Introduction for Jacqueline Keeler
February 18, 2018
by Virginia Bellis Brandabur
Our next reader is Jacqueline Keeler, a Diné/Dakota writer, activist, and contributor to publications including The Nation, Indian Country Today, Earth Island Journal, Salon.com, Yes! Magazine, and Sierra. She is co-founder of Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, and the creator of the podcast “Not Your Disappearing Indian.” Her forthcoming book, “Standing Rock to the Bundy Standoff: Occupation, Native Sovereignty, and the Fight for Sacred Landscapes” will be released later this year. Her most recent book, “Edge of Morning: Native Voices Speak for the Bears Ears,” is an important new collection of interviews, essays and poems by Native writers on the cultural significance of Utah’s Bears Ears landscape. Les Roka from The Utah Review writes: “Edge of Morning” “compels a new point of view about the stewardship of public lands.”
That Jacqueline compels a new point of view can be said of all her work: In her powerful article, “Pocahontas Is Not a Name That Should Offend You,” she reclaims that name from the current shallow political ping-ponging by reminding us that “Pocahontas was one of the earliest and most famous of the millions of missing and murdered indigenous women who disappear from Native American communities each year.” In her work to eradicate the misappropriation of Native imagery and identity, Jacqueline counters the prevailing narrative – that mascots preserve the heritage of a school or team – by amplifying Native voices, so that their stories of integrity and dignity might point the true way for us all to honor a more diverse cultural heritage. And in her work to preserve sacred lands, she shows us that the story we tell about the land is far less significant than the stories we can learn from the land. With a voice that is illuminating, passionate, and vital, Jacqueline compels us again and again to reconsider, reframe, and re-imagine the stories we tell. She is a paragon for any person wishing to speak out about what most matters.
Please welcome Jacqueline Keeler.