|What is your path in our world...|
Somehow I knew writing was my eventual path by age 10. I wrote in my journals religiously. No one ever told me to write... In those days I devoured magazines, a study of our strange and evolving American culture. At one period in my 20s and 30s, I wrote three to 20 pages a day. That led to the discipline I needed to be a writer and have a solid "skill set" to do the work.
By early 1996 I did not choose journalism; it chose me. First I was hired as editor at a weekly newspaper in Hayward, Wisconsin. Then Paul DeMain, the publisher of News From Indian Country, hired me that fall. It was obvious to me I only wanted to write about Native people and Native news. Paul and I created Ojibwe Akiing about a month after I started. After four years and a variety of duties on two Native newspapers, I had earned my unofficial degree in Native journalism from Paul DeMain.
The poet warrior John Trudell's life is a source of my inspiration. Trudell suffered the loss of his entire family in a fire, which could have ended his life as a writer and activist. How he healed is how I intend to heal my own recent losses of close friends and beloved family members.
How we heal is entirely up to us, but we have to chose it. If we bury and deny our grief, it will inevitably hurt us more. Even our being adopted is a path. Where it leads is up to us.
After the tragedies, Trudell began to write in a manner as fearless and uncompromising as his political stance with the American Indian Movement, by picking up the pen... He said, "When I went to the writing, it was the most vengeful thing I could do. I won't say I started writing out of love. When I started out to write, I did not want to explode. Writing lines, poems, songs -- that became my explosion."