Photos and article by Brenda Norrell
TUCSON -- Native American poets and singers celebrated the release of the new edition of Red Ink magazine tonight, packed with the voices of Native American writers and stunning photos and art.
Acomo Pueblo poet Simon Ortiz said, "We celebrate by being thankful."
"Red Ink is a voice that expresses this kind of celebration."
Ortiz, professor, poet, author, and activist, said writing becomes a "voice of our people."
"That voice is not just Indigenous, but all human beings. It is a voice that is held in common."
Speaking of writing and sharing that voice, he said, "That is the voice of community."
"We become a community collective voice," said Ortiz before reading his poem of "Red Boy."
Ortiz, professor of English, was honored as a Arizona State University Regents’ Professor in 2012, the highest faculty honor bestowed by the university. Now a professor at ASU in Tempe, Ariz., Ortiz, an award winning author and poet, has taught at colleges throughout the west, including on Navajoland and Rosebud in South Dakota. While writing and teaching, Ortiz supports the efforts of young writers, and voices support for the ongoing struggles for dignity and autonomy, including the Zapatistas.
Speaking tonight, Ortiz said Sherwin Bitsui, who read his poetry at the celebration, has been a voice of the students. Bitsui, Dine' from White Cone, Arizona, is Dine' of the Todich'ii'nii (Bitter Water Clan), born for the Tl'izilani (Many Goats Clan).
Bitsui, an award winning poet, holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona and an AFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts. His books of poetry are Floodsong, and Shapeshift.
Dine' flutist Tygel Pinto, from Gallup and Crystal, N.M., performed, along with the Tohono O'odham hip hop band Shining Soul, at the celebration held at the Espresso Art Cafe.
Simultaneously tonight on Pine Ridge at Kyle, South Dakota, a sister celebration was held.
Listen to this week's interview with KXCI Tucson, Amanda Shauger's 30 Minutes:
Red Ink editor Joseph Angel Quintana discusses the challenges and Tygel Pinto performs on flute: