Friday, May 24, 2024

From Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie's Substack brings me joy.  He tells stories in prose and poetry and, sometimes, by reading aloud.  He's playful and profound.  I carry his words around with me.  

His latest post touched on something that has bothered me for a long time, something that feels simple and cheap and embarrassing, something that probably happened at a graduation ceremony near you last weekend.  

Here's part of his musing on Spokane, his hometown:

I’m often reminded
that this land was stolen

from my tribes. I’m walking
on the body and blood
of my ancestors and I sigh
when I think of the performative 
land acknowledgments

that are only placebos.
The only honest
acknowledgement is this:
“We took your land. 
We’re not giving it back.

Enjoy the show.”
My ancestors laugh 
in their coffins
at the earnest white
folks who don't pay us

any rent. My ancestors 
giggle and mourn,
giggle and mourn.


  1. Yes, I'm not impressed with those "performative land acknowledgments" either.

    1. As if saying something like that would make a difference.

  2. All too many Americans conveniently forget that we too are immigrants, the Native Americans were here first. BTW, your blog is taking a long time to load, started with your post on May 21st about your daughter's back yard. Have any of your other readers mentioned this?

    1. I too find the blog taking awhile and the address bar quickly reverting to my own web address before switching to The Burrow. I figure it's some weird dustup in the internet service, either on my end or Susie's, and will straighten itself out.

    2. The Burrow site is not loading properly for me the last couple of days, on both my desktop PC and my iPad.

  3. I am embarrassed that a lot of Native Americans in Arizona do not have electricity or running water. My nephew in law won an Emmy for his documentary "Light up Navajo, 2022" on YouTube.


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