, puts his body between the door and a woman holding fresh towels. A floorhand is responsible for the overall maintenance of a rig. The woman says to you that he says to her, “I just want some company.” He says it over and over, into her ear, her hair, while he holds her down. She says it to you, your ear, your hair. She hates that word now, she says, company. A floorhand is responsible for the overall maintenance of a rig. A floorhand is responsible. But who is responsible for and to this woman, her safety, her body, her memory? Who is responsible to and for the language, the words that will not take their leave?

In a hotel in Texas, in the Wolfcamp Shale, you wake to the music of the trucks arriving and departing. This hotel is shiny tile and chrome bathrooms. It is a parking lot overfilled with trucks, with men from the fields who have an arrangement with management. An arrangement can mean flowers in a vase. An arrangement can mean these men pay for nothing, not even a room. In the morning, the parking lot is all trashcan. Beer bottles and used condoms and needles, the nighttime overflow.

In a hotel in Texas, in the Permian Basin, you report to the front desk re: the roughneck in the room above. You dial zero while he hits his wife/girlfriend/girl he has just bought. You dial zero while he throws her and picks her up and starts again. Or at least, one floor down, this is the soundtrack. Upon his departure, the man uses his fist on every door down your hall. The sound is loud but also is like knocking, like hello, like Anybody home? You wonder if he went first to the floor above but think not. Sound, like so many things, operates mostly through a downward trajectory.

At a hotel where South Dakota and Wyoming meet, you are sure you have driven out of the Bakken, past its edge, far enough. That highway that night belongs to the deer, and all forty or fifty of them stay roadside as you pass. You arrive at the hotel on caffeine and luck. The parking lot reveals the calculus of your mistake—truck after truck after truck, and a hotel clerk outside transacting with a young roughneck. Their posture suggests a shared cigarette or kiss or grope—something safetied through vice or romance or lust. You’d take it. But here the posture is all commerce, is about the positioning of the body close so money can change hands. You are in a place that’s all commerce, where bodies are commerce only.

When two more roughnecks stagger into your sight line, the hotel clerk and her partner are heading inside. She meets your eyes like a dare. The staggering man is drunk, the other holding up the first while he zips his fly. This terminology, fly, comes from England, where it first referred to the flap on a tent—as in, Tie down your tent fly against the high winds. As in, Don’t step on the partridge nest as you tie down your fly. As in, Stake down your tent fly against the winter snow, against the rubber bullets, against the sight of the riot gear.

The men sway across the lot, drunk-loud, and one says to the other, “Hey, look at that,” and you are the only that there. When the other replies, “No. I like the one in my room just fine,” you are sorry and grateful for the one in an unequal measure.

You cannot risk more roadside deer, and so despite all your wishes, you stay the night. A group of deer is called a herd; a group of roe deer, a bevy. There is a bevy of roe deer in the Red Forest near Chernobyl. The Bakken is not Chernobyl because this is America. The Bakken is not Chernobyl because the Bakken is not the site of an accident. The Bakken is not Chernobyl because the Bakken is no accident.


On Magpie Road, the ditch is shallow but full of tall grass. With one hand, the button-down man steers his truck closer to your car, and with the other, he waves the handgun. He continues talking, talking, talking. The waving gesture is casual, like the fist knocking down the hotel hallway—hello, anyone home, hello?

Once on a gravel road, your father taught you to drive your way out of a worse ditch. When the truck reverses, then swerves forward, as if to block you in, you take the ditch to the right, and when the truck slams to a stop and begins to reverse at a slant, taking the whole road, you cross the road to the far ditch, which is shallow, is like a small road made of grass, a road made for you, and you drive like that, on the green and yellow grass until the truck has made its turn, is behind you. By then you can see the highway, and the truck is beside you on the dirt road, and the truck turns right, sharp across your path. So you brake then veer left. You veer out, onto the highway, fast, in the opposite direction.

Left is the direction to Williston. So you drive to Williston, and no one follows.

At a big box store in Williston, a lot sign advertises overnight parking for RV’s. You have heard about this, how girls are traded here. You had been heading here to see it, and now you’re seeing it. Mostly, you’re not seeing. You are in Williston for thirty-eight minutes, and you don’t leave your car.

You spend those thirty-eight minutes driving around the question of violence, of proximity and approximation. How many close calls constitute a violence? How much brush can a body take before it becomes a violence, before it makes violence, or before it is remade—before it becomes something other than the body it was once, before it becomes a past-tense body?



Why were you there on the road?

