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Joy Harjo prays for her enemies

US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo joins us to talk about her new album and friend of the show Holly Cook Macarro has more details on the big week in our nation's capital.

Joy Harjo, Mvskoke Creek nation, has a new album. I Pray for My Enemies is out on Sunyata Records--Sony Orchard Distribution. She’s our nation’s twenty-third Poet Laureate, and the second poet to be appointed a third term to this poetic post.

Holly Cook Macarro, Red Lake Ojibwe, is a regular contributor to Indian Country Today. She’s a partner with Spirit Rock Consulting and on today's show she'll be discussing many of the big things happening in our nation's capital.

A slice of our Indigenous world

  • Hours after making history by becoming the first American Indian to be confirmed as a cabinet member, Representative Deb Haaland gave an emotional farewell speech on the House floor. 
  • The men known as the “Fairbanks Four” will be able to sue the city of Fairbanks, Alaska.
  • A tribe in southern Alabama finds itself in the middle of a debate over the removal of coal ash from a plant in southwest Alabama.
  • To help NASA’s mission team identify landmarks on Mars, the Perseverance Rover is beaming back images that are being given nicknames in the Navajo language.
  • Facebook phishing scams are targeting Indigenous artists' business pages.

You'll find more details on these stories at the top of today's newscast.

Some quotes from today's show.

Joy Harjo:

"That's why I could do it is because my schedule, I was to be traveling every week. And during the pandemic, I've completed three projects, the album, a memoir that will be out in the fall called Poet Warrior: A Call for Love and Justice and second Norton anthology and a year of contemporary Native poets called Living Nations, Living Words: A Collection of First Peoples Poetry, which is part of my poet laureate project at the library of Congress."

Joy Harjo Album Cover small

"I'm really excited about this album. Of course, I was raring to go after 10 years. I'd been writing songs of course, and performing and all that. But I got together, I have a friend Barrett Martin, who was a co-producer and he said, hey I have a week. We can do foundation tracks. Do you want to do your album up in Port Townsend? So we took off up there and and then they came to hang down here and we got it done, I'm excited about it. It's got a lot of very Mvskokian type songs on there and references. And I like to have fun too. I always put in tracks or a track or two. I try to have fun with everything I do. Even the challenges."

"I said you know I go out to all these places and I want a song that I can sing to people. And he's like the song encyclopedia for at least our ceremonial ground, our people. And so he taught me this song and of course I did my own thing with it, but it's a good one to start this off with, because it's to say here we are, and it's a good day and welcome and let's dance."

Holly Cook Macarro:

"It's seems like an understatement to say that it's huge, but we have so many things happening. Obviously our focus has been on Deb's confirmation and the final Senate vote on Monday. We had that terrific celebration where Deb, Secretary Haaland, it feels so great to say that. And Congressman Sharice Davids, and several members of the congressman's family joined on Monday."

"And that was really a terrific celebration. She was sworn in yesterday afternoon by her chief of staff Jennifer VanDerHeide who many of us know she was the longtime chief of staff to Mike Honda. Formerly worked for a tribe in Northern California as well, has a long history in Indian Country. And we'll be going with her and serving as chief of staff at the department of Interior as well. So she's been a terrific partner, I think, to all of Indian Country that's been supporting this and, and a big shout out to Jennifer VanDerHeide as well."

So that was the official swearing in she walked through the doors this morning and began work as the 54th Secretary and the first Native American at the department of Interior and tomorrow afternoon she will be doing the ceremonial swearing in where Vice President Kamala Harris will swear her in. I'm unclear on the time, but Secretary Haaland's daughter Somáh is going to be streaming it live on Instagram. So I would keep an eye out for that. It's usually very quick, very short, but still I think will be something to see."  

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Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock, is editor of Indian Country Today. On Twitter: @TrahantReports Trahant is based in Phoenix.

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