Sunday, November 04, 2012

From Los Angeles to The Great Plains-- Latest News: "Your Power, Your Decision: VOTE"

by Amelia Montes (

Last week I wrote about poet and fiction writer, Xánath Caraza, a transnational U.S. Midwest Indigena Mexicana.  

Xánath Caraza
There is more to say this week about Xánath—especially if you are in Los Angeles! On Saturday, November 10 (yes--in Los Angeles) you have the opportunity to learn from Xánath.  She will be giving a poetry workshop from 12:30-3:30p.m. at Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural bookstore.  Here is her description of the workshop: 

Taller de poesía en español con Xánath Caraza
En este taller de poesía examinaremos y discutiremos trabajos seleccionados de Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Macuilxochitzin y Yanga.  Escribiremos nuestros propios poemas y finalizaremos la session con una lectura informal de poesía donde compartiremos lo que hayamos creado.

Poetry Workshop in Spanish with Xánath Caraza
In this poetry workshop, we will examine and discuss selected works of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Macuilxochitzin, and Yanga.  We will write our own poems and we will end the session with an informal poetry reading where we will share what we have created. 

After the poetry workshop, take a break, a tomar un cafecito—and then come back to Tia  Chucha’s Centro Cultural bookstore at 5:00p.m. to hear Xánath read from CONJURO.

What a great way to spend next Saturday at Tia Chucha’s. 

When:  Saturday, November 10, 2012
What:  Writing Workshop led by Xánath Caraza
Where:  Tia Chuca's Centro Cultural Bookstore
Time:  12:30-3:30p.m.

What:  Xánath Caraza reading from her book, Conjuro
When: (same day)
Time:  5p.m.
Where:  Tia Chuca's Centro Cultural Bookstore

This past week, Xánath was at The Writer’s Place in Kansas City, Missouri (where Xánath lives).  It was a Dia de los Muertos celebration and reading.  One of Xánath’s poems, “Luz de Octubre,” became art on the wall (see below).  Orale Xánath.

"Luz de Octubre"


Switching now to Lincoln, Nebraska where the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Lincoln chapter had its annual banquet yesterday (Saturday, November 3rd) and the theme was “Your Power, Your Decision--Vote.”  

Lakota Tribe member, Myron Longsoldier gave the Invocation. Frank LaMere, from the Winnebago Tribe, gave the keynote.  LaMere is a human rights activist who has had extensive involvement with empowerment efforts of native people throughout the United States.  He was named Peacemaker of the Year by the Nebraskans for Peace organization for his work to end the sale of alcohol in Whiteclay.  He chaired the Native American Caucus at the 2000 and 2004 Democratic Conventions. In 2008, the documentary, “The Battle for Whiteclay” followed LaMere, Russell Means, and Duane Martin Sr. in their efforts to curtail alcohol consumption on the Pine Ridge Reservation.  If you haven’t seen “The Battle for Whiteclay" I encourage you to see it! And since it is still near the time of Dia de los Muertos—see it in honor of Russell Means who recently passed away on October 22nd. 

Last night Frank LaMere spoke with emotion and directed his comments to all of us:  “Indian, Brown, Black, White”—that it is important to see the devastation happening at Pine Ridge as a problem that affects every one of us.  In an opinion piece for the New York Times, LaMere wrote:  “Any action short of shutting down Whiteclay and crippling the enterprise that peddles alcohol among the Lakota people is unacceptable.  The death toll exacted on the Lakota people by Anheuser-Busch and its partners continues to rise . . . Lakota children are orphaned and struggle through life with the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome.” 

Frank LaMere in "The Battle for White Clay"
In the book, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco (published this past June), they write:  “Whiteclay is an extension of the long night of ethnic cleansing, degradation, and murder stretching back more than a century and a half, to the U.S. Cavalry charges on Indian encampments, where screaming women and children were shot down as they fled, and the systematic eradication of food sources by the white colonizers, who soon reduced bands of ragged Indians to destitution.  Fights, brawls, and shootings eventually shut down the bars and saloons of Whiteclay.  All sales are now carryout.  But Whiteclay still provides the liquid fuel for car wrecks, diabetes, heart attacks, domestic abuse, divorces, joblessness, violence, early deaths, and suicides: one in five Indian girls and one in eight boys attempts suicide by the end of high school.  The averale male life expectancy on Pine Ridge is forty-eight, the lowest in the Western Hemisphere outside of Haiti” (4). 

Frank LaMere giving the keynote at the NAACP Banquet
LaMere’s powerful words at the NAACP in Lincoln, Nebraska last night prompted me to write you about it, dear La Bloga reader, especially as we near election day this coming Tuesday.  “Your Power, Your Decision:  VOTE” was the timely theme.  There is much at stake—and you are a part of the circle just as much as I am and Frank LaMere is. Participate!  VOTE!

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