Because Indigenous women are almost three times more likely than other women to be harassed, to be raped, to be sexually assaulted, to be called a that there.

Because when the governor of North Dakota made an order to block entrance into the camps at Standing Rock and then rescinded it, he said the order was intended toward “public safety.” Because in his letter to the Standing Rock Tribal Chairman, the Commander of the Army Corps of Engineers said he was “genuinely concerned for the safety and well-being of both the members of your Tribe and the general public located at these encampments.”

Because these statistics about trafficking, about assault, are knowledge considered common, but only if your body is not considered a general-public body.

Because you’re a Métis woman.

Because you and they and we misunderstand the danger at Standing Rock, the danger of this pipeline going in there or elsewhere or everywhere. Because you and they and we misunderstand the nature of danger altogether.

Because each person in Flint, Michigan, for the foreseeable future, is rationed four cases of bottled water per week. Because you can see this future upriver or down. Because everywhere is upriver or down.

Because your first memory of water is of your father working to drown your mother. Because you are four or five, and you need to use the bathroom, but instead, find yourself backing out the bathroom doorway and down the hall where you sit on the rust-colored shag. Because you wait for your father to quit trying to drown your mother. It seems crucial in the moment not to wet your pants. It seems crucial to hold the pieces of yourself together. If you make a mess on the carpet, if your father doesn’t kill your mother, then she will have to clean the carpet. It seems crucial not to cause any trouble. So you sit. You wait. You hold yourself together.

Because all roads used to lead back to that house, and it is a measure of time and hard work that they no longer do. Because all roads lead to the body and through it. Because too many of us have these stories and these roads. Because you carry theirs and they carry yours, and in this way, there is a measure of balance. Because you are still very good at holding yourself together. Because these times make necessary the causing of trouble, the naming of it.

Because to the north and west of Magpie Road, in the Cypress Hills of southern Saskatchewan, in 1873, when traders and wolf hunters killed more than twenty Assiniboine, mostly women and children in their homes, the Métis hid in those hills and lived. Because they lived, they carried the news. Because they lived, you carry the news. Because the massacre took place along the banks of a creek that is a tributary that feeds into the greater Missouri River.

Because these times and those times and all times are connected through land and bodies and water.

What were you wearing, there on the road?

Not riot gear.

Why didn’t you call the police?

See the water cannon on the bridge at Standing Rock. Listen to the sheriff’s department men call it a “water hose” like this makes the act better. See also: Birmingham, Alabama. See the dog cages constructed outside the Morton County Sheriff’s Department to hold “overflow.” See the overflow—the water protectors, Dakota and Lakota women and men in cages. See it all overflow. See the journalists arrested for trespass and worse. See the confiscated notebooks, the cameras they will never get back. See the woman struck by a tear gas canister. See how she will no longer be able to see through her right eye. See the children whose grandmothers and grandfathers are hospitalized with hypothermia. See the elder who has a heart attack. See how science newly quantifies what some of us have long known—how historical and cultural trauma is lived in our bodies, is passed down, generation to generation, how it lives in the body. See the fires that elders light to keep warm. See the water extinguish those fires. See the children seeing it.

Why were you by yourself?

On a road like this, you are never alone. There is grass, there is sky, there is wind. See also: the answer on historical and cultural trauma. See also: Cypress Hills. See also: the everyday robins who are in formation now. See also: their ordinary, general-public bodies in riot.

What did you do, after?

You drove north and west and sat in rooms with friends, old and new. You hiked and ate good meals and talked about art. You wrote things down. You began the work of stitching yourself back together. You did this on repeat until the parts hung together in some approximation of self. In Livingston, Montana, you made use of the car wash. You left the tall grass there.

Further questions should be directed toward: Proceed to the Route. Upon arrival, pick up loose, roadside threads. Use them to stitch shut the asking mouths.


At Standing Rock, the days pass in rhythm. You sort box upon box of donation blankets and clothes. You walk a group of children from one camp to another so they can attend school.

The night before the first walk, it has rained hard and the dirt of the road has shifted to mud. The dirt or mud road runs alongside a field, which sits alongside the Cannonball River, which sits alongside and empties itself into the Missouri.

Over the field, a hawk rides a thermal, practicing efficiency. There on the road, in the mud, three Herefords block progress. The cow snorts to her calves, which are large enough to be ambulatory, young enough for the cow still to proffer protection. She places her body between you, the threat, and her calves. She stamps her hooves into the mud, and they stick in a way you imagine unsatisfactory.

