Celebrating Native American Heritage Month: A Statement by Debra Magpie Earling
November 26, 2018
In honor of Native American Heritage Month, AWP invited some of our favorite Indigenous writers to share a brief commentary on the elections of Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland, who will soon be the first two Native American women in Congress, as it relates to writing in our current political landscape.
Debra Magpie Earling—the celebrated novelist, short story writer and Guggenheim Fellow—is the first to share her thoughts:
In the nick of time, when California is an inferno and the West one teetering matchstick away from Smokey Bear’s worst nightmare; when hurricanes and tornados are beating our shores and tearing up the Midwest, and the Nation (and the world), faces the dire consequences of climate change and yet is consumed by the fear that poor brown people (with their own sad calamities and flooding heartbreak) will soon storm our Southern borders; when in this desperate time, social, economic, and political fire storms seethe across prairies and wildlands, cities and towns; when missing and murdered Indigenous women are still missing and murdered, and the mass shootings go on and on—in nightclubs and churches and synagogues and schools and our “safe” places run with blood; when soon we will witness mass migrations from California and other climate-change regions in an internal population shift we cannot prepare for, and our health care plans won’t save us and our disaster insurance runs dry, and the Leader of the Free World says Nationalism is patriotism because the dictionary says so (despite evidence that Nationalism is the foundation of division); when our drinking water is contaminated by more mining and drilling and fracking and we have tied the last knot on the fraying rope of civilization and dangle at the edge—in ride two Native women to the rescue. Who better to rescue our nation than women who have survived centuries of genocidal blows?
Haaland and Davids bring an age-old authority to the House, the voices of Native women, and a time-honored vision of tending to the earth for future generations. As writers, let us join the ride and write like our lives depended on it.