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Bears. Shouldn't. Attack.

This is how I feel about the brouhaha stirred up in regards to anti-rape nail polish, and several other common sense pointers in the interest of practicing self preservation and safety.  
Five Ways to Avoid Bear Attacks
First of all, I’d just like to say that the following list of how to avoid bear attacks is outrageous! It isn't the responsibility of the mauled victim nor in their individual power alone to prevent violent bear attacks; it's the responsibility of the culture of the forest and of the wild animals! Don’t blame the victim! It is the fault of the bears! Teach bears not to attack hikers and campers! Disregard all of the following guidelines when hiking and camping in National Parks! The onus of responsibility for vicious animal attacks isn’t on you!

1. Never hike alone, scare it off before it sees you, and stop using bells.

Of course you should hike solo! It’s your inalienable right to intrude upon the habitat of wild animals. You should hike and camp alone as much and as often as possible, and if you should spot a bear don’t worry about it. If it comes near you, just let it, and if it attacks you, it was probably meant to be. It’s not your responsibility to protect yourself.

2. If you do see a bear, don’t make eye contact, speak softly and make yourself appear physically harmless.

Remember, in the spirit of empowerment, it’s not you who needs to avoid the bear, who by the way weighs upwards of 500 pounds and can shred your flesh like a hot knife through butter, the bear should avoid you. Stand your ground! Look it in the eyes, holler obscenities at it and make yourself appear as threatening as possible.

3. If the bear appears to be aggravated (lowered ears, rocking its head side to side, huffing), grab your bear mace, which should be packed accessibly, and back away slowly.

Bear Mace?! What kind of nonsense is that?! Why don’t you just pack an AK-47 assault rifle while you’re at it! Weapons are meant for crazy red state gun nuts and don’t have any place among forest culture. You are a peaceful person, a pacifist. It isn’t your responsibility to protect yourself! It’s your responsibility to be a victim!

4. If the bear does start to approach or begins to stalk you as you retreat, use the mace and/or make large gestures with your hands and nearby sticks to appear threatening.

Once again, it isn’t your responsibility to use a weapon, or discourage an attacking bear by waving your arms or throwing sticks. The bear should not attack.

5. If the charge is the rare attack—and you haven’t been able to mace the bear–keep your backpack on, protect your head, chest and stomach, and roll with the punches.

I’m very sorry that this horrifying and life altering bear attack has happened to you, while you were hiking alone, with no weapon, no means to protect yourself, in a hostile and uncompromising wilderness. It’s not your fault. Always remember, and repeat as often as possible until its meme is as looped inside of your mind and makes as much sense as God Bless America: Bears. Should. Not. Attack.  

Ten Books Challenge


1. Are You There God, It's Me Margaret (because that's what all the girls were reading and whispering and giggling about and reading certain parts out loud at slumber parties because it was a book that talked about things that no one much ever talked about and we were becoming of age and our bodies were acting weird and we probably felt like freaks and we identified with Margaret's confusion and fear and wonder and it comforted us.

2. The Little House Books. Yes, Laura Ingals, and Mary and Ma and Pa and Mr. Edward and all of them. Didn't we all have the boxed set? The series? I still have them. So many parts stay with me today: Ma's china figurine. Pa's fiddle. Playing catch with a pig's bladder. Making candy by pouring molasses designs in the snow. The corn cob doll. And then the later years, after Laura grows up. And then there was the TV series! My whole family gathered together and watched.

3. Romeo and Juliet. I don't remember my seventh grade language arts teacher's name who taught Romeo and Juliet, but I remember its impact. I'd always liked theater, my father was a devoted theater actor, and the tragic love story and the wall between lovers is such a universal and timeless theme that the story will always strike a chord with teens and is so representative of so many of their struggles and passionate sense of the world, and of love.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird. This was high school assigned reading and you read it all in just a couple of sittings. You binge read it before binge reading was a thing. You had never been to the south, you couldn't fathom its time period, its separate rules for black and for whites, but the story was so beautifully written and its lessons so obscured by that beautiful writing that you weren't aware that you were ingesting morality lessons or processing a understanding of ethical standards and human rights.

5. Go Ask Alice. It was a real girl's diary and she was drifting away from any family life she might have had, and she was descending into a druggie oblivion and backstabbers and boyfriends until nothing made any sense. And its premise was Alice in Wonderland falling down the rabbit hole. There are still copies available at Barnes and Noble.

6. The Outsiders. Stay gold, Pony Boy. A story about misfits and orphans and the rivalry between the greasers and socs. It could be a Romeo and Juliet, walls between lovers remix. Or West Side Story. It was written by a woman, S.E. Hinton, who like J.K. Rowling gender ambigufied her pen name to be taken seriously. Bastards. I liked The Outsiders because it told a story about alienation and desperation, and also deep friendship and familial devotion.

