Monday, January 26, 2009
Hope and Joy
Hope and Joy
Joy Harjo was traveling during the inauguration of Barrack Obama,
but she watched and listened to the media, and here is how she
Left Honolulu last night on a flight jammed with tourists,
students heading back to school, and a few business people
and local families. Flew all night through the dark skies
to Chicago. Then, to Sioux Falls, South Dakota where I was
picked up by Erin Thin Elk, interim director for diversity
at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.
She's nimble on ice in her heels! Now that's a skill!
We drove over the plains, catching up on families,
as if we had known each other for years.
I'm impressed by her bright spirit.
Then, as she drove us over the flat plains of her ancestral
lands to Vermillion, we listened to Obama's speech. Perfect.
To ride the opening wave of change with an old-young friend
in the middle of the country. And to perch our ears together
to hear the eloquent new leader of this young nation
who has vision, who can speak. Obama's mind is clear,
without knots and connects directly to his heart
and the heart of the people. He listens to his ancestors.
Later, over lunch with students and faculty of the university,
we all noted that there was no reference to the original
inhabitants of this country in his speech.
Yes, there is still much work to be done.
Now I am back in the hotel room, about to crash after being up
all night. I am watching Obama and Michelle walk the street
the last blocks at the end of the parade. I can see their
bullet proof vests bulging in their clothes. I can hear
Michelle thinking. She's exhausted, yet high.
The responsibility is all hitting her, like the feeling
after just giving birth. What have I gotten myself into?
Yet, she will walk directly forward and will do her best.
Joy Harjo January 20, 2009