Photograph by Boris Oicherman

 

We are kept in their mindset as “vanished peoples.” Or as workers, not creators. And what does this erasing of individual identity do to us? Can you believe you exist if you look in a mirror and see no reflection? And what happens when one group controls the mirror market? As Native people, we have known that in order to survive we had to create, re-create, produce, re-produce. The effect of the denial of our existence is that many of us have become invisible. The systematic disruption of our families by the removal of our children was effective for silencing our voices. Yet not everyone can still that desire, that up-welling inside that says sing, write, draw, move, be. We can sing our hearts out, tell our stories, paint our visions. We are in a position to create a more human reality. In order to live we have to make our own mirrors.

 

Marcie Rendon, Anishinabe, enrolled member of the White Earth Nation, is a playwright, poet, and writer. She has published four nonfiction children’s books and two novels, Murder on the Red River and Girl Gone Missing. She is a community arts activist and a curator who supports other Native artists/writers/creators to pursue their art. In 2012 she and Diego Vázquez Jr. established the Women’s Writing Program (WWP) in correctional facilities in Ramsey, Sherburne, and Washington counties in Minnesota, where more than two hundred imprisoned women participated in poetry workshops that led to more than thirty published anthologies of poetry. In her Incubator Residency at WAM, Marcie will research the causes and effects of the disproportionate rates of incarceration of Native American women in Minnesota.

Marcie Rendon’s residency is supported by the Stardust Art Fund.