First Nations Woman Rising

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Photo of Ashley Callingbull from Chatelaine

You may or may not know who this woman is, but she’s the reason I am writing the Karen Yellowtail novels. If you want to change the world, you have to be brave. The truth is no place for cowards.

The moment I saw Ashley Callingbull and heard her story, she became a shining light to me. She IS a shining light to girls and women around the world, especially Native women, and she is true grace and strength in adversity. When I’m stuck writing a scene for Karen, I’m always thinking what would Ashley do? And having been lucky to talk with her on social media, I know that Ashley would be honored to have the role of Karen Yellowtail (and really, there’s no one else I would ever accept if it ever came down to it).

On International Women’s Day, this woman, this Enoch Cree woman, is the epitome of what it means to come up out of the darkness and succeed. She is true First Nations power. She walks in beauty. Thank you, Ashley Callingbull

Babygirl

Babygirl died. She died with the birthday sparkles still in her hair and a pink glittery now you are 10 button, a special birthday card gift from the famous Hollywood actor, pinned to her sunshine yellow party dress. Whoever killed her had lured her somehow from her birthday party, took her out down the road near all the hoopla and trailers and killed her and rolled her over in a murky ditch to hide her pretty face; to hide what they’d done in a pathetic act of stabbing remorse. Remorse for what? Whoever had killed her had thrown stones at her lifeless ten year old body and had poked her, hard, with sticks, just to make sure. Yes, she was really dead, so they had turned her face away and left her out there in the cold.

As homicide detective Karen Yellowtail would discover, this was no ordinary murder and it would have repercussions that would rattle and throb the heart of the community for a very long time. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a child for a child?

Excerpt from Babygirl by Basia J Wolf.

Shapeshifting

Change, by its nature, is almost always final; rarely does it give you the luxury of returning to any part of the past save down the winding lane of memories and remembrances. Sometimes this entity, this so-called metamorphosis, cuts a wide, sweeping swathe, churning up the neat paths and manicured borders you’d carefully constructed and called a life.

Other times it grabs your life by the nape of the neck and shakes it up good, for better or worse. But after change waltzes, leering, through your door, nothing is ever quite the same again.

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by Stephanie Lostimolo

From the place of the turquoise sky

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Original artwork copyright of Carleton McCambridge © May not be reproduced or copied without artist’s consent.

When I saw this Osage beauty by the supremely gifted artist Carleton McCambridge, she evoked the spirit of Karen Yellowtail. Strength, serenity, spirit, Native Pride. In these uncertain days, we need to remember this:

Universe Father, Earth Mother, with Humility I Pray and Sing.
From the Place of the Sacred Data and Knowledge I am.
From the Place of Darkness, from the Place of Turquoise Sky,
From the Place of the Universe, I am.
From the Place of Golden Warmth,
from the Place of a New Dawn, I am (words by Philmer Bluehouse)

Thanks to Carleton and Liz McCambridge

Hunted and haunted

This is what is means to be haunted. A chance discovery, you see or hear a name perhaps, and it ricochets around your brain, flooding the space behind your eyes with jagged images and distorted sounds. Maybe there’s a voice you once recognized, or a smell that conjures something you’d rather forget, something that you worked hard to forget. Something, anything, everything. Someone you once knew, a piece of your past that you smothered down into the well of forgetfulness and tried to drown with silence and denial. This repression, this echo, this whatever, now stalks you and it haunts you night and day.

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Art by Razvan Sedekiah

Canyon de Chelly

Slick, smooth rock rising over six hundred feet, soaring, he’d once read, like a cathedral vault into the heavens. The wind whipped and crackled through the canyons and the ruins, through the candy hued contoured sandstone, haunting and whispering and calling.

In some places there were sheer drops, tunnels carved by millennia of fast flowing flood waters and secret places that only the Navajo understood and would never discuss.

This was beyond a temple, beyond anything that religion could ever touch. And it was holy, the entire land was holy. As he moved towards the White House Ruins, he sensed that everything – the air, the ground, the smell of eternity –  was charged with a fierce and unyielding preternatural energy .

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Canyon de Chelly by Lubomira Soroko © 2015. Must not be reproduced without permission.

Time?

You think you have all the time in the world. There is always tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow. Or next week. All the time in the world.

But there isn’t. And you do not; you do not have anything but a solitary moment. Even though you can see them coming, those big moments, when they hit, you are still never ready for them. You thought you had all the time in the world, but now time has ground to a jolting, choking halt.

And there is nothing you can do except flail in the thick waters of helplessness while you watch the hands move inexorably around the clock, without your permission or participation. The feeling that time – that life – has tricked you, is suffocating. The reality of time is that it is an illusion. And you can’t have something that doesn’t exist.

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Photo courtesy of Susanna Feldman © Quote courtesy of Terry Pratchett

The Karen Anomaly

Reza turned his observation from the landscape and stared directly at Karen. She was an anomaly; so obviously fragile and blisteringly fierce in her efforts to conceal it, and yet her strength lay in her ability to continue on, despite everything that had happened to her and everything that was happening to her. She had innate intuition, the kind that a good cop could get after many years of dealing with criminal scum, but with her, it was part of who she was. She listened to herself, to what her gut was telling her, had never in her whole life shrugged it off as being dumb or thinking badly of someone. The Angel Maker wanted her to be the victim, but Karen had never ever played the card. She understood that the strongest card she held against him was the one she had yet to play.

 

 

Ghosts

It was two in the morning and still clammy and hot. Staring at the blank TV screen, his mind wandered to the evening’s conversation; to pipe smoking children and a persistent thrumming, a vibration he couldn’t quite locate.

A girl with Karen’s eyes loomed up out of the shadows and said: I’m cold, I’m scared, I’m dead.

He jerked awake, sweating. Two thirty five.

The dead, he thought he heard someone say, are never entirely dead.