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Poet Layli Long Soldier Remembers Russell Means

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Oglala Lakota poet Layli Long Soldier on Russell Means.


My friend, Layli Long Soldier posted a story about Russell Means on her Facebook page, with her permission I am reposting it here. - Bill

Layli Long Soldier:

Hello. I don't have a fantastic Russell Means story, I didn't know him personally but my story is simple. I met him. But not really, my eyes met him in a Sears automotive waiting room. He was getting his tires done. He sat across from me in Sears in Santa Fe. I knew who he was, back then, I was young. I knew but didn't introduce myself or say hello. Was I shy or maybe I felt like, I just want to check this man out. Check him out, as in observe, most respectfully. So I observed him, oh yeah even at Sears automotive in a hard plastic chair he was seated with two wrapped braids, jeans and button up shirt. He was seated like as if I talked to him he'd have something to say, so maybe I didn't introduce myself because back then, I was young, I didn't have much to say. When I heard the news Monday morning that he'd passed away I remembered this man sitting right in front me in Sears automotive, how I didn't shake his hand, how like always I couldn't speak. This thing he always did, speak. I just cried the other morning I remembered Sears and Russell Means getting his tires. I speak through writing, that's how I've gotten by. But, listen, I will teach my daughter to do a little better. Then and there, daughter, shake hands. Introduce. Say who you are, say you are an admirer. There is only one moment when you're in it. This is what I learned from Russell Means.

Bio (From Drunken Boat): Layli Long Soldier holds a BFA in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts and is currently pursuing her MFA at Bard College. She currently resides in Tsaile, AZ on the Navajo reservation and teaches at Dine' College. Her first chapbook of poetry is titled, Chromosomory (Q Ave Press, 2010)

A few links to Layli's work:

"Native American Women's Poetry" introduction to a special folio curated by Layli Long Soldier

click here

"H^e Sapa" a poem by Layli Long Soldier

click here

Layli on FB:

Layli Long Soldier


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Bill Wetzel is Amskapi Pikuni aka Blackfeet from Montana. He's a former bull rider/wrestler turned writer and a coauthor of the short story collection "The Acorn Gathering." His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from the American Indian Culture (more...)
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