7. Flowers in the Attic. What is it about these books that kept us reading past midnight and kept us wanting for more? They were terribly written, the ideas precious and trite. Was that they struck the archtypal chords of fairy tale narratives? Narratives that we all knew so well from growing up on a steady diet of them? Princesses locked in attics, wicked (step)mothers and monarchal figures like a wicked queen (the grandmother), handsome princes? Or was it the sexual tension between Cathy and her brother Chris?

8.The Day no Pigs Would Die. This wasn't the idyllic portrait of farm life like we read in Laura Ingals Wilder's book Farmer Boy. No, this was brutal, and stark and likely to trigger PTSD, as it did for me the second time I read it in a college class. Come to think of it, Charlotte's Web and Where the Red Fern Grows also contain major trauma potential. Why are we making children read these? No wonder we switched to fantasy and witchcraft books for kids.

9. Forever. Katherine and Michael embark on a sensual relationship replete with visits to the gynecologist, discussions about "Ralph" and anything else appropriate for a first-time-lovers instruction kit. Even the disturbing question offered to Katherine by her doctor: Have you thought about how this relationship will end? End? Katherine and Michael are "Forever." They're in love, what does that even mean?  

10. The Effect of the Gamma Rays on the Man in the Moon Marigolds. A play by Paul Zindel about a house full of seriously strange women. What could I do? Identify with just one? Or all? Was I oversexed, loudmouthed, "running around campus in her brassier, Ruth? Or was I socially introverted science geek Tilly. Sometimes I wanted to be Janice, who got a dead cat from animal control, boiled it "until the gristle fell right off" and reconstructed the bones back together for her science fair project. I still have memorized Janice's speech--and wonder if she were real, where would she be today?

Aug. 26th, 2014

Channeling my inner Wonder-Chola.

wonder chola

Paul McMillon 'Day of the Dead'

Black Eyed Peas Treaties Challenge from Bryan Bearhart:

What are 1800s Rock and R&B Bands?


                                                                  by Tiffany Midge

1. Manifest Destiny's Child: their fame was preordained, an act of Goddess.

2. Grateful Fry Bread.

3. Johnny Winter Count.

4. Three Rez Dog Night.

5. The Indian Village People.

6. The Tribal Police.

7. Lynyrd Skyns.

9. Tom Petty & the Fat Takers.

10. The Moody Blue Coats.

11. Buffalo Meat Loaf.

12. Windigo Girls.

13. Taylor Swift Arrow vs Britney Many Spears vs David Bowie Knife

14. The Commod-bod-ores

15. The Wanna Bee Gees.

16. Styx Game.

17. Dire Bering Straights.

18. SiouxperTramp.

19. Thomas Jefferson Airship & the Indian Removals.

20. Cheap Trickster.

21. Earth, Wind & Firewater.

22. Black Hills Sabbath.

23. Sonny & Cher-okie.

24. The Andrew Jackson Five.

25. Blood, Sweat &Trail of Tears. (Blood, Sweatlodge & Tears)

26. Cherokee Prince & the Purple Rain Dancers.

27. Buffalo Nickelback

                                 (Windigo Girls courtesy of Steve Hapy)


When I Think About Mother's Day...

When I think about mothers I think about all of the ways which they sacrifice for the good of the ones they care for.  And I think about this example of my own mom, which is not so terribly remarkable or elegant, but for me, a quite salient demonstration of her mothering.  When she cooked chicken dinner for her husband and two kids--dinner which she shopped for, prepared and cleaned up after, a daily chore she administered in addition to cleaning and keeping us all in fresh clothes, and a hundred other things she took care of, all of which followed her 40 hour a week job; the one thing that personifies her sacrifice and caring the most, in my mind, is that when we sat down for her chicken dinner, our father had first pick of the bird, and always took the breasts, we children always took the legs and thighs, and our mother was left with the wings and back.

