Native youth poetry contest winners announced


The Native Youth Poetry Contest, a Twin Cities effort to encourage and publish the voices of young Native poets, has chosen the winners of its first contest. The contest was initiated and coordinated by Dr. Lydia Caros, former CEO and pediatrician of the Native American Community Clinic. Native American author/poet Heid Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) was the judge. All the poets receive a free writing workshop by Heid Erdrich.
The winning poems – 1st place: Overdose, by Malina Longcrow, age 16; 2nd place: My America, by Angela Richards, age 25; 3rd place: and Where I’m From, by Sadie Allen, age 14.
Honorable Mentions – Elliott Dean, Hi, I’m Here; Jailyn Fabunmi, Everybody Has a Story; Christian Freed, We Indigenous; Masceo Jackson, Faith N Beauty; Shawntea Kopseng, Mental Health; Michael Kurtz, Great Sioux Nation; S’Nya Sanchez-Hohenstein, Native American Community Clinic; Elizabeth Santana, Like the Old Ones Dreamed; Cleavelin Sayer, Spotlight; Riah Stroud, Sonnet 4.

By Malina Longcrow

I hope for change everyday
I know I don’t understand
And I know this wasn’t planned
Step away from the evil thing that changes you.

I know the old you is still in there
I know this person isn’t you
The madness, the yells and the glares…
Step away from the thing that broke me.

July 24th 2015 was the day I lost my other half
I felt like I was never able to smile or laugh
It ruined me.
I beg, please change before I lose you too.
I watch you change everyday into someone you’re not
Did you think I forgot?
Pointless arguments only because we care.
Why put us all through this again? It’s not fair.


My America
by Angela Richards

I wish to tell you a story.
One that the old ones shared well before me.
Her hands wrinkled by time she uncovers her face.

In my America I know her to be TURTLE ISLAND.

Once a dark and silent place. We came into this life as the first people.
A star people, a buffalo people.
We began with our metaphoric mind. Reciprocity, the life philosophy.
Absolutely sublime.

In my America I know her to be TURTLE ISLAND.

Iktomni grew lonely as he stretched his limbs.
Nanaboozoo walked this Earth, the same color as his skin.
Sweetgrass and strawberries, Skywoman’s gifts.
Despite us growing unworthy we remained her kin.

In my America I know her to be TURTLE ISLAND.

Vine’s words echo the patterns of space and time.
The cosmological clash of your world, my world, the old world and the new world.
“Let us not forget to remember” Unci Maka’s whisper falls onto deaf ears.
Mythical, mystical, Ahistorical.
Oral history, written history, it is our story that survived since the Great Mystery.
Drawn upon walls and described in wampum belts
Caring to not misconstrue the story and carefully passing it down orally.
The notches of my braids extend far beyond decades.

In my America I know her to be TURTLE ISLAND.

There is a woman who lives in the Badlands.
She sews a quilt that represents our time on this Earth.
Only in my dreams I dance with my medicine dress adorned with elk teeth.
I come from the bloodlines of great leaders and great thinkers.
Only in my dreams I stand with my buffalo robe adorned with porcupine quills.
Crimson is my blood
I choose origin stories over sepia toned framed pictures.


Where I’m From
by Sadie Allen

I am from the family house
With fractured steps and chipped paint
I am from an open backyard
Filled with imagination and whimsy
I am from cracked sidewalks
With skinned knees and colorful chalk
I am from my grandfather
Our leader and family comedian
Beloved by all who knew him

I am from his warmth and laughter
That he spread throughout the house
I am from a watch decorated with turquoise stones
Constantly on his wrist wherever he went
I am from the dining table
Where we talked and told stories

I am from a cloudy day
Riddled with mystery and confusion
I am from a funeral
With a single rose and a painted cross
I am from a family forever changed
By one fateful day