If you’ve ever watched a documentary on sharks then you’re familiar with the feeding frenzy.  This is when a school of sharks start to feed on prey.  It can be an attack on a single victim or a school of other fish, but once the feeding begins the energy multiplies over and over as the sharks feed.  Soon the sharks are feeding in such a panic it’s as though they can’t stop themselves.   Now I’m about to compare this activity to the way negative types make friends.

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You don’t like to think of yourself as a Girardian cliché.  Neither do I.  But we like to oversimplify.  Living life on the spectrum takes tremendous amounts of consideration (aka compassion) and tremendous amounts of time (aka love).  But we live on a spectrum.  Nothing is black and white.  Not even when it comes to identity politics and exploitation of Native peoples.

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When I think about creativity, or the impulses to create, and how there is a certain bravery or cowardice involved, I think of forest fires.  You see, my cousins were fire fighters for the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma.  I love it when they regale me with stories of their adventures and sometimes these are about disaster relief, like following Hurricane Katrina, and other times they are about fighting large forest fires in Colorado or California.  They tell me, “If the wind catches the flames and rushes the fire toward you, you have to decide:  are you going to run through the flames?”

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There’s a lot of insecurities in our very small Native world.  Native identity is a funky thing.  And people are people and people love power (even the ones who say they don’t).  We hold things over each other.  Sometimes these are purposeful attacks and sometimes we’re just reaching into the dark for anything we can weaponize.   Unfortunately, identity is a bullet if it’s not a bomb and even when people are kind they’ll still use it to cut you.

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