Indigenous leadership

This issue of The MOON celebrates contemporary Indigenous leaders—men and women who are working within their own communities and reaching out to us all to right past wrongs and heal continuing trauma being inflicted on Mother Earth and all our relations. Although Indigenous leaders have always been with us, what strikes me about our current moment in history is that non-Natives at last seem willing to listen, and follow, the leadership being proffered. I believe that’s because of the moral authority—the spiritual wisdom—with which these leaders speak.

We have three compelling interviews this month: the first with Mohawk elder, midwife, and environmental justice advocate Katsi Cook; the second with Apsaalooke hip-hop artist and fancy dancer Christian Parrish Takes the Gun—better known as Supaman; and the third with Umatilla world champion jingle dancer and Powwow Yoga creator Acosia Red Elk. Because Supaman and Red Elk were in Washington for a week of performances in February, I got the chance to videotape our interviews—enabling viewers to see and sense the beauty and intention emanating from these two young leaders. I hope to be able to share more video interviews in the future.

In Essays/Memoirs, we share The Fourth Way: An Indigenous strategy for building sustainable and harmonious prosperity in the Americas and beyond, presented by Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr. and Sun Dance Chief Rueben George. Bill Vernon shares a memoir, On a symbol of time, about his retirement-age canoe trip down a childhood river.

In Movies You Might’ve Missed, we share United by Water, a new release from Colville filmmaker Derrick LaMere, whose film chronicles the flooding and destruction of the homelands and waterways of the five tribes of the Upper Columbia River by the installation of the Grand Coulee Dam. Seventy-six years after the tribes’ last Salmon Ceremony before the flooding of Kettle Falls, the tribes returned to the river in traditional canoes they carved from cedar logs that were a gift of the Quinault Indian Nation.

Another Movie You Might’ve Missed—but shouldn’t—is Return of the River, which portrays the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe’s 100-year campaign to free the Elwha River from two dams that had flooded their territory and blocked the legendary salmon runs. Perhaps most inspiring, their advocacy at last won-over even longstanding dam proponents.

This issue also shares a powerful short story, Lesson One, by Laura Golden; poems inspired by Hopi dancers and a Navajo medicine man; a beautiful piece by Lyla June Johnston (to come); and, as always, MOON Shine.

Dearest readers, we hope you appreciate and enjoy the ideas, experiences, stories, poetry, and movies you find in these “pages.” If you do, please consider making a contribution to The MOON via our secure PayPal link. If you can afford to make your contribution monthly, please visit our Patreon page, where you can become a continuing supporter of The MOON for as little as $5/month. It’s readers and writers like YOU who keep The MOON shining. Thank you!

Photo: courtesy of Supaman.

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