The Racing Clouds of Winter

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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Heart of the Evening

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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All of Us

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

we cannot go
to another planet,
to another earth
in another solar system.
 
We are too late for that,
too far away.
 
Instead, we must
sit down, you and I,
and look into each other’s eyes,
our arms embracing,
before we can save
any of us.
Window

			

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Meditation on Ceremonies of Beginnings Released by Tribal College Press

Tribal College Press has launched Meditation on Ceremonies of Beginnings! The book went up on their site, https://tribalcollegejournal.org/buy-meditation-on-ceremonies-of-beginnings, yesterday. I have emphasizing the Tribal College Press site for purchases because any purchase here goes to help the tribal college movement out through work that the Tribal College Journal does with all of the colleges.

To me, at least, this is the most important book I have ever written, as accidental as it is in some senses. It represents decades of work for all the tribal colleges and specifically for the colleges that I worked directly for over much of my life. Imbedded in the book also are all the sacrifices Ethel and my children, Sonja, Mary, and Kevin, made during the years when I was working so hard to make so many things happen of American Indian communities and students in individual communities and nationwide. I also want to celebrate Ethel’s magnificent pastel the press used for the cover.

I received my first copy of the finished book at the house yesterday, and I was surprised at how much emotion it generated in me. The tribal colleges and universities and international indigenous controlled institutions of higher learning are so important! All of us need to reach out, if we are not American Indian people, to the original people of this land and celebrate them and feel the power of what they and their communities have to offer the world. I hope that in the pages of this book of poetry both Indians and non-Indians can find the spirit of the tribal colleges and universities and then become inspired to support them in some concrete way. They are still among the poorest funded colleges and universities in this country even though they are doing God’s work in some of the poorest places in the United States.

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In the Time of Covid

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The old men
 are dreaming bad dreams.
 The rain will not fall
 on our land.
 Even the deep water
 stays away.
  
 I yearn for the earth
 to give us her blessing,
 her sanction,
 so we can harvest
 the oats and rye again,
  
 so I can run
 to the far field
 to wrap my arms around
 the face of my horse
 and dream good dreams. 

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Podcast About Leadership

Christine Reidhead has just informed me that The Los Angeles Tribune has put a second podcast I did with Christine on leadership on its website’s front page. We did ten of these in total, and the Tribune has told Christine that they have reviewed all ten and will be running all ten of them. How Christine talks me into these things sort of mystifies me, and then how she manages to get major national coverage for them amazes me even more. Her work at Navajo Technical University in the Navajo Nation as the head of the business department is amazing. Her list of scholarly publications in business journals keeps growing. Her founding of Afrika Rising!, a non-profit that works in Africa, has earned her multiple significant honors. She is much more extraordinary than I am. I have no idea how many magazines have had her on their front cover. I just know that it has been a lot of them. The Tribune also ran a long article about the second podcast in the ten podcast series to accompany the podcast’s availability. Here’s the link:
https://thelosangelestribune.com/2020/11/10/tom-davis-reveals-qualities-of-leadership-in-the-latest-podcast-with-christine-reidhead/?fbclid=IwAR1H9d1M8hatVEdg3XfJknSloDRnLouuZSuLou-thP0PBa3x8DxH0jHvbDU

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Steps

a photograph by Kevin Michael Davis (Alazanto)

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The Telling Dream

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

In my dream
it was nighttime.
I was in a muddy field
overlooking a large city
with bright lights.
The field was enclosed
with barbed wire,
and there was a herd of cattle
within the enclosure.
  
The cattle were not really cattle,
but were members of my family.
They were up  
to their bellies in mud,
unable to move.
Hundreds of poisonous frogs
were climbing onto the cattle,
killing them with their bites.
  
This was a foretelling,
a story of betrayal
and pain,
a story of survival 
and transcendence,
an ancient story.
  
Come over here
and sit down by this tree,
and I will tell you this story.
It is a story of my life 
and yours.

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Separation

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

At birth,
the farmer separated
the calf from its mother.
He wiped away
the amniotic fluid
with a gunny sack
before putting him
in a separate pen.
 
Black children born
to enslaved parents were
taken from their weeping mothers
and moved hundreds of miles away.
 
Native children
were snatched from anxious parents
and moved to some miserable life.
 
A Central American baby
Is ripped from its mother’s arms.
Both baby and mother’s spirits
are broken.
 
The farmer’s wife protested,
“keep the calf with its mother.
Do you need every ounce of milk?”
 
“This is the way we do things,”
replied the farmer.

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The New Calves

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The new calves
are growing stiff
from the wetness of birth,
 
and old men
come running across the fields
asking,
who killed our
apple-blossom time?
 
I say to them,
surely dead leaves
can’t grow in your pockets now.

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