The Writing Process Blog Tour

Tiff2005 copy

Thank you to Heid E. Erdrich for her invitation to add my few cents into the mix.  I've enjoyed reading the responses, such as the incomparable R. Vincent Moniz, Jr. and Trevino Brings Plenty.  Heid, Vince and Trevino are all writers I've had the pleasure to share the stage with, thanks to Bao Phi and The Loft Equilibrium Series

Now, here's the questions:

1. What are you working on?

Several things within the last few months.  I tend to alternate what I'm working on from week to week, day to day.  I have a young adult novel that I'm polishing, "I Can't Hear You Over the Sound of How Awesome I Am."  I have a memoir about my daze working in the theater and my relationship with my father called "If Sam Shepard Was Here Right Now He'd Shit his Fucking Pants."  And a novel about the suckiness and stickiness of love and romance called "How to Write the Great American (Tentacle Porn) Novel (thanks to Jordi Alonso for helping me with the title).  I also have a poem manuscript(s) "The Monster's Bride Questions the Motives of her Creator," and Natanya Pulley and I are working towards putting out a Native humor anthology, "Good Medicine."  I am looking forward to my manuscript "The Woman Who Married a Bear" (thanks to Janet McAdams, and The Kenyon Review, it won the Earthworks Indigenous Poetry Prize) coming out at some point, but it is still looking for a press.

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?

I might best characterize my work as irreverent, humorous, a curious marriage between the expected and the unexpected; my attempts to defamiliarize the familiar, and mostly I want my stuff to be enjoyable to read!  Enjoyable and entertaining for listeners to hear being read.  I have a short attention span.  I just want to be entertained.  I say that half in jest, but also there's truth to it.  I don't want to perform the Native American Genocide Road Show anymore.  I put my years in wearing that hat, I might come back to it, I might not.  I don't want to minimize the critical relevance to those studies, or their effect on current atrocities, and the need to inform and create awareness and contribute to the collective dialog, raise the consciousness of the national and global conversation, but I don't want to write about the unconscionable acts of humankind.  It's too depressing.  It feels like lashes from a whip.  But I realize there are audiences who are coming brand new to these histories, college students and such, and I believe in the necessity of learning and understanding the history, as horrific as it is.  And this is where art comes in, it transcends all of that, and enables atrocity to be approached from a different perspective, a different angle.  My creative work reaches for those perspectives, seeks to bring those discussions into sharp relief, but entered from another doorway.

3. Why do you write what you do?

Writing is a medium which enables the manifestation, the realization of stories.  It's a way to synthesize narrative and experience to entertain, enlighten, heal, learn and teach.  For the writer, the act of telling holds a beautiful kind of magic, it's a sensory parade blending memory, feelings, consciousness, towards a place akin to where practitioners of transcendental meditation strive for--or long distance runners.  It doesn't happen all of the time, at least for myself, because I'm not disciplined enough, but I practice writing often enough to know that time ceases to exist, hours mysteriously disappear.  I don't know why I write what I do, but it is easy enough to say that it's my long distance running, it's my meditation process. And I want to add my voice, my experience, to the collective.  Geez, esoteric, much?

4. How does your writing process work?

Fits and starts.  Now I sound like an epileptic.  I make notes.  A lot of notes.  And they're composed in a lot of different places.  On my word processor.  On my blogs.  In my various notebooks I have lying around.  On my Twitter feed and on my Facebook.  And in my email account.  I also have an Alpha Smart, just to further complicate everything.  I dump all of the notes from all of the unreliable and reliable sources, into a word document, and then print it out.  Then I will begin structuring it from the hard copy.  Adding, deleting, refining, inverting, cutting and pasting... Shaping the scaffolding from the raw material is the most frightening and the most exhilarating aspect of the process.  Beyond that it's about commitment and submission.  Committing to your decisions about the characters, the hows and whats and ifs of the story, and submitting to the uncertainty of those decisions.  There will always be a better way to develop a scene, or an exposition, or a piece of dialog, always, but can you live with what you have for the moment?  There is always a better way.  But just decide that it's good enough, otherwise you'll be honing and polishing it for the rest of your life.  I've never worked with an editor before.  And you can tell if a book has been well edited or not. At least I can.  I would like to work with a good editor.  One day, I hope I can.


Natanya Ann Pulley

Natanya Ann Pulley is half-Navajo, born Kiiyaa’aanii (Towering House Clan). Shicheii is Tachiinii (Red Running Into Water Clan).

Natanya is a writer of fiction and non-fiction with outbreaks in poetry. She fancies collage as well. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of South Dakota and teaches Creative Writing. Her fields of interest include: Narrative Theory, Disabilities Theory, Horror/Monster Theory, Graphic Novel Studies, Native American Literature, and New Media and Experimental texts. Natanya is also the Fiction Editor of South Dakota Review.

She is a pack animal and shares her home in Vermillion, SD, with her husband JP and two dogs (Mojo and Voodoo). She attempts cooking from time to time, but mostly reads, writes, watches both good and bad TV and loves Scrabble games on her robot phone. Natanya is plugged in.

