Yellow Medicine Review: The Wide Open Issure

Indigenous writers, young, old, established, emerging, traditional, urban, two spirt, academic, incarcerated, are brought together in the Spring 2021 issue of Yellow Medicine Review. 

We are sharing our voices, our best words, the thing we do in our community.

The Spring 2021 issue includes work by Judi Armbruster, Celia Bland, Linda Boyden, Vivian Mary Carroll, Carla Crujido, Jeffery U. Darensbourg, Dr. Deidra Suwanee Dees, Stacie Denetsosie, Zoe Antoinette Eddy, Ines, Hernandez-Avila, Chelsea T. Hicks, Geary Hobson, Kylie Gemmel, Elaine Gerard, Vincent F. A. Golphin, Lea Graham, Gabor G. Gyukics, Stephen Graham Jones, Denise K. Lajimodiere, Randi LeClair, Tonya Holy Elk Locklear, Maiah A. Merino, Tiffany Midge, Devon A. Mihesuah, Ellie Mitchell, Ruby Hansen Murray, Shaina A. Nez, Gus Palmer, Jr., Shantell Powell, Ron Riekki, Ralph Salisbury, Tom Tovar, Terra Trevor, Arianne True, Jay Hansford C. Vest, Richard Arlin Walker, and Kaana Watchman. 

Cover art by Aakatchaq Schaeffer.

River, Blood, And Corn Literary Journal

 At River, Blood, And Corn, we are promoting community and strengthening cultures with storytelling, poetry and prose. Established in 2010 by Native writers, our starting point and our goal, is to honor the work and lifeways of Lee Francis III, Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers, to ensure the voices of Native writers and storytellers are heard throughout the world. 

Our primary focus is Indigenous writers, and we have woven writers and artists from a variety of ethnicities and communities into our pages here. We invite you to visit our "Community of Voices" links to writers, poets and artists. 

Visit our archives, book links and other links featured. Perhaps people of many ethnicities, including recent immigrants from throughout the Americas as well as other parts of the world will find something in this collection that will speak to them with respect to issues of race, identity, culture, community, and representation. 

The Race Card

by Dawn Downey 
I wait for my husband, Ben, to join me inside the hardware store. Because hardware nerds munch while browsing, I grab myself a bag of Cheetos off the junk food shelf. The cashier is engrossed in a magazine, but sees me through the eyes in the back of his head. He scans the bag and turns the page simultaneously. “Dollar seventy-three,” he says to his magazine, then shoves the cash into the drawer. “Want your receipt?” he asks the cash register. 
On behalf of the register, I say, “No thanks.” 
Lousy service will not be allowed to ruin my Tuesday with Ben. When he comes in, we meander to housewares, on the hunt for picture hooks. No hooks in sight, but they do have a spiffy pop-open laundry hamper, which I snatch up. 
We examine a red wagon and some bicycle tires. Total browsing satisfaction awaits over in automotive, plumbing, and possibly electrical supplies. Nothing beats a Cheeto-crunching tour of electrical-- 
A sales associate is creeping toward us. Half a mile away, he hesitates. “Hello?” 
The same greeting had frequently floated my way across a tony department store. "Hello?" The unspoken questions trailing like cigar smoke: Are you lost? May I direct you back to the ghetto? 

Ben says, “Hi, we’re looking for hooks.” 

Dawn Downey writes essays about her journey through everyday life. She is the author of Blindsided: Essays from the Only Black Woman in the Room, Searching for My Heart, From Dawn to Daylight, and Stumbling Toward the Buddha. 
Visit Dawn at

Race, Ethnicity and My Face

by Terra Trevor

As a woman of Cherokee, Lenape, Seneca, German ancestry, I came of age understanding that I'm not totally white nor am I totally Native. I'm a border woman dwelling between the boundaries. 

I have light skin, light enough that some people think I’m totally white. My dad, a Native man, and my mother, a white woman, had me when they were teenagers. We lived in a mixed-race community in Los Angeles throughout the 1950s and 60s. The family next door was Bolivian and they loved me like a daughter. My best friend was Japanese and Mexican. Still, when I was 10 years-old, my dad sat me down to have “the talk” with me about race. He told me about how to navigate the streets, about how to stay safe. He wanted to make sure I understood that in order to be accepted by certain white people it mattered who your friends were. By that point, however, I already knew. 
I had discovered that when I went to play at the houses of my white friends after school I needed to be aware of how I was holding myself at all times. I learned to stay alert and watch for clues: sometimes there might be an older brother who pulled his eyes in an upward slant and said something mean about Chinese people; or a father that casually spouted racial slurs at people of color. When this happened, I knew I had to make an excuse to go home and I’d never go back. 

