I remember my ten-year-old daughter twirling around the living room singing the Disney Pocahontas song. I wrote a poem about that image, how I struggled to find role models for her. She is Tlingit, Unangax̂,Chinese, Swedish.

Years later she is having a baby of her own. Now, we have more knowledge about who we are. We are in the midst of language and cultural revitalization. The baby will be named a traditional name. The baby will be told that he/she is strong and beautiful. The baby will be born into our clan.

We will be the baby. The baby will be us: Snails, Kittiwakes, Wind, Salmon, Reindeer, Ocean, Bears, Ravens, Halibut, Islands, Dogs, Canoes, Earthquakes, Beads, Octopus, Troller, Villages, Rubber Boots, Shrimp, Rain, Salmonberries, Tidal Waves, Bald Eagles, Skiffs, Crab Pots, Forest, Button Blankets, Seal Grease, Rifle, Herring Eggs, Plank House, Fishermen, Moose, Fishing Pole, Blueberries, Ferry Boats, Rivers, Rocks, Drums, Lakes, Devils Club, Petroglyphs, Totems & more. 

"Role Model" appears in Tidal Echoes (2009) and my poetry collection The Hide of My Tongue.


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