indigenous role model


We look the part, it was past midnight, well into the weekend
Coming out of Detroit into the Canada side, border guards and checks
We are asked,
Who are you Indians and which side are you from?
Barney answers in a broken English 
He talks this way to white people, not to us
Our kids, my children are wrapped and sleeping in the back seat
He points with his lips to half-eyed Richard in the front
That one too
Richard looks like he belongs to no one
Just sits there wild-haired like a Menominee would
And my wife, not true, but hidden under the windshield at the edge of this country
We feel immediately suspicious and we can’t help but laugh
Kids stir around in the backseat
But it is the border guard who is anxious
He is looking for crimes, stray horses for which he has no apparent evidence
Where are you going, Indians?
In an Indian car trying to find a Delaware Powwow that was barely mentioned in Milwaukee
Northern Singing and a Northern sky
Moon in a colder air
Not sure of the place but knowing the name, we ask,
The border guard thinks he might have the evidence
It pleases him
Stars out, clear into Canada
And he knows only to ask,
Is it a bar?

Crossing the border into Canada
We are silent
Lights and businesses we drive toward
Could be America, too
Following us
Into the North

Demian DinéYazhi’
Untitled (For Anna Mae Aquash Pictou), 2013

– Printable poster 18"x 24" –

In the spirit of International Women’s Day, let us take a moment to honor the words and work of the late Mi'kmaq warrior Anna Mae Aquash Pictou, whose lifeline was shortened due to her brave and resilient spirit!

This poster was inspired by Anna Mae’s Aquash’s statement to the Court of South Dakota, made after her arrest and interrogation by the FBI regarding fellow activist Leonard Peltier, who was wanted tor the murder of two FBI agents. The FBI had arrested and interrogated Aquash a number of times throughout 1975, including one in which she was allegedly told she would not live out the year it she did not give up the information they wanted. Aquash claimed to have no information about Peltier. She was murdered in late 1975, and her body was discovered along a stretch of highway in South Dakota in February 1976.

About Anna Mae Aquash (March 27, 1945 – mid-December 1975):

Annie Mae Aquash (Mi'kmaq name Naguset Eask) was a Mi'kmaq activist from Nova Scotia, Canada, who became a member of the American Indian Movement, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, United States during the mid-1970s.

Aquash participated in the 1972 Trail of Broken Treaties and occupation of the Department of Interior headquarters in Washington, DC; the Wounded Knee Incident in 1973; and armed occupations in Canada and Wisconsin in following years. On February 24, 1976, her body was found on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota; she was initially determined to have died from exposure but was found to have been executed by gunshot. Aquash was thirty years old at the time of her death.



James Luna,
The Artifact Piece, 1985-87

The Artifact Piece, 1987, was a performance/installation that questioned American Indian presentation in museums-presentation that furthered stereotype, denied contemporary society and one that did not enable an Indian viewpoint.  The exhibit, through ‘contemporary artifacts’ of a Luiseño man, showed the similarities and differences in the cultures we live, and putting myself on view brought new meaning to 'artifact.’”  
-James Luna