29 Comments
founding

Hands down this was the best literary gathering I've ever attended. So grateful to all of you who made it happen. Lois Welch had me in tears TWICE.

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author

So great, as always, to see you. I wish I could have spent more time with you.

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founding

Me, too, but that wasn't the purpose of this time! Its purpose was far more important 🧡

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Aug 4, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

Witnessing your isolation/crash post-festival. Celebrating that it did indeed launch! Resonating with being apart from those who bring connectedness and cohesiveness... deep satisfaction to our days.

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Aug 3, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

Chris

When I moved to Montana 18 plus years ago, I had people asking me, with Masters and Doctorate degrees if Montana was in the USA?

So yes, I get the questioning.

Really wonder how and what people learned in their schooling?

I won't bother you with other questions I was and have been asked about living in Montana.

Suffice to say, with my sarcasm, which at times is very believable, I have come up with some very creative answers. 😂

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When I traveled frequently for my old job it was amazing how many people were dumbfounded as to the existence of mythical Montana as an actual place.

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Aug 5, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

Hello Chris, I heard you speak at the Native American Lit. Fest last weekend. It turns out we have the same great great grandparents, Mose and Susan LaTray; I guess that makes us 3rd cousins. I'm in Missoula too. It would be good to get in touch. I didn't know the best way to reach you so I'll try here.

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author

Jude, wow, great to hear from you. I'm best reached via email: chris[at]chrislatray.com.

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founding

sending you an e-mail now.

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"Nothing is stopping you from pausing a moment to think about it too."

Thank-you.

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Aug 9, 2022·edited Aug 9, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

Would have loved to attended the festival. I do hope it can lead to future collaborations among attendees. Coalition building is all we got!

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Thank you for sharing your experience. I can only understand what this might feel like in the tiniest of ways. Like when I went to gymnastics camp for the first time in Chicago and everyone was like you’re from Kansas do you know Dorothy and Toto? But that’s not at all the same. I can imagine those fields full of bison and literally just so much more alive. Every time a place I get to know here disappears to “progress” I feel the sadness of it. It must be similar but on a massively bigger scale. you think I know what it’s like to feel belonging, to feel like I’m with my people, but I have rarely felt that in my life. And I love your naming the feeling afterwards, a feeling of loss, and the inner story that it’s gone and it won’t last which may or may not be true but is an understandable story to live with. Thank you again for sharing your experience and helping me understand.

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author

I think our capitalist culture does everything it can to separate us from our people, because together we realize maybe we don’t need all the shit they are trying so spoonfeed us. I don’t know. Thanks for reading, Karen.

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I would tend to think that is 100% true.

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founding

"Nothing is stopping you from pausing a moment to think about it too." The images you shared and the histories around them--and your reminder in this way to pause and think about it with you--was a perfect moment to in fact pause and envision that landscape, that history, the hauntings that we need in our lives, to recognize, honor, and to not forget or abandon. We need them among us all to make a better world--which is what the festival sounds like it did for many for that space and time. Wish I could have been there to see it, but grateful to hear of it and be reminded of how many people of a certain kind of faith and community are building worlds within worlds that matter. Despite the other parts of the world that want to convince everyone that everything is fucked up....

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author

Despite indeed. Thank you.

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This is not totally the same, but I remember so distinctly the first time someone turned around & they looked like me. I wasn’t raised Jewish -- my Dad converted to Christianity -- and we lived in Louisiana, and I just never had occasion to be around other people with hair like mine. I never even thought about it until this girl in college turned around -- she was unpacking her car, moving into the dorm -- and she had the same look as I do -- and for her, a NYer, it was nothing, but for me, it was like a new sense-type got unlocked.

Also on the same theme -- I’ve been listening to this podcast, “60 Songs That Explain the 90’s” and in the one on Mary J. Bilge’s “Real Love” the host talks about how Blige and Method Man’s friendship was based on each knowing where the other came from, growing up in the Bronx, and their real love for each other is what gives them the platform to go out into the world and search for romantic love and have full lives. I guess my point being yeah, I hear you, having people around you -- particularly as an artist -- who know where you came from, whew. That’s such an important piece and and I hope the gathering serves as a foundation for many future gatherings to come.

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author

You get it. Thank you.

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Aug 5, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

Thoughtful reply on why the Little Shell are/were/are reservationless. In the long run, perhaps a good thing. But try to explain that to those still measuring indigenous by blood parts.

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author

It's hard to see any scenario where not having a reservation is a good thing unless we get a bigass chunk of the land we had stolen from us back. That's not anything I'll see in my lifetime.

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Celebrating that feeling of coming together!

Belonging.

As a white Englishwomen with deep knowing of my indigenous soul in defiantly the wrong era, I have almost always been the outsider. So many of us deported and lost. And of course also the disgust of “belonging” to a people who’s values I don’t vibe with at all. While benefiting all the time. It’s hard not to get lost in self hatred and sabotage.

I am grateful to be able to see your belonging and hear the often hard truth of it, for me, your people who have somehow endured my people who don’t feel like my people. I had to go back 2000 years to see /feel part of being my people that made some kind of sense so I’m grateful for the miracle that you can connect in present day but what a double edged sword of suffering and how complex it all is and how clumsy I feel in trying to connect over these canyons of history.

I was harvesting mugwort once on Wy’east, north Oregon. I was with a group, we had been there 10 days in prayer to the place and it was of course the full moon and midnight. We had been trecking all day and this was our last harvest. The moon had not yet risen over the mountain but there was an eerie blue white glow and long shadows and as we walk across this field, we naturally file into single file and we’re all quiet. As you are when approaching an opening, the mugwort gate so to speak. At that moment, on the mountain ridge, in the approaching moonlight, walking with my group in synch with place and purpose I felt the timelessness of who I am for it felt so real and so right on that deep cellular level and I knew that I had been here before and the sense of belonging was profound.

I wish you success for your upcoming events and thankyou again for sharing and I love recommending you on my substack. I also owe you an apology, the last comment I made on one of your posts was flippant and othering and I’m sorry. I was pretty upset that you called the vaccine a miracle since I have had almost the opposite experience of it and was struggling with the dissonance of a very different point of view from you, who I admire. I know though that all healing is a miracle, and that is good common ground but it didn’t stop me from transferring my frustration your way. 😳

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Natasha, I guess I missed you being flippant and othering so it must have not been too flagrant. No harm, no foul.

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Aug 4, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

I enjoy whatever literary festivals I get to attend in the Southwest. But, regarding the widespread ignorance of the history and current situations of indigenous peoples on this continent, of course that has to do with the paucity of education in our schools of the history of the U.S. They have prohibited the teaching of slavery because it makes people "uncomfortable." In Arizona some years ago, the Superintendent of Education here banned courses on the history and culture of Mexican people, considering that Arizona and California and Texas once belonged to Mexico. The fears of learning about the horrors of colonialism is probably global, even as we see the grab for the Ukraine in the news. The more the lies and disinformation are uncovered, the more our children will know and, I hope, grow.

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author

"The more the lies and disinformation are uncovered, the more our children will know and, I hope, grow."

Here's hoping for that.

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Aug 4, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

The festival was a success, I would say. It was joy to see and the perfect occasion to finally get your book!

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author

Thanks for coming, and thanks for buying the book, Frances!

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Aug 3, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

Hi Chris,

Never say good-bye. Always say see you later. I hope that this will cheer you.

Thoroughly enjoy the luscious events that you find before you.

Sincerely,

Melissa

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author

Thanks, Melissa.

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Dear Substack members,

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