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Inmates seeking ceremonial instruments

I am an inmate in the federal prison system. It has come to my attention that it is becoming harder and harder to express ourselves as Native people, as citizens of individual nations and tribes. We are expected to be one people, at the expense of our distinct cultural differences. It is understandable that we must share a place of worship, but there is also a need for the basic tools of worship for the people of different nations that are incarcerated.

[Lack of] funding is partly to blame. The other parts fall to us, both on the inside and out. We need help. We need the voice of the people to speak on our behalf. The federal system is set up so that your brothers and sisters will come back. There is no real hope for those who have no traditional upbringing. Without a strong foundation to stand on, we will lose our cultures and identities.

We are still Native people. Please contact your closest elders and ask them how you can help. Contact your local politician and prison and ask how you can donate herbs, instruments, rattles or drums. How can you donate your time, but also, how can you help your people?

Thank you for giving us a voice.

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- Percy A. Kristo

Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) PekinPekin, Ill.