I come from a long line of revolutionaries.
I am a member of the Muskogee people. I’m a poet, a musician, a dreamer of sorts, a questioner. Like everyone else, I’m looking for answers of some sort or the other.
Humans are vulnerable and rely on the kindnesses of the earth and the sun; we exist together in a sacred field of meaning.
It took me 14 years to write ‘Crazy Brave’ because I kept changing the form and I also kept running away from the story. I said I don’t really want to write about myself. But it’s about writing about memory.
I hear from my Inuit and Yupik relatives up north that everything has changed. It’s so hot; there is not enough winter. Animals are confused. Ice is melting.
When you play a sax, that saxophone is irreverent. It’s noisy; it’s a trickster… you cannot hide the saxophone in your hands, so it’s a good teacher.
The radio is playing jazz, and I listen to the sound of the trumpet playing a solo until I become that sound.
When explorers first encountered my people, they called us heathens, sun worshippers. They didn’t understand that the sun is a relative and illuminates our path on this earth.
My ancestors include Monahwee, who was one of the leaders in the Red Stick War, which was the largest Indian uprising in history, and Osceola, who refused to sign a treaty with the United States.
I don’t like this romanticization of Indian people in which Indian people are looked at as spiritual saviors, as people who have always taken care of the land. We’re human beings. But I think different cultures have developed different aspects of humanness.