a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
What does dignity mean to people in the United States? Does that definition change depending on your political leaning, your gender, your ethnicity? To me, a Native woman, dignity means the chance to express my identity with pride, with security, to feel safe in doing so. So I found myself immediately attracted to this project when Pam suggested it.
It is necessary that we begin to define, for ourselves and as a Nation, that which makes us human, humane. When we begin to look at the art, the individual, the elemental, and the wild, perhaps we can begin to see each other and other living things and beings, as lives deserving of the same rights and privileges and protections and respect as any others.
I love that this issue of About Place is highlighting those often forgotten or marginalized ideas and beings equally deserving of honor and respect. One of my heroes, Wilma Mankiller, writes in Challenges Facing 21st Century Indigenous People that “Within many communities, the most respected are not those who’ve amassed great material wealth or achieved great personal success; the greatest respect is reserved for those who help other people, those who understand that their lives play themselves out within a set of reciprocal relationships.” I like to think this issue is about reciprocation, about showing how each artist is doing their part to help our larger community, and about issuing respect to people, places, and beings so deserving.
I am grateful to have worked so closely with two very fine and giving writers, Pam Uschuk and Maggie Miller, exemplary models of kindness and reciprocation. I hope that you enjoy this issue and are as moved by the submissions as we are.
CMarie Fuhrman is the co-editor of the anthology Native Voices (Tupelo, 2019) and the forthcoming chapbook of poems Camped Beneath the Dam (Floodgate, 2020). Her poetry has appeared in The Yellow Medicine Review, Cutthroat a Journal of the Arts, Whitefish Review, and Broadsided Press’ NoDapl Compilation, as well as many other journals and anthologies. Her nonfiction can be found in High Desert Journal and Sustainable Play, as well as two anthologies. CMarie is the 2019 recipient of the Grace Paley Fellowship and winner of the Burns Award for poetry. She is a 2019 graduate of the University of Idaho’s MFA program where she remains as the Project Coordinator for Indigenous Knowledge for Effective Education Program. CMarie has lived most of her life in the Rocky Mountain West and resides now in West Central Idaho. CMarie is of Southern Ute and Italian heritage.