The Native American Experience through Poetry, the Law, and Memoir
Writers: Louis V. Clark III, Kimberly Blaeser, Matthew Fletcher
Moderator: Tim Thering
Three authors express what it actually means to be Native American through the use of very different words. Explore this culture with the lyricism of poetry, the experience of memoir, and the meaning of the law.
Kimberly Blaeser, past Wisconsin Poet Laureate and founding director of In-Na-Po, Indigenous Nations Poets, is the author of five poetry collections including Copper Yearning (2019), Apprenticed to Justice (2007), and Résister en dansant/Ikwe-niimi: Dancing Resistance (2020). An enrolled member of the White Earth Nation, Blaeser is an Anishinaabe activist and environmentalist, a Professor Emeritus at UW–Milwaukee, and an MFA faculty member at Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. She