In that letter to the Standing Rock Tribal Chairman, the Army Corps Commander wrote that the people must disperse from camp, “due to the concern for public safety” and because “this land is leased to private persons for grazing and/or haying purposes.”

A cow holds public hooves whether stuck in mud or otherwise. A cow is not a concern to public safety. But what of these children? Are they considered public or private? If they don’t graze or hay, if they cannot be leased, what is their value, here on this road, in this, our America?

That day, there on the road, once the mother cow allows safe passage, you walk on. After school but before the return walk, the children and you gather with hundreds to listen to the tribal chairman speak of peace, to sit with elders to pray, to talk of peace.

On this day, it is still fall. Winter will arrive with the Army Corps’ words—no drilling under Lake Oahe, no pipeline under Lake Oahe. The oil company will counter, calling the pipeline “vital,” saying they “fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe.” The weather will counter with a blizzard. After the words and before the blizzard, there will be a celebration. A gathering of larks is called an exaltation. Even if it wasn’t so, you like to think of them there, like to think of their song, there with the people in the snow, there, alongside the river.

Back in the fall, you walk the children home from school, there on the road. You cross the highway, the bridge, upon your return. This bridge lies due south of the Backwater Bridge of the water cannons or hoses. But this bridge, this day, holds a better view. The canoes have arrived from the Northwest tribes, the Salish tribes. They gather below the bridge on the water and cars slow alongside you to honk and wave. Through their windows, people offer real smiles.

That night, under the stars, fire-lit, the women from the Salish tribes dance and sing. Though you’ve been to a hundred powwows, easily, you’ve never seen this dance, never heard this song. You stand with your own arms resting on the shoulders of the school children, and the dancers, these women, move their arms in motions that do more than mimic water, that conjure it. Their voices are calm and strong, and they move through the gathering like quiet, like water, like something that will hold, something you can keep, even if only for this moment.

Toni Jensen’s Women in the Fracklands source here: https://catapult.co/stories/women-in-the-fracklands-on-water-land-bodies-and-standing-rock

Find More by Toni Jensen Here: https://www.tonijensen.com


Natalie Diaz is a (Girl Power Academy) featured Poet recommendation:

Natalie Diaz (Poet)

Pima and Mojave, and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian community, Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California. She earned her BA from Old Dominion University, where she received a full athletic scholarship and majored in English and Women’s Studies. She went on to play basketball professionally in Europe and Asia before returning to Old Dominion to earn an MFA in Creative Writing.

Diaz’ view both embraces and subverts mythology, simultaneously conveying Mojave, Spanish, and American folklore.

Diaz’s work was chosen by Natasha Trethewey to appear in Best New Poets 2007 and has been published in such journals as Prairie Schooner and Iowa Review. Her many awards include the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, the Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry from Bread Loaf, the Narrative Poetry Prize, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. Diaz currently directs a language revitalization program, where she works with the last four fluent speakers Mojave speakers. The project was highlighted, along with her book, on the “PBS News Hour.”


(written by Natalie Diaz)

The Colorado River
is the most endangered river in the United Statesalso, it is a part of my body.

I carry a river. It is who I am: Aha Makav.

This is not metaphor.

When a Mojave says, Inyech Aha Makavch ithuum, we are saying our name. We are telling a story of our existence. The river runs through the middle of my body.

So far, I have said the word river in every stanza. I don’t want to waste water. I must preserve the river in my body.

In future stanzas, I will try to be more conservative.


The Spanish called us, Mojave. Colorado, the name they gave our river because it was silt-red-thick.

Natives have been called red forever. I have never met a red native, not even on my reservation, not even at the National Museum of the American Indian, not even at the largest powwow in Parker, Arizona.

I live in the desert along a dammed blue river. The only red people I’ve seen are white tourists sunburned after being out on the water too long.


Aha Makav is the true name of our people, given to us by our Creator who loosed the river from the earth and built it, into our living bodies.

Translated into English, Aha Makav means the river runs through the middle of our body, the same way it runs through the middle of our land.

This is a poor translation, like all translations.

In American minds, the logic of this image will lend itself to surrealism or magical realism—

Americans prefer a magical red Indian, or a shaman, or a fake Indian in a red dress, over a real native. Even a real native carrying the dangerous and heavy blues of a river in her body. 

What threatens white people is often dismissed as myth.

I have never been true in America. America is my myth.


Derrida says, Every text remains in mourning until it is translated.

