I’m honored to have been invited by students and staff and Fort Lewis College to create a mural in recognition of their first celebration of Indigenous People’s Day October 10, 2016 choosing to tell history from the perspective of First Nations people. Goodbye Columbus Day. The effort to get the city of Durango and the college to recognize Indigenous People’s Day was the result of a long struggle for Dine’ writer, poet and artist Esther Belin, resident of Durango. The day began with an indigenous student led demonstration in solidarity with the protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota, those victimized by police brutality and a call for an end to racism. The highlight of the day was having JC Morningstar, her family and the dog pictured in the mural travel to Durango, CO to attend the festivities. The highlight of their day was getting down to the technotribal sounds of A Tribe Called Red later in the evening.
Dine’ poet, artist, activist Demian Dineyazhi met JC and her family and wrote a poem for the occasion titled Two Stars Rising in the North at Dusk which speaks to the family’s recent loss of JC’s 16 year old brother by suicide.
“Two Stars Rising In the North swings at dusk
One star creates her form in the glittering world
It is inherited strength from resilient ancestors
The other follows her and blesses her journey
It is the wild, steadfast spirit of fallen warriors
Together they breeze through cosmic wind
Intertwined in horse hair and kinetic genesis
Together they guide her movement:
In beauty you are reborn again
In beauty he is reborn again
In beauty she is reborn again
In beauty we are reborn again”
Shout out to Nancy Stoffer, the students at Fort Lewis, Demian Dineyazhi and my assistant Brian Gonnella for helping to make this possible.