I just finished "Potawatomi Tracks" ... please, never stop writing
poetry! You have a fantastic gift. Here is what I wrote to my friends:
As long as we keep sending soldiers out into the world to fight
and die and suffer on our behalf we need poets and story tellers like
Larry Mitchell to tell us the hard stories about what our actions are
doing in the world. That is the other job of a good poet. "The Ballad
of Vietnam" is such a poem and Larry Mitchell is such a poet.
The local newspaper did an article in the sunday edition entitled
"faces of crime". What it amounted to was a hatchet job on an Indian
man that is deceased. It was splashed across the front page with
pictures. The story was about the man that was arrested the most in
shawnee county with over 120 arrests. Amazingly, two of the top three
were Indians. The story stated only one arrest resulted in prison time.
So evidently the crimes were misdemeanors. In a city full of crime, the
paper chose to highlight this story. Topeka is one of the most violent
cities of its size in the country.
I studied to be a journalist. I decided against a career in it.
There is no such thing as a free press. All that you see, hear and read
about is what someone wants you to. Fair coverage...yeah right. Will
the paper write an article about something good that an Indian did?
Highly unlikely. Will the newspaper criticize the government or big
business. No way, the media is controlled by them.
The man in the article is gone. But not forgotten. The
Capital-Journal made sure of that. There is good in all men. The
article didnt write anything good about this man. Or about any of the
circumstances that lead the man to be arrested so many times. The slant
of the story was to make this man look bad. There was no room to treat
him as a human being. I suppose if we read stories like this one, we
will forget about the rest of the crime occurring in our state capitol.
It's easy to pick on the little guy. No one is willing to go after
The story is racist. Indians are more than criminals. We contribute
much to this state. Any progress we make is always taken away by
someone with racist attitudes. Let's keep the little injun in his
place. We as people have endured much worse than this. Let the slanted
stories against Indians continue. We are used to them. We will continue
as a people. No one can take away our dignity unless we allow them to.
The Prairie Band Potawatomi are like other nationalities in this country, we have educated people with PHD's and Master's degrees, authors, artists, veterans that served this country with honor, and traditional people that are keeping the culture and language alive. A cross section of our nation that can be written about!
But the Topeka Capital Journal writes an article about two of our tribal members that were among the top five most arrested people in Shawnee County, Kansas...The Face of Crime It is beyond me why a paper would even bother to print that, much less put it on the front page! I mean, the guy that was arrested the most in Shawnee County is now dead, so why drag his name through the mud? You got to think about that, our soldiers are getting killed in Iraq every day and that makes the inside pages of the paper! What is of more importance here?
he was caught alone out on the prairies/he was left for dead by long-time enemies/he lay on the prairies...dreams came.../a white buffalo roamed by/the wolves came close/under a strawberry moon/a dream of death came and went!
on the morning prairie/he saw her she was with an ojibwe war-party/she came toward him wearing a calico dress/and had long black hair flowing down to her waist/she had eyes like the night/she was as sweet as the maple sugar back home/she said to her brother-warriors/"i can save him; i will take him with us back to the north."
the north country came into view like a dream/the great lakes were sky-blue/the streams were full of fish/the endless forest spread as far as the eye could see/she brought him back from the land of ghosts/she healed his wounds and made his life complete/and always told him he had the prettiest brown eyes she had ever seen!
The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation
is shut down today 'cos it is "American Indian Day." It is cool to have
an American Indian day! I look around this country and see so much
progress...there is an "American Indian Day" and I read this on Indianz
Daily Siren telling Indians to get out of town has now stopped!
and we don't see those "No Indians or Dogs allowed" signs on the doors
of bars in South Dakota anymore either, nor do we see any of those
protests at the boatlandings in Wisconsin...where they had signs that
said "Save a Walleye, Spear an Indian" ! Yea, there is plenty of
progress being made out there!
The first newsletter of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Unit 410 Mayetta, Ks just came out! This Auxiliary supports the Veteran's of Wa-Ta-Se Post 410 on the Prairie Band Potawatomi reservation!
I was the first featured veteran in their newsletter! On page two it covered the Book Review of my soon hard to find book! I am grateful to the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary: Micki, Brenda, Kitty, Judy, Lola, Gladys, and Meeks, for including me in their first issue!