Terra Trevor is a contributor to 15 books, the author of two memoirs, and more than 1000 essays and articles. Her stories illuminate our humanity, remind us to be open, to connect, to hope, to question, or bring change. Visit Terra at

Home Rocks

by Kim Shuck

This morning I hear the singing 
One mountain to another 
Across valley and piped creek 
Tumbling in culvert 
Translating water into 
Serpentine thoughts 
When they moved the star map 
I could hear her singing 
Can hear her singing now 
Can hear her learning 
Granite story 
Heat and cooling 
We are all stories in series 
The water we are 
The water that has carried us 
Has carried stone 
Has cracked a surface has 
Sung through the culverts 
Another kind of mapping of 
A travel story a 
Song of staying and of 
A song called across this valley from this mountain to another 
A scatter 
A collection 
I found a scrap of you 
Wrenched from your hill 
Mounted on a museum wall 
We sang quiet songs to one other 
All afternoon 
Dissident rocks that we are 
Just today I could hear our home hills 
The waters that polished us 
Humming an answer

Copyright Kim Shuck. All rights reserved.

Kim Shuck, a native of San Francisco whose work explores her multiethnic roots, is San Francisco’s seventh poet laureate. 

A lifelong resident of San Francisco, Shuck lives in the Castro district. Her poetry collections include Clouds Running InRabbit Stories, Smuggling Cherokee and Deer Trails. Shuck also teaches at the California College of Art, in the diversity department, and has taught at San Francisco State University. She has volunteered in San Francisco Unified School District classrooms for two decades.

Yellow Medicine Review

"Women's Wisdom, Women's Strength" Issue. Guest edited by CMarie Fuhrman. 
Cover art: MAESTRAPEACE, detail of the Healing Panel, mural on The San Francisco Women's Building, 18th and Valencia Streets, by Juana Alicia, Miranda Bergman, Edythe Boone, Susan Cervantes, Meera Desai, Yvonne Littleton and Irene Perez. 
Contributors include Julian Ankney, Tacey M. Atsitty, Dawn Pichon Barron, Esther G. Belin, Kimberly Blaeser, Linda Boyden, Dr. Deidra Suwanee Dees, Marisa Duarte, Zoe Antoinette Eddy, Sarah Christine Hennessey, Lance Henson, Ines Hernandez-Avila, Boderra Joe, Bryan Kamaoli Kuwada, Manny Loley, Amber McCrary, Ruby Hansen Murray, Elise Paschen, Beth Piatote, Ursula Pike, Vivian Faith Prescott, Suzanne Rancourt, Marcie Rendon, C.R. Resetarits, Barbara Robidoux, Kim Shuck, Beverly Singer, Angel Sobotta, w.C.Sy / waaseyaa'sin Christine Sy, Jonathan Taylor, Tavia Torralba, Terra Trevor, J.K. Tsosie, Angie Trudell Vasquez, Steven Warren, Kyle White, Kimberly Gail Wieser, and Ray Young Bear.

Yellow Medicine Review A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art, and Thought 

When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through

Edited by Joy Harjo; Published in 2020 Publisher: W. W. Norton and Company

Take a Stand: Art Against Hate

A Raven Chronicles Anthology

Take a Stand: Art Against Hate

“The poems and stories in this anthology offer necessary anecdotes against hate. They are inscription, instruction, witness, warning, remedy, solution, even solace. This anthology is relief.” 
 —Diane Glancy 
Winner of an Amerian Book Award and the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry 

“We can regard Take a Stand: Art Against Hate as a print-form peace march, an ongoing campaign for justice for all of the struggles embodied in these writings and depicted in the artwork included here.” 
 —Carolyne Wright
co-editor of Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workspace

Take a Stand: Art Against Hate, A Raven Chronicles Anthology, edited by Seattle-based writers Anna Balint, Phoebe Bosche, and Thomas Hubbard, contains poems, stories and images from 117 writers, 53 artists, with 69 illustrations, divided into five fluid and intersecting sections: LegaciesWe Are HereWhy?Evidence, and Resistance. We begin with Legacies because the current increased climate of hate in this country didn’t begin with the 2016 election, and to find its roots we must look to U.S. history.

Tending the Fire: Native Voices and Portraits

University of New Mexico Press

Tending the Fire by photographer Christopher Felver with an Introduction by Linda Hogan and a foreword by Simon J. Ortiz, celebrates the poets and writers who represent the wide range of Native American voices in literature today. In these commanding portraits, Felver’s distinctive visual signature and unobtrusive presence capture each artist’s strength, integrity, and character. Accompanying each portrait is a handwritten poem or prose piece that helps reveal the origin of the poet’s language and legends.

