Fort Peck Assiniboine Sioux member Jennifer K. Falcon says that as a writer seeking to be published, she is someone who struggles to be heard.
“We push for our voices to be heard, fight to be seen, to have a seat at the table. We are the most marginalized minority in the United States yet we are always an afterthought, in the newsroom, in politics, in literature, in music.”
Falcon also says Native people are not a stereotype.
“America wants to ignore us... until they want to use our culture to sell materialism to the masses, to honor us with words like Redskin, using our traditional headdresses for art, rewriting the rape culture of colonialism with a Disney princess who falls in love with her oppressor,” she says.
“Lines that have been drawn in our head and the land by others and ourselves growing up in a world where we fight to heal the generational trauma and cultural genocide that haunts our people because of colonization and forced assimilation.”
Currently, Falcon is working on a book of poetry. She offered a glimpse of her work to ICTMN.
I take my first step
over the invisible line.
out of the Reservation of my mind.
My beaded buckskin feet
erasing false borderlines.
We've always belonged to this land.
This too, is mine.
“This poem is from a larger collection called Diary of a Colonized Heart. It's about the constant struggle to deal with the border lines that we are often forced into as Indigenous people, especially Indigenous women.”
“You often have to be bold to speak up and teach,” says Falcon. “Sometimes even to your friends; that the struggle for justice is not always comfortable or easy but necessary for healing in our colonized communities. The strength to speak up and say, you do not honor me - when you misappropriate and dehumanize what is mine.”
Jennifer K. Falcon is an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine Sioux tribe who grew up in the relocation city Denver, Colorado. She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas. Jennifer is a journalist, activist, mother and director of Freeman V. Morton: A Native American Civil Rights Documentary. You can follow her on Twitter at @yourmomentofjen.