When Mojaves say the word for tears, we return to our word for river, as if our river were flowing from our eyes. Agreat weeping, is how you might translate it. Or, a river of grief.

But who is this translation for? And will they come to my language’s four-night funeral to grieve what has beenlost in my efforts at translation? When they have drunk dry my river will they join the mourning procession across our bleached desert?

The word for drought is different across many languages and lands.

The ache of thirst, though, translates to all bodies along the same paths—the tongue and the throat. No matter what language you speak, no matter the color of your skin.


We carry the river, its body of water, in our body.

I do not mean to imply a visual relationship. Such as: a native woman on her knees holding a box of Land O’Lakes butter whose label has a picture of a native woman on her knees holding a box of Land O’Lakes butter whose label has a picture of a native woman on her knees . . .

We carry the river, its body of water, in our body. I do not mean to invoke the Droste effect.

I mean river as a verb. A happening. It is moving within me right now.


This is not juxtaposition. Body and water are not two unlike things—they are more than close together or side by side. They are samebody, being, energy, prayer, current, motion, medicine.

This knowing comes from acknowledging the human body has more than six senses. The body is beyond six senses. Is sensual. Is always an ecstatic state of energy, is always on the verge of praying, or entering any river of movement.

Energy is a moving like a river moving my moving body.


In Mojave thinking, body and land are the same. The words are separated only by letters: iimat for body, amat for land. In conversation, we often use a shortened form for each: mat-. Unless you know the context of a conversation, you might not know if we are speaking about our body or our land. You might not know which has been injured, which is remembering, which is alive, which was dreamed, which needs care, which has vanished.

If I say, My river is disappearing, do I also mean, My people are disappearing?


How can I translate—not in words but in belief—that a river is a body, as alive as you or I, that there can be no life without it?


John Berger wrote true translation is not a binary affair between two languages but a triangular affair. The third point of the triangle being what lay behind the words of the original text before it was written. True translation demands a return to the pre-verbal.

Between the English translation I offered, and the urging I felt to first type Aha Makav in the lines above, is not the point where this story ends or begins.

We must go to the place before those two pointswe must go to the third place that is the river.

We must go to the point of the lance our creator stabbed into the earth, and the first river bursting from that clay body into mine. We must submerge beneath those once warm red waters now channeled-blue and cool, the current’s endless yards of emerald silk wrapping the body and moving it, swift enough to take life or give it.

We must go until we smell the black-root-wet anchoring the river’s mud banks.


What is this third point, this place beyond the surface, if not the deep-cut and crooked bone-bed where the Colorado River runs—like a one thousand four hundred and fifty mile thirst—into and through a body?

Berger called it the pre-verbal. Pre-verbal as in the body when the body was more than body. Before it could name itself body and be limited to the space body indicated.

Pre-verbal is the place where the body was yet a green-blue energy greening, greened, and bluing the stone, the floodwaters, the razorback fish, the beetle, and the cottonwoods’ and willows’ shaded shadows.

Pre-verbal was when the body was more than a body and possible.

One of its possibilities was to hold a river within it.


A river is a body of water. It has a foot, an elbow, a mouth. It runs. It lies in a bed. It can make you good. It remembers everything.


America is a land of bad math and science: the Right believes Rapture will save them from the violence they are delivering upon the earth and water; the Left believes technology, the same technology wrecking the earth and water, will save them from the wreckage or help them build a new world on Mars.


If I was created to hold the Colorado River, to carry its rushing inside me, how can I say who I am if the river is gone?

What does Aha Makav mean if the river is emptied to the skeleton of its fish and the miniature sand dunes of its dry silten beds?

If the river is a ghost, am I?

Unsoothable thirst is one type of haunting.


A phrase popular or more known to non-natives during the Standing Rock encampment was, Water is the first medicine. It is true.

Where I come from we cleanse ourselves in the river. Not like a bath with soap. I mean: the water makes us strongand able to move forward into what is set before us to do with good energy.

We cannot live good, we cannot live at all, without water.

If we poison and use up our water, how will we cleanse ourselves of these sins?


To thirst and to drink is how one knows they are alive, and grateful.

To thirst and then not drink is . . .


If your builder could place a small red bird in your chest to beat as your heart, is it so hard for you to picture the blue river hurtling inside the slow muscled curves of my long body? Is it too difficult to believe it is as sacred as a breath or a star or a sidewinder or your own mother or your lover?

If I could convince you, would our brown bodies and our blue rivers be more loved and less ruined?