Continue the International Blog Tour with Paula Coomer, paula coomerauthor of Dove Creek, published by Booktrope in 2010 and featured title at the 2011 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Fall Tradeshow; Summer of Government Cheese was re-released by Booktrope in 2011; A second book of poems, Nurses Who Love English,from Stephen F. Austin University Press; and Blue Moon Vegetarian, also by Booktrope.

Chase and Status Video

end of the trail

I thought this video was completely cinematic and beautiful and harrowing and it had me right up until the last scene.

While rooted in reality, images of dead Indians dying tragic and senseless deaths are images and impressions fixed on a loop and they become reinforced again and again in the collective consciousness. This video conveys the idea that Indians are tragic, will always be tragic and no amount of sobriety or spirituality will atone for it.

But maybe that's the point. And maybe I have to be a rez Indian to get it. I heard one Indian writer once say that his bio should read 'From the land of poverty porn,' and that's the direction this video went for me. If that last shot wasn't a shot of a tragic, dead Indian, at the end of the trail, atoning for the death of a beautiful Indian girl, I would have fell in love in with it. But it went there and ruined it.

Yet, maybe people need to be reminded how stark and seemingly hopeless the situation is -- maybe people need to comprehend the darkest consequences of colonialism and maybe this video illustrates that, effectively, provocatively, albeit

The indelible portrait of the American Indian as tragic fits into the culture of victimhood; that Native identity is credible only under circumstances of impoverishment or one's exposure and proximity to impoverishment, and it's a portrait I'm resistant to accept.

It's just one part of the whole picture. But it's a picture held hostage in the world's imagination. I want another portrait to share, so that the world will know we're not actually dead, and even though the song's refrain echoes 'I'm Alive,' it becomes lost in the horror and contradiction of that last terrible image.

Casting Your Purls Before Swine


An artist and self proclaimed craftactivist is knitting with her vagina in order to bring about awareness of feminist issues and also to create an awareness of body acceptance. She isn’t exactly knitting WITH her vagina—for the more literal minded reader—but is using her vagina to hold the ball of yarn.   ',

Her craftactivism is leaving a wooly taste in some people’s mouths and they aren’t a bit sheepish about expressing their distaste. But darn it! I think she’s sew cool and brave albeit an exhibitionist (she isn’t wearing any pants and people have pointed out that she’s hairy down there), but it’s a great statement.

Some people might think she’s just a spinning self important hogwash, but she certainly isn’t sitting at home woolgathering. Instead she’s right out in pubic public arena making a difference and laying bare her notions of feminism and activism, adding on to the conversation, and casting off her voice.

Two causes that I happen to care about are lactivism –making breast feeding an acceptable and normal part of every day life in society –and intactivism—to end genital mutilation. If either of these causes could be expressed through a craft, like knitting, haberdashery, millinery, or basket weaving perhaps this would result in greater awareness and action.

Some people in the comments section of the article were grossed out by where the yarn originated. Would that scarf be washed before it was gifted to a recipient? Let's say the vagina knitter made a hat--would it be dry cleaned? Is such an item sanitary? If the wool for a scarf originated from someone’s asshole I might think 'holy crap! butt from a perfectly good vagina? Is it menstrual? I’m not sure. I imagine items are washed first. Could I get AIDS from a hat? Will I attract sharks or stray dogs? These are normal and reasonable concerns, even if a bit knit-picky. And here’s my take:

A dyed in the wool truck driver once left me a message on my answering machine after I wrote a letter to the editor in response to truckers barnstorming downtown celebrating the Iraqi conquest: 'lady, everything you eat, drink, use, came offa truck.' That sums up the vagina knitting, everything we are, and much of what we eat (if we're carnivores) came outa lady parts. So why so squeamish?

Still Lifes I Love

Paul McMillon 'Day of the Dead

Rob Schouten "Silent Chimes"

Perfectly Pink. It's a color, no it's a mood, no it's a scent . . . wait, I need to tweet this right now!

Stick it Jesus.

A very, very sad day at the doll hospital.

I would never use a body wash labeled as "Mystery Scent" unless
it was Scooby-Doo body wash.

You can stay home in your pink kitchen and cook, or you can type and file and answer the phone in your pink office. But it has to be pink. Any questions?

Truth in advertising:  The pink bottle says, New Lucky Feminine Wash --
for when, you know, you get lucky.  TMI.

Hey gals, you can be Freddy Kruger's girlfriend. Comes with 'tissues', ew.

Dude, so gonna try this with poppy seed muffins.

Dial 3D: Why bother with 2D when you can have soap COMING RIGHT ATCHOO.

Color Eazy or Color Lazy?  Either way I sound like a whore.

This hand held grater rapes cheese. It's a raper. Call 911. My cheese is being assaulted.

Finally, something to aid my butt.