THOUGHTS ON THURSDAY – HUMILITY

humble

Those of you who regularly follow this column know that I use today to introduce the woman that I am going to write about in depth on Friday.  Since April’s theme is Celebrating Diversity, I took the opportunity to invite a blogger who I have admired for some time, Carol Hand.  Carol’s blog is titled Voices from the Margins.  Carol is a member of the Sokaogon Ojibwe Community.  She has worked her entire life to help make life better for under privileged people in all communities.  But when I asked her to be my subject, she modestly declined and asked me to feature her mentor Ada Deer.  Ada Deer is, indeed, a force to be recognized and will be honored tomorrow.  But Carol wrote this poem for us and I would like to share it with you today because I think she also is a woman as I say on Friday’s ROCKS.

CAROL HAND’S POEM –

My friend Bernadette asked me to share my story

but I honestly don’t know how to start.

I’m not a seeker of fame or fortune or glory

just a little wizened woman who’s learning to live with heart.

 

Today when the sun is shining, heralding the spring

I can tell you as a child I loved to read and draw and sing

Now that I’ve retired (mostly) I have time to write and reflect

I’ve learned that life’s greatest joys are not what you may expect

 

What matters are not titles I’ve held or university degrees I earned

or the size of a house or bank account. It’s really what I’ve learned

from ordinary people like me whom I’ve met along the way.

They taught me to live with the gratitude and give thanks for each today.

 

It’s true I walked between two worlds, a foot in different cultures

a fascinating vantage point for meeting visionaries (like Ada Deer), and vultures.

Still, all have taught me valuable lessons that I won’t soon forget

most importantly to treasure kind and thoughtful friends like Ada and Bernadette.

carol-hand

CAROL HAND YOU ROCK!

FEMINIST FRIDAY – NATIVE AMERICAN WOMEN

ON FRIDAY I LIKE TO WRITE ABOUT WOMEN WHO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN OUR WORLD.  TODAY I WOULD LIKE TO INTRODUCE YOU TO CAROL HAND.  WHAT FOLLOWS IS FROM HER BLOG VOICES FROM THE MARGINS.
Honoring “The Strength of Indian Women”
Posted on January 22, 2014 by Carol A. Hand

Culture is an interesting force in our lives. It establishes our foundations in ways we cannot predict or control unless we become aware of its importance. Although I honor the work of many artists and activists in what is now the United States and around the globe, the ones who have been most influential for me are Native American women. Despite their passion and wisdom, their voices are not often heard in dominant media.

The voices of Native American women have helped me realize the need to honor the strengths and resilience of all my relations, as Crystos so elegantly says.

A SONG FOR MY PEOPLE
whose eyes I wear in my soul
in joyous praise for gnarled hands
precious children laughter in the soup of pain
Everyone of us beautifull
deeply as young pink birches in high white snowdrifts
the Native woman whose Black pimp stared me down
the many in the alcohol trap chewing off their legs
the strong, the fearful, the weary, the angry
the traditional, the assimilated, the ones on both sides
of the bloody borders
playing Bingo, dancing in Pow Wows
telling stories leaning against a cold fender
How beautifull we are How complete
just as we are
Grief & confusion wail through our hills
Above it I sing a song for my people
who always resist always fight
A song rising in our throats now
A song in our bellies now
A song in our hands now
A dark light in our eyes now
How we are beautifull
(Crystos, 1991, Dream On, p. 70. Vancouver, BC: Press Gang Publishers.)

With her unique pulsating voice, Buffy St. Marie urges all of us to take action to honor promises and to be mindful of the role we all play in global wars. Ulali reminds us that we need to care about each other because we are all inextricably interrelated.

Before her passing, Vera Manual reminded us of The Strength of Indian Women, something my teacher, mentor, and friend, Ada Deer, demonstrated so forcefully in her own life. Spiderwoman Theater reminded me that humor is often culture-bound as they helped me find my laughter once again in an alien world. Ignatia Broker’s one novel, Nightflying Woman, a timeless work of art, helped me understand not only what it means to be Ojibwe, but also what it means to be human. Winona La Duke reminds us of the work we need to do now to create a better future for generations yet to come.

It saddens me to realize that many people are unaware of the gifts these courageous women have bestowed. I am sharing this brief list of my heroes in hopes that others have an opportunity to hear their voices and learn from their passion and wisdom.

Carol bring such passion to the cause of uplifting Native Americans and Native American women.  CAROL YOU ROCK!

Stock photograph of the famous World War II poster "We Can Do It!" showing Rosie the Riveter wearing a red bandana and flexing her muscles against a yellow background, created by J. Howard Miller. The woman that modeled for this image was actually named Geraldine Doyle and was a real riveter in the 1940s.
Stock photograph of the famous World War II poster “We Can Do It!” showing Rosie the Riveter wearing a red bandana and flexing her muscles against a yellow background, created by J. Howard Miller. The woman that modeled for this image was actually named Geraldine Doyle and was a real riveter in the 1940s.

THOUGHTS ON THURSDAY – NATIVE AMERICAN WOMEN

IN HONOR OF NATIVE AMERICANS, I AM SHARING A QUOTE FROM AN ICON OF POPULAR MUSIC.

Buffy-Sainte-Marie-001

Buffy is an inspiration to women everywhere and tomorrow I will share with you the writing of Carol Hand.  Carol is a Native American woman who writes about, advocates for, and works with Native Americans.