The Whanganui River in New Zealand now has the same legal rights of a human being. In India, the Ganges and Yamuna rivers now have the same legal status of a human being. Slovenia’s constitution now declares access to clean drinking water to be a national human right. While in the US, we are tear-gassing and rubber-bulleting and kenneling natives who are trying to protect their water from pollution and contamination at Standing Rock in North Dakota. We have yet to discover what the effects of lead-contaminated water will be on the children of Flint, Michigan, who have been drinking it for years.


We think of our bodies as being all that we are: I am my body. This thinking helps us disrespect water, air, land, one another. But water is not external from our body, our self.

My Elder says: Cut off your ear, and you will live. Cut off your hand, you will live. Cut off your leg, you can still live. Cut off our water: we will not live more than a week.

The water we drink, like the air we breathe, is not a part of our body but is our body. What we do to one—to the body, to the water—we do to the other.


Toni Morrison writes, All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was. Back to the body of earth, of flesh, back to the mouth, the throat, back to the womb, back to the heart, to its blood, back to our grief, back back back to when we were more than we have lately become.

Will we soon remember from where we’ve come? The water.

And once remembered, will we return to that first water, and in doing so return to ourselves, to each other, better and cleaner?

Do you think the water will forget what we have done, what we continue to do?

—Natalie Diaz (Natalie Diaz is a Mojave and Pima language activist. She grew up at Fort Mojave along the Colorado River.)

Read more poetry by and view photographs of “Women of Standing Rock” in the Orion Magazine here: https://orionmagazine.org/article/women-standing-rock/


Joan Henry is a (Girl Power Academy) featured Earth Song Carrier recommendation:

Joan Henry, Song Carrier

My folks have told me I have been singing my whole life. From the time I was very small, no matter what I was doing or feeling, I sang it out. That’s what they tell me. I can remember jumping up in a first grade classroom and singing out because I saw my mother out in the hallway, looking in. So no matter if I was happy or sad, whatever I was doing I sang it out. I remember hearing songs in the leaves of the trees, and singing along or singing back to them as I hid with my bow waiting to pounce on unsuspecting people below.

My grandmother recognized me right away, and she said I would be a singer. As a teen I remember elders coming and looking for me, as if they were expecting me. They would say: “that one, the little one with the voice”. It seemed like I never really had friends my own age because I was always hanging out with the adults. Folks would sing songs to me, and then ask me to sing them back to them, and that’s how I learned. To me, I was just hanging out with these elders, and it was awhile before I realized they were teaching me all these songs. We just sang together. When I think about it, that’s the heart of oral tradition, because you can’t communicate pitch, tone, sound, timbre, feeling, intention on flat paper.

Through song they were teaching me moments, experiences, an environment that is spherical, vibrational— not static. They were waking up my original memory, the knowledge in my cells of experiencing Mother Earth all around us, of experiencing my relationship with everything that is alive. And make no mistake: everything is alive…

Where I’ve come to is the place of carrying these songs – all songs, no matter where they come from – in a good way, so that they can be sung whenever they are needed. That’s what Kanogisgi or “Song Carrier” means. It also makes you responsible to wherever a song is from and means you have to be available when that song needs to be sung. A lot of elders put a lot of time and energy into me; I have to honor that. So I’d say that I’ve come to a place now of focusing on moving the songs out into the world, and listening for the ones that  are emerging at this time, in order to bring them forth, eh? –because the Songs thread the people together, to one another and to the Earth. Songs make a living web. (~Joan Henry)


The Joan Henry “Alligator Dance” (music dance video documentary) is being posted here for NO COMMERCIAL PURPOSES.

Joan Henry, at her Blue Deer Center Concert, teaches the Alligator Dance to attendees. The Alligator Dance, as Joan explains, teaches the power of relationship, and is an example of native american call-and-response social dancing.


The Joan Henry “Heart and Mind” (music video documentary) is being posted here for NO COMMERCIAL PURPOSES.

Ms. Henry is both hahesh’kah (lead drummer) and dekanogisgi (traditional song-carrier), and a Native Women’s Traditional dancer. Encouraged by her elders, she founded acclaimed traditional drum group Mothers of Nations Singers & Dancers (later known as Sky Woman Singers) — the first women’s drum ever invited to the National Native American Veterans Powwow in Washington DC and the first to preside at Indigenous Peoples’ Day Opening Ceremonies for the United Nations — where Ms. Henry has since presented on healing & spirituality among First Nations women and offered opening prayers & song for the International Day of Peace and the World Indigenous Forum. Here she tell a wonderful story about coyote.