As the individuals share their unique voices, Tending the Fire introduces us to the diversity and complexity of Native culture through the authors’ generous and passionate stories, reminding us that “Native Americans today are as modern as the Space Age, and each in their own way carries forth the cultural heritage ‘from whence they came.’ Their abiding legacy as the first people of this continent has found its voice in the hard-won wisdom of their art and activism.

Featured Authors: Francisco X. Alarcón; Sherman Alexie; Indira Allegra; Paula Gunn Allen; Crisosto Apache; Annette Arkeketa; Jimmy Santiago Baca; Dennis Banks; Jim Barnes; Kimberly L. Becker; Duane Big Eagle; Sherwin Bitsui; Julian Talamantez Brolaski; Lauralee Brown; Joseph Bruchac; Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle; Elizabeth Cook-Lynn; Jonny Cournoyer; Alice Crow; Lucille Lang Day; Susan Deer Cloud; Ramona Emerson; Heid E. Erdrich; Louise Erdrich ; Pura Fé; Jennifer Elise Foerster; Eric Gansworth; Diane Glancy; Jewelle Gomez; Rain Gomez; Sequoyah Guess; Q.R. Hand, Jr.; Joy Harjo; Allison Hedge Coke; Travis Hedge Coke; Lance Henson; Trace Lara Hentz; Inés Hernández-Avila; Charlie Hill; Roberta Hill; Geary Hobson; Linda Hogan; LeAnne Howe; Andrew Jolivétte; em jollie; Joan Naviyuk Kane; Maurice Kenny; Bruce King; Sharmagne Leland-St.John; Chip Livingston; Charly Lowry; James Luna; Lee Marmon; Molly McGlennen; Russell Means; Deborah Miranda; Gail Mitchell; N. Scott Momaday; Catherine Nelson-Rodriguez; Linda Noel; dg nanouk okpik; Simon J. Ortiz; Laura Ortman; A. Kay Oxendine; Juanita Pahdopony; Evan Pritchard; Mary Grace Pewewardy; Ishmael Reed; Martha Redbone; Bobby J. Richardson; Ladonna Evans Richardson; Barbara Robidoux; Linda Rodriguez; Wendy Rose; Kurt Schweigman; Kim Shuck; Cedar Sigo; Leslie Marmon Silko; Arigon Starr; James Thomas Stevens; Inés Talamantez; Luci Tapahanso; Nazbah Tom; Cecil Taylor; Rebecca Hatcher Travis; David Treuer; Terra Trevor; Quincy Troupe; John Trudell; Gerald Vizenor; Elissa Washuta; Floyd Redcrow Westerman; Orlando White; Kim Wieser; Diane Wilson; Elizabeth A. Woody

Sing Poetry from the Indigenous Americas

The University of Arizona Press

Editor and poet Allison Adelle Hedge Coke assembles this multilingual collection of Indigenous American poetry, joining voices old and new in songs of witness and reclamation. Unprecedented in scope, Sing Poetry from the Indigenous Americas gathers more than eighty poets from across the Americas, covering territory that stretches from Alaska to Chile, and features familiar names like Sherwin Bitsui, Louise Erdrich, Joy Harjo, Lee Maracle, and Simon Ortiz alongside international poets—both emerging and acclaimed—from regions underrepresented in anthologies. 
They write from disparate zones and parallel experience, from lands of mounded earthwork long-since paved, from lands of ancient ball courts and the first great cities on the continents, from places of cold, from places of volcanic loam, from zones of erased history and ongoing armed conflict, where “postcolonial” is not an academic concept but a lived reality. As befits a volume of such geographical inclusivity, many poems here appear in multiple languages, translated by fellow poets and writers like Juan Felipe Herrera and Cristina Eisenberg. 
Hedge Coke’s thematic organization of the poems gives them an added resonance and continuity, and readers will appreciate the story of the genesis of this project related in Hedge Coke’s deeply felt introduction, which details her experiences as an invited performer at several international poetry festivals. Sing is a journey compelled by the exploration of kinship and the desire for songs that open “pathways of return.”

Children of the Dragonfly: Native American Voices on Child Custody and Education

The University of Arizona Press

Native American children have long been subject to removal from their homes for placement in residential schools and, more recently, in foster or adoptive homes. The governments of both the United States and Canada, having reduced Native nations to the legal status of dependent children, historically have asserted a surrogate parentalism over Native children themselves.

