Meditations on the Ceremonies of Beginnings is a book of poetry developed over decades as I played my small role in the tribal colleges and universities and world indigenous nation’s higher education consortium movements. Tribal College Press has announced it will be released in late November. The cover design just came in! The drawing is by Ethel Mortenson Davis.
You’ll have to enlarge to cover to read the writing, but I am especially excited about what Carrie Billy, one of the great leaders of the tribal college and university movement, and Kimberly Blaeser, on the most important Native American poets in the United States, say about the book.
Twelve hawks soar in a circle,
Each wheeling interlocking into the next.
They soar higher and higher,
Dark wings part of summer blue sky,
Growing smaller as they climb
Above valley grasses,
Pines, and fluttering aspen leaves
Covering sides of hills,
Rising into symphony
Of ever lighter blue distance,
Ever climbing mountains.
Then, in a splinter of light,
Bird wing flashes white.
The world changes
While sky, mountains, trees
Live inside their own sense of time.
On the stage, wooden, outside,
Before a crowd of brown faces,
Maori laughed and sang
A storm of life
And eyes dancing in faces.
In the midst of song and laughter,
A slim, aging man stood in front of the singers.
He spoke of birds wheeling high in the distance of sky.
Note: This happened on the Stoney Reserve in Canada on the day that the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium was formed.
Note: This starts a new series of poems, The Tribal College poems, that tell about the tribal college movement in the United States and the formation of the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC). In many ways these poems have historical importance, describing events from some of the most important higher education movements that happened in the latter part of the 20th century.
The Maori came singing in rows,
Language as musical as colors of Hawaiian flowers,
Swaying rhythms weaving through island heat,
Capturing in movement wave song of ocean.
The tribal college people came, led by a hand drum,
Feet moving to the drum’s rhythm,
Spirit inculcated into the history of this moment
Away from the tribal homeland,
In the islands of Hawaii.
The singing and drumming met
In a swirl of traditional dress
And words from scores of cultures.
The meeting created waves and tides
And a singing beyond the singing of any one people
Or group of people,
And the waves and tides swept outward
From rocky shores of Hilo, past the reef
Into the ocean of the world
As a growing began
That sent echoes rumbling
Into years and decades in the process of borning.
Hi Yah Hi!