Please visit the Girl Power Academy post featuring:

Our Children’s Trust, Environmental Law, and Coyote Songs

“Women’s Honoring Song” by Joan Henry

The Joan Henry “Women’s Honoring Song” (live video) is being posted here for NO COMMERCIAL PURPOSES.

http://earthsinger.net/ “Anagehya- women of all the Nations – you are the strength, you are the force, you are the healing of the Nations.” – Performed in concert at the Blue Deer Center (http://www.bluedeer.org/ ) with remarks on the nature of traditional songs. http://www.earthsinger.net

Standoff at Standing Rock: Even Attack Dogs Can’t Stop the Native American Resistance & a Top story (Update) Success: Pipeline Construction Halts: Dec 4, 2016

Stand with Standing Rock.  Go to: http://us10.campaign-archive1.com/?u=a9af8670090f134f6168ccfdc&id=9712ff076c&e=3fe4bb48db

Army Halts Construction of Dakota Access Pipeline
In a big win for the Standing Rock tribe, the Corps of Engineers says other routes should be explored.

Report from Mother Jones written by MONIKA BAUERLEIN

DEC. 4, 2016

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will not grant a permit for the controversial Dakota Access pipeline to cross under Lake Oahu in South Dakota, a decision that could halt construction of the last link of the controversial pipeline that has been the subject of protests for the better part of this year. The water protectors, as they refer to themselves, have set up camps in the path of the pipeline in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which opposes the project. This weekend, veterans from around the country converged on the region to show their support.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe issued a statement commending “the courage that it took for Barack Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and do the right thing.” Tribal chairman David Archambault also expressed hope that the incoming Trump administration would “respect this decision.”

In its statement, the Army said it believes the pipeline route should be subject to a full environmental impact statement “with full public input and analysis.” That process typically takes multiple months, often years.

(Mother Jones’ Wes Enzinna is currently enroute to the area and will continue covering this developing story.)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Statement:

By U.S. Army

December 4, 2016
Army POC: Moira Kelley (703) 614-3992, moira.l.kelley.civ@mail.mil

The Department of the Army will not approve an easement that would allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota, the Army’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Works announced today.
Jo-Ellen Darcy said she based her decision on a need to explore alternate routes for the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing. Her office had announced on November 14, 2016 that it was delaying the decision on the easement to allow for discussions with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation lies 0.5 miles south of the proposed crossing. Tribal officials have expressed repeated concerns over the risk that a pipeline rupture or spill could pose to its water supply and treaty rights.
“Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do,” Darcy said. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”
Darcy said that the consideration of alternative routes would be best accomplished through an Environmental Impact Statement with full public input and analysis.
The Dakota Access Pipeline is an approximately 1,172 mile pipeline that would connect the Bakken and Three Forks oil production areas in North Dakota to an existing crude oil terminal near Pakota, Illinois. The pipeline is 30 inches in diameter and is projected to transport approximately 470,000 barrels of oil per day, with a capacity as high as 570,000 barrels. The current proposed pipeline route would cross Lake Oahe, an Army Corps of Engineers project on the Missouri River.

Cannon Ball, N.D.— The department of the Army will not approve an easement that will allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe.

The following statement was released by Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II. :

“Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not be granting the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. Instead, the Corps will be undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternative routes. We wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost gratitude the courage it took on the part of President Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and to do the right thing.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all of Indian Country will be forever grateful to the Obama Administration for this historic decision.

We want to thank everyone who played a role in advocating for this cause. We thank the tribal youth who initiated this movement. We thank the millions of people around the globe who expressed support for our cause. We thank the thousands of people who came to the camps to support us, and the tens of thousands who donated time, talent, and money to our efforts to stand against this pipeline in the name of protecting our water. We especially thank all of the other tribal nations and jurisdictions who stood in solidarity with us, and we stand ready to stand with you if and when your people are in need.

Throughout this effort I have stressed the importance of acting at all times in a peaceful and prayerful manner – and that is how we will respond to this decision. With this decision we look forward to being able to return home and spend the winter with our families and loved ones, many of whom have sacrificed as well. We look forward to celebrating in wopila, in thanks, in the coming days.

We hope that Kelcey Warren, Governor Dalrymple, and the incoming Trump administration respect this decision and understand the complex process that led us to this point. When it comes to infrastructure development in Indian Country and with respect to treaty lands, we must strive to work together to reach decisions that reflect the multifaceted considerations of tribes.

