You have to respect an artist for taking bold steps. That’s what we do. We’re here to capture the harsh realities and interpret those realities for purposes of entertainment, as well as processing tools for deep intellectual thinking. When I cross artists who are willing to truly reach deep inside themselves to find an honest portrayal of the world, I immediately recognize game. These are the real ones. The ones envied by the weak, the unwilling, the carcasses of outdated memories.

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I get mentally stuck sometimes, and frustrated, when I think of the disparity rates in the communities I serve. I’m Cherokee and Kiowa. I live in Tahlequah, Oklahoma and work for Indian Child Welfare. I’ve worked my entire career serving Native communities, working diligently to correct the disparity rates, and every time I see a Native person walking down the street strung out on meth, fidgeting and impulsively picking at their skin (the telltale signs of meth addiction), it breaks my heart. I get frustrated at the disparity rates among Native Americans and see first hand the negative impacts caused by historical trauma.

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There are two things most dangerous:  apathy and stagnation.  For me?  The former leads to the latter.  It’s a cycle of violence I’ve always struggled to overcome.  It’s like when I’m gourd dancing with my family, and I’m trying to predict by cadence and rhythm the switching of the beat so I can anticipate the appropriate next move–a move which keeps me in sync with my community but ultimately with my choices.

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