This lovely piece, made by The Exceptional Nick Robles, is a fusion of my mother as a teen and the protagonist in “The Girl Turns West.” Hence the 70s-stylin bell bottoms 😄
“The Girl Turns West,” my short fantasy story inspired by precolonial Mescalero/Lipan/Jicarilla societies, appears in Mirror Dance this summer. Read it here! In this post, I will say a few words about the society and magic of Many Question’s world. If you don’t know who Many Questions is, ahem … click this link and put on your reading glasses (if you need em) 😉
- Names have power: Because they reflect a person’s soul, names possess great spiritual power and can be weapons in the wrong hands. Therefore, Many Questions refers to people by their familial/professional titles, even in her thoughts. I don’t know about you, but I tend to do the same. To me, my father is “Dad,” not “Patrick.”
- In Many Question’s matrilocal society, family groups are rooted around the grandmother’s line: Many Questions lives in a family group loosely connected to eight other families. The groups travel together and help each other during crises. When a couple is married, the husband joins the wife’s family group; if the marriage splits, the husband leaves.
- Question everything: As she becomes an adult, Many Questions realizes that dogmas about evil, spirituality, and what it means to be a woman do not always reflect the truth …
I’m working on a sequel to this story that involves an older Many Questions, her brother, her auntie, and The Storyteller. Here’s its tagline: the old monsters have returned. Muahaha. Seriously, there are lots of wonderfully creepy monsters in Southern Athabaskan lore – I’m itching to have some fun with them.
Thanks for reading! Oh, here’s a pic of my mom as a kiddo – can you see the resemblance with the art above? 😀
Ezzy pushed a roll of twenties across the tabletop. “I’m fed up with the conquistador,” he said.
“Huh? What?” Luciana peeked over the newspaper she’d been skimming. Her eyes widened behind a pair of heavy glasses. “Dude! Who brings that much cash into a Denny’s? Put it away! Madre de dios! What’s wrong with you?” She dropped a sticky napkin over the money. They weren’t in McAllen’s worst neighborhood, but Luci erred on the side of caution ever since a pickpocket stole her wallet. The thief made off with two credit cards and a “Buy Ten, Get One Free” coupon for Café Maria. Luci had been one small black coffee away from a complementary latte. The loss nearly broke her heart.
“What’s wrong with me?” Ezzy asked. “I’m fed up with—”
“The conquistador. Right. So? He’s been a pain since the sixteenth century. And what does that guy have to do with…?” She gestured at the small fortune.
“It’s payment for…” He pantomimed stabbing somebody.
So begins “The Sea Under Texas,” an fantasy adventure in the Rio Grande Valley. Read the whole story in Quantum Fairy Tales Issue #11 (http://quantumfairytales.com/). If you like it, I will love you forever, and if you don’t like it, I will love that you gave it a shot.
READ HERE: The Sea Under Texas
ABOVE: A pair of bison in McAllen, TX. They aren’t wild … it’s a long story. Fun fact = I took this photo in 2012. Since then, a fuzzy calf has joined the family! There are no bison in “The Sea Under Texas.” I just wanted a cute picture for this post.
My Lipan Apache ghost story (discussed in previous blog entries here and here) appeared in Strange Horizons this week. I’m incredibly honored! If you like fantasy and science fiction, check out Strange Horizons. It’s a weekly zine that’s accessible online and in podcast form. I started reading SH as a teenage Little Badger, and its fiction, reviews, and poetry have expanded my imagination and introduced me to many wonderful writers over the years. Continue reading
My mother beaded my crown by hand. Do you recognize the patterns?
Diatoms! They’re snowflakes in the ocean, microscopic organisms built from opal, the most beautiful phytoplankton (in my opinion) you’ll ever see. Many of the diatoms in the photograph above (captured by Dr. Robert Berdan) inspired my mom. Just look at the details below!
I was 2012 S.T.I.D.A. Princess during the Twenty-third Annual South Texas (Way South) Pow Wow. At the time, I’d just received a bachelor’s degree in oceanography; my thesis work involved Trichodesmium-wrangling on the blue Sargasso Sea. The crown represents my passion for the ocean – it’s my hope that other pow wow princesses will wear scientific motifs on their heads in the future :3 Hey, maybe some already have! Give me a call, if that’s you …
Here I am with my beautiful mom and grandmother. Check out that cell phone pic quality!
Vice-chairman Robert Soto at the 2014 City of McAllen 4th of July Parade.
This month, after eight years in court, my tribe has achieved a legal victory to defend our religious rights.
In 2006, federal officials violated a sacred powwow circle and confiscated feathers.Thanks to the tireless work of Lipan Apache Vice-chairman Robert Soto (my uncle, pictured above) and lawyers Milo Colton and Marisa Salazar, the feathers will be returned and given the respect they deserve. As a conservationist, I’d like to emphasize that this ruling does not affect the eagle population. Feathers are recycled from birds that die a natural death. Rather, the ruling challenges the federal government’s power to arbitrarily decide which Native Americans have the right to worship. As the Lipan Apache events page explains: The law is not only a win for the Tribe and other State Recognized Tribes but also for those who fit the definition of American Indians as stated in the 1997 “Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity,” 62 FR 58782-01: “A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment” and who are within 5th Circuit Court States: Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
In other words, the government has no right to claim that a “select few American Indians” are more equal than others.
You can read the press release below.