Treaties are paramount law and must be respected, and we welcome dialogue on how to continue to honor that moving forward. We are not opposed to energy independence, economic development, or national security concerns but we must ensure that these decisions are made with the considerations of our Indigenous peoples.

To our local law enforcement, I hope that we can work together to heal our relationship as we all work to protect the lives and safety of our people. I recognize the extreme stress that the situation caused and look forward to a future that reflects more mutual understanding and respect.

Again, we are deeply appreciative that the Obama Administration took the time and effort to genuinely consider the broad spectrum of tribal concerns. In a system that has continuously been stacked against us from every angle, it took tremendous courage to take a new approach to our nation-to-nation relationship, and we will be forever grateful.

(Learn more about the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe at standwithstandingrock.net. For incremental updates please follow our Facebook page at Standing Rock Sioux Tribe or follow us on Twitter @standingrockst.)


standingrock_waterStandoff at Standing Rock: Even Attack Dogs Can’t Stop the Native American Resistance
SEPTEMBER 08, 2016
By Amy Goodman & Denis Moynihan

The Missouri River, the longest river in North America, has for thousands of years provided the water necessary for life to the region’s original inhabitants. To this day, millions of people rely on the Missouri for clean drinking water. Now, a petroleum pipeline, called the Dakota Access Pipeline, is being built, threatening the river. A movement has grown to block the pipeline, led by Native American tribes that have lived along the banks of the Missouri from time immemorial. Members of the Dakota and Lakota nations from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation established a camp at the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball rivers, about 50 miles south of Bismarck, North Dakota. They declare themselves “protectors, not protesters.” Last Saturday, as they attempted to face down massive bulldozers on their ancient burial sites, the pipeline security guards attacked the mostly Native American protectors with dogs and pepper spray as they resisted the $3.8 billion pipeline’s construction, fighting for clean water, protection of sacred ground and an end to our fossil-fuel economy.

dakota-access-pipeline-route-map-sacred-stone-campStanding Rock Sioux set up the first resistance encampment in April, calling it Sacred Stone. Now there are four camps with more than 1,000 people, mostly from Native American tribes in the U.S. and Canada. “Water is Life” is the mantra of this nonviolent struggle against the pipeline that is being built to carry crude oil from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota to Illinois.

Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day. Together with Laura Gottesdiener and John Hamilton of “Democracy Now!,” we spent the morning filming interviews. That afternoon, delegations walked down the road to plant their tribal flags in the path of the proposed pipeline. Many were shocked to see large bulldozers actively carving up the land on Labor Day weekend.

14138842_10105656477216123_7554000515400216916_oHundreds of people, mostly Native Americans, lined the route, yelling for the destruction to stop. A group of women began shaking the ranch fencing, and without much effort it fell over. The land defenders began pouring through. Several young men from the camp arrived on horseback.

The bulldozers retreated, but the security guards attempted to repel the land defenders, unleashing at least half a dozen vicious dogs, who bit both people and horses. One dog had blood dripping from its mouth and nose. Undeterred, the dog’s handler continued to push the dog into the crowd. The guards pepper-sprayed the protesters, punched and tackled them. Vicious dogs like mastiffs have been used to attack indigenous peoples in the Americas since the time of Christopher Columbus and the Spanish conquistadors who followed him. In the end, the violent Dakota Access guards were forced back.

13090843_1544189122544651_7256779_o-1038x576This section of the pipeline path contained archeological sites, including Lakota/Dakota burial grounds. The tribe had supplied the locations of the sites in a court filing just the day before, seeking a temporary halt to construction to fully investigate them. With those locations in hand, the Dakota Access Pipeline crew literally plowed ahead. Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman David Archambault told us on the “Democracy Now!” news hour: “They were using the dogs as a deadly weapon. … They knew something was going to happen when they leapfrogged over 15 miles of undisturbed land to destroy our sacred sites … they were prepared. They hired a company that had guard dogs, and then they came in, and then they waited. And it was —by the time we saw what was going on, it was too late. Everything was destroyed. They desecrated our ancestral gravesites. They just destroyed prayer sites.”

