Reading “A Word with Chiitaanibah Johnson,” Interview by Vincent Medina in News From Native California

I open the publication to the cover story and immediately recognize an important article on the subject of genocide denied. Before I delve into it more thoroughly, I seek to clear my mind and cleanse my heart.

grasscropThe fragrance of new, green growth after winter rain permeates as I step outside. I see a creature facing me in the meadow a couple of hundred feet away, standing so still as though to make me think he is an inanimate object. I am almost fooled. I also stand still and look intently. Ah, this is someone familiar. I have been affectionately calling him Scruffy, our local loner coyote with a shaggy coat and a slight sideways gait. We put out scraps for him on occasion at the edge of the forest. He turns and heads in that direction as if he knows I have recognized him. I whisper after him, “Hello.”

Birds call. In between, oaks emanate silence. There is no discernible wind today, and the morning warms up. We have had summer like weather. 78 degrees yesterday, and it looks like it will go higher today.

I move through light and shadows on dirt trails where wild grasses rise up every which way. I tread as lightly as I can. My shoes are quickly wet and shiny. The air is clear, and sky creates a bright blue contrast to the green below. Sour grass blooms and so does the Ceanothus. California poppy, growing in the most unexpected places between road base, pavers and weeds, will be flowering soon. By the end of my walk, the tiredness I have been experiencing after a difficult illness, falls away.

I return to the Chiitaanibah Johnson Interview which begins with a summary: “…a young Maidu/Navajo Sacramento State student…had challenged her history professor when he rejected the notion that what happened to Native people in North America was genocide.” I am fascinated.

One of the themes of my novel, From Ashes Into Light, that I wanted to bring forth was that acts of genocide are not historically recognized enough. We humans, I feel strongly, need to be honest about the horrible damage that unchecked acts of power and greed keep on perpetrating when we do not acknowledge the bad deeds that have happened and continue to happen. It takes great courage, as this interview reveals, to challenge the status quo. Thank you Chiitaanibah Johnson and Vincent Medina for this powerful article.

 

Gudrun Mouw’s book From Ashes Into Light publishes this week. Available everywhere.

One Comment

  1. liz Clemmer said:

    Oh what we did to the Americans that lived here before us is a sad tale. and what has became of the natives? That was asked of me yesterday and I was lost in a wash of political correctiveness…. the struggle for power is still very much alive here in America.

    February 24, 2016
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