The Dirt is Red Here


If you can’t tell, I’ve ordered a bunch of books lately. The last few days I’ve been looking at The Dirt is Red Here: Art and Poetry from Native California. It’s a nice, small, simple book that (for me at least) packs a powerful punch. There are lots of great images of artwork from a variety of artists and they are interspersed with various poems and prose.


From “Baskets” by Deborah Miranda (Esselen):


Indians evolve like everyone else.

I understand safety pins on regalia,

plastic pony beads,

synthetic sinew.

Times change. We grow into

what comes next.


From “I Still Eat All of my Meals with a Mussel Shell” by Shaunna Oteka McCovey (Yurok/Karuk)


Because our rivers


were once filled


with gold


our women were violated


in the worst imaginable way.


This book has been sitting on the dining table for the last few days and I keep coming back to it. Every time, I find something new.




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