At the camp, we interviewed Winona LaDuke, an Ojibwe leader from the White Earth Nation in northern Minnesota. She recently led a campaign that succeeded in blocking another pipeline that threatened the White Earth’s territory. She commented on North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s support of suppression of the Standing Rock protests: “You are not George Wallace, and this is not Alabama. This is 2016, and you don’t get to treat Indians like you have for those last hundred years. We’re done.”

lakota-keystone-pipelineThe battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline is being waged as a renewed assertion of indigenous rights and sovereignty, as a fight to protect clean water, but, most importantly, as part of the global struggle to combat climate change and break from dependence on fossil fuels. At the Sacred Stone, Red Warrior and other camps at the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball rivers, the protectors are there to stay, and their numbers are growing daily.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us:



The John Trudell “We Are Power” (spoken word) is being posted here in Loving Memory of John Trudell and in support of the Dakota and Lakota nations from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and for CLEAN WATER and for NO COMMERCIAL PURPOSES.


The Peaceful Burns Paiute Tribe Protests the Militant Mormons Taking Over Their Lands

Burns Paiute Tribe: Militants need to get off ‘our land’

by Ian K. Kullgren


“They just need to get the hell out of here,” said Jarvis Kennedy, a member of the tribal council. “They didn’t ask anybody, we don’t want them here…our little kids are sitting at home when they should be in school.”

The group of 20 or so militants, led by right-wing activists Ammon Bundy and his two brothers, seized the refuge headquarters on Saturday.

The Paiute Tribe once occupied a large swath of land that includes the Malheur National Wildlife refuge — archaeological evidence dates back 6,000 years — but they were forced out in the late 1870s. Before settlers arrived, the tribe used it as a wintering ground, said Charlotte Rodrique, the tribal chair.

“We as a tribe view that this is still our land no matter who’s living on it,” Rodrique said.

In 1868, the tribe signed a treaty with the federal government that requires the government to protect natives’ safety. According to the tribe, the federal government promised to prosecute “any crime or injury perpetrated by any white man upon the Indians.”

Rodrique said the tribe never ceded its rights to the land. It works with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to preserve archaeological sites.

“We feel strongly because we have had a good working relationship with the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge,” she said. “We view them as a protector of our cultural rights in that area.”

About 200 people live in the Burns Paiute Reservation, located 30 miles from the refuge headquarters. The tribe owns 11,000 acres of land nationwide, Rodrique said.

The tribal council met with archaeologists at the refuge Tuesday. Tribal leaders said they’re worried the militants could damage archaeological sites.

Although the tribe says it’s pleased with the federal government’s response so far, some wondered aloud whether nonwhite militants would be given such passive treatment.

“I wonder if it was bunch of natives that went out there and overtook that, or any federal land,” Kennedy said. “Would they let us come into town and get supplies and re-up?”

— Ian K. Kullgren (ikullgren@oregonian.com)

US | Wed Jan 6, 2016 3:21pm ESTRelated: U.S.

Oregon native tribe uneasy with armed standoff over land rights


The reservation is not far from the wildlife refuge, and the tribe has been living in the arid western Oregon mountains since long before Europeans arrived in North America.

“There was never an agreement that we were giving up this land,” Rodrique said. “We were dragged out of here.”

The tribe’s approach has typically been less provocative than the protesters who brought guns to further their anti-government cause.

“I’m, like, hold on a minute, if you want to get technical about it … the land belongs to the Paiute here,” said Selena Sam, a member of the tribe’s council who works as a waitress at a local diner.

At an emotional news conference in Burns on Wednesday, tribal leaders denounced the occupiers’ claims of wanting to help local residents, and said the protesters’ ignorance of the region’s real history was offensive.

Native Americans React To Oregon Armed Occupation: Burns Paiute Tribe Says,

‘We Were Here First’




As armed ranchers continued to occupy federal land in eastern Oregon for a fifth consecutive day, the leader of the area’s Native American tribal council spoke out in anger and frustration. “We were here first,” Charlotte Rodrique, chairwoman of the federal recognized Burns Paiute Tribe, said at a press conference Wednesday.

The protesters want the government to relinquish the federal land to local ranchers, loggers and miners. But the area in question, the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, is actually native Paiute land that was ceded to white settlers over a hundred years ago. And while the native people can relate to the protesters’ dispute, they don’t appreciate their guns and they want to make clear whose land it really is.
“Armed protesters don’t belong here,” Rodrique said at the press conference in the sleepy town of Burns, saying they were “desecrating one of our sacred sites.”

Armed anti-government protesters took over the headquarters building at the federal wildlife preserve Saturday, accusing federal officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their property. The gun-toting protesters, led by Ammon Bundy, are also demonstrating in support of two local ranchers who were charged with arson after starting a prescribed fire on their private property that spread onto public land. The group said they have no intentions of vacating the premises, despite requests from the Burns Paiute Tribe leaders.