Children of the Dragonflyedited by Robert Bensen, is the first anthology to document this struggle for cultural survival on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border. Through autobiography and interviews, fiction and traditional tales, official transcripts and poetry, these voices— Seneca, Cherokee, Mohawk, Navajo, and many others— weave powerful accounts of struggle and loss into a moving testimony to perseverance and survival. 

Invoking the dragonfly spirit of Zuni legend who helps children restore a way of life that has been taken from them, the anthology explores the breadth of the conflict about Native childhood.

Included are works of contemporary authors Joy Harjo, Luci Tapahonso, and others; classic writers Zitkala-Sa and E. Pauline Johnson; and contributions from twenty important new writers as well. They take readers from the boarding school movement of the 1870s to the Sixties Scoop in Canada and the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 in the United States. They also spotlight the tragic consequences of racist practices such as the suppression of Indian identity in government schools and the campaign against Indian childbearing through involuntary sterilization.

Part 1. Traditional Stories and Lives
Severt Young Bear (Lakota) and R. D. Theisz, To Say "Child"
Zitkala-Sa (Yankton Sioux), The Toad and the Boy
Delia Oshogay (Chippewa), Oshkikwe's Baby
Michele Dean Stock (Seneca), The Seven Dancers
Mary Ulmer Chiltoskey (Cherokee), Goldilocks Thereafter
Marietta Brady (Navajo), Two Stories

Part 2. Boarding and Residential Schools
Embe (Marianna Burgess), from Stiya: or, a Carlisle Indian Girl at Home
Black Bear (Blackfeet), Who Am I?
E. Pauline Johnson (Mohawk), As It Was in the Beginning
Lee Maracle (Stoh:lo), Black Robes
Gordon D. Henry, Jr. (White Earth Chippewa), The Prisoner of Haiku
Luci Tapahonso (Navajo), The Snakeman
Joy Harjo (Muskogee), The Woman Who Fell from the Sky

Part 3. Child Welfare and Health Services
Problems That American Indian Families Face in Raising Their Children, United States Senate, April 8 and 9, 1974
Mary TallMountain (Athabaskan), Five Poems
Virginia Woolfclan, Missing Sister
Lela Northcross Wakely (Potawatomi/Kickapoo), Indian Health
Sherman Alexie (Spokane/Coeur d'Alene), from Indian Killer
Milton Lee (Cheyenne River Sioux) and Jamie Lee, The Search for Indian

Part 4. Children of the Dragonfly
Peter Cuch (Ute), I Wonder What the Car Looked Like
S. L. Wilde (Anishnaabe), A Letter to My Grandmother
Eric Gansworth (Onondaga), It Goes Something Like This
Kimberly Roppolo (Cherokee/Choctaw/Creek), Breeds and Outlaws
Phil Young (Cherokee) and Robert Bensen, Wetumka
Lawrence Sampson (Delaware/Eastern Band Cherokee), The Long Road Home
Beverley McKiver (Ojibway), When the Heron Speaks
Joyce carlEtta Mandrake (White Earth Chippewa), Memory Lane Is the Next Street Over
Alan Michelson (Mohawk), Lost Tribe
Patricia Aqiimuk Paul (Inupiaq), The Connection
Terra Trevor (Cherokee/Delaware/Seneca), Pushing up the Sky
Annalee Lucia Bensen (Mohegan/Cherokee), Two Dragonfly Dream Songs

The People Who Stayed: Southeastern Indian Writing After Removal

 University of Oklahoma Press

Native literature, composed of western literary tradition is packed into the hyphens of the oral tradition. It is termed a “renaissance” but contemporary Native writing is both something old emerging in new forms and something that has never been asleep. The two-hundred-year-old myth of the vanishing American Indian still holds some credence in the American Southeast, the region from which tens of thousands of Indians were relocated after passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1830. Yet, a significant Indian population remained behind after those massive relocations.

This volume represents every state and every genre, including short stories, excerpts from novels, poetry, essays and plays. Although most works are contemporary, the collection covers the entire post-Removal era. While many speak to the prospects and perils of acculturation, all the writers bear witness to the ways, oblique or straightforward, that they and their families are connected and honor their Indian identities despite the legacy of removal. 

The People Who Stayed: Southeastern Indian Writing After Removal 
edited by Geary Hobson, Janet McAdams, and Kathryn Walkiewicz.

  • We have stories / as old as the great seas / breaking through the chest / flying out the mouth, / noisy tongues that once were silenced, /all the oceans we contain / coming to light. —Linda Hogan


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