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Meditation on Ceremonies of Beginnings   3 comments

Fancy Dancer by Ethel Mortenson Davis

. . . I have been following Thomas Davis’ blog since 2012, and feel so fortunate to have found his blog.
“With billions of humans on this earth, it’s not easy to connect with poets who express the
human experience so worthy of being a poet’s poet. Thomas can open the door to why we exist!”

Meditation on Ceremonies of Beginnings — The Tribal College and World Indigenous Nations Higher
Education Consortium Poems was recently by Tribal College Press. Davis sees the book of poems as
“an introduction to the tribal college movement and the world of Indigenous nations.”

These poems tell the story of the tribal college movement. Davis writes, “They record history in a different way.
History is not just made up of facts and events, as momentous as those events may be, but also of
emotions, dreams, striving, failing, tragedy, struggling against long odds, laughter, joy, and
personalities that make significant differences even as those contributions are lost when
historians begin to shuffle through dust bins of primary sources.

In March, 2003, Robert Martin invited Davis to Tohono O’odham in southern Arizona.
While there, he wrote “A Visit to Tohono O’odham Community College
as It is Being Born, 2/6/03.”

Thomas Davis Source: Green Bay Press-Gazette

The poem begins:

Perry Horse said,
looking out to saguaro cactus, palo verde trees, bone-
white trunk of an eucalyptus tree, brown dryness of
desert, steep dirt sides of an arroyo,
“can you smell this place?
It smells different from your country with its trees, big
water, and winter’s deep cold.”
The arroyo channeled toward large skirts of a
mountain
that raised brown earth, dark rock into rare clouds
that looked as if they might hold rain.
Green smells of Tohono O’odham Nation were as
pale as trunks of the palo verde trees.

The last paragraph in the poem reads:

American has always been a nation of peoples, of
nations.
In desert air at night
stars hover bright and close to dark mountains
that shine and breathe
as we sing
into another time.

Davis, 74, lives in Sturgeon Bay and is the author of the award-winning novel 
“In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams,” and other works.
He still serves in leadership roles at several tribal colleges.

— kenne

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