Indigenous people are storytellers. We create new worlds from the ones that were stolen from us post-contact in our shared post-apocalypse. Whether those worlds are an NDN Utopia five hundred years into the future or the story of Queer love in the past, we tell each other stories to share our joys and our grief, to impart knowledge robbed from us by colonialism, or simply just to pass the time. We tell stories to friends, family, lovers or just to ourselves, daydreaming the past and the future into the present. Henry Heavyshield writes in "My Brother, Om’ahkokata (gopher)",
“During the frozen and slumbering
moons these are the days we
collectively dream about.”
In this issue, these writers dream of new beginnings and old teachings, new and old traditions of thought and language, of translation. These stories are complex and layered, not simply one thing, and certainly not always noble or pure. There are stories of disconnection from ourselves and/or our heritage, stories in which characters make terrible choices in order to hold onto the parts of themselves that they keep in the dark. In these stories, characters have gambling debts, chase apparitions and deal with living monsters but also have the chance to be tender in their existences.
Micah Favel asks, “Where are the hands of those who have come before?”
Perhaps those hands live in our stories, in the poems written on our bodies. We are all such different people with different traditions spanning millennia, and yet, when we convene, we are more powerful than the forces that try to silence us. This special issue of The Ex-Puritan is proof of that power.
To all my relations,