One of Those Rainy, Dark, Winter Days

It’s five p.m.. My eyes are blurry from the computer screen. I’ve been revising my musical-to-be, cataloguing a song list, considering a drastic, mythical net in the rewrite, and contemplating police brutality. Like many other natives I’ve been witness to massive injustice when it comes to natives and the police.¬†Was harassed in Albuquerque by a policeman who stopped natives just because he hated natives. And recently my step-granddaughter was fleeing her children’s father as a policeman watched. He saw the children’s father try to run her over with his car. When she ran to the policeman, he laughed, said, “boys will be boys” (literally) and let him go. She even had a court order because of domestic violence. She’s native and black. The ex is white. This is the legacy of an America that stole a country by violence. There is also an America of diverse vitality. How do we grow one and not the other?

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  1. How indeed? Watching events unfold down South brings such a mix of horror/revulsion/rage, that this is happening; but on the other hand, such a sense of awe witnessing the dignity and courage with which people are stepping up to protest. It’s a watershed moment – I pray this is a watershed moment that turns the flow toward that great dream of diversity and peace.

  2. Your story leaves me feeling sick. Here is another side. I wrote it for another venue but you might find it relavent to yours—–No matter what your race or ethnicity is, think very seriously about this true story I am about to tell you. It is one square of the fabric that makes up Ferguson, Mo. and etc and some communities distrust of law enforcement.
    One day about 10 years ago while I was shopping at a local supermarket, a black woman and her little girl were also shopping in the same aisle. We were on opposite sides of the aisle. when the little girl who appeared to be 4 or 5 years old took hold of her mom’s cart and started to move it. On the way along, she bumped my cart – just barely touched it. Before I could back my cart up, the mother flew across the aisle, grabbed her daughter by the arm and yelled at her to get away from me, that I was going to call the cops for her bumping my cart. Told her she better stay away from me or “that white woman will call the cops on you and they’ll come and take you away ” !!!
    I went over to the little girl and on the way over I gave her mom “that look”, right in her eye, then I knelt down in front of the little girl and said “child, you didn’t do anything wrong, and I am not going to call the police on you. Don’t be afraid of me and don’t be afraid of the police, their job is to help people not hurt little girls. I will never hurt you for any reason”
    Then I stood up and got as close to that mother as I could, told her in as strong a way as I knew how without screaming at her and upsetting her little girl again, that HOW DARE YOU USE ME TO SCARE YOUR DAUGHTER BY TELLING HER I AM GOING TO CALL THE COPS ON HER FOR BUMPING MY CART. HOW DARE YOU MAKE HER AFRAID OF WHITE PEOPLE AND AFRAID OF THE POLICE BY TELLING HER LIES ABOUT ME AND THE POLICE. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF!!!
    I had a few more things to say but at that point she grabbed her daughter again, left her cart there and hurried out of the store. I was shaking mad.
    So during “Ferguson”, When all the citizens and the news people start talking about how they can’t trust the cops, they are afraid of the cops, my mind always goes back to that mom in the store that day and I always wonder how many more parents like that are there out there like her doing the same thing to their kids.
    I get so frustrated and so heartsick every time I think about that little girl… and her mother can’t know from looking at the color of my skin that I am married to an indian man and my half sister from another mother has a black grandparent..

  3. One time back in Tucson while speaking to a small group Amma Sri Karunamayi, karunamayi.org, said that in this Kali Yuga age (often referred to as the age of lies) that one day without speaking lies is a Golden Age. Your words bring the Golden Age to our world during these darkest times.

  4. Dear Ms. Harjo – I love your writing and you gave a wonderful lecture at my college last fall. I was amazed at the breadth of your experiences. Maybe the insights that you have into this situation will help your community to find a solution to this awful problem. Here is an article from NPR about some solutions in other minority communities.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/12/05/368545491/civil-rights-attorney-on-how-she-built-trust-with-police

    I wish you well with helping your community to thrive and thank you for sharing their struggles with us. I wouldn’t have known about this issue without reading your blog, so for me, you are giving a voice to your people. Thank you.

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