Sunday, October 7, 2012

Race Monologues

The leaders of my race monologues workshop asked us last week think about race in our everyday lives and bring a moment from our week to share with the group. Do you ever stop and think about how often race comes up in your daily life? When I stopped to think, I realized it happens quite frequently. Maybe it's just me, a white girl from a small native community, going to a very white college. The prompt for the week was to write about your family history. Here is my piece

"Why are you here?"
asks big black/brown eyes
full moon frost bitten cheeks
hair down her back

Les hommes francais!
fur economy exploitation
empty waters where sea cows once grazed

a nomadic people making more and more rips into fur trading posts
I am a relic of colonialism

you named my father eagle
the same as on the dollar bills
your children hand
to their cousin at the cash register
no nikipiaq Ahna!
black meat with seal oil, I want a snickers bar

astounding faith
North to the Future
manifest destiny

-Hannah Atkinson


  1. Reaching back on my maternal bloodline, I have a connection to a woman who only had a native name without a last name. She was from what is known today as Noorvik and the generation after her received last names from the outsiders. The generations still stayed at their homebase, so my great-grandma, my grandma, and my mother all consider themselves to be from Noorvik. I am the first generation that grew up on the coast and consider a different place to be my home, Kotzebue.
    This summer, I visited Noorvik for the first time in 4 years to catch my first moose. I stopped by houses and gave meat to old women who didn't know me as a person, but knew my entire family background on my mom's side.
    There is such a promising comfort in knowing I can be in a place where I can feel like an outsider but will be smiled at and respected for my insider roots. A feeling of belonging in an unfamiliar place all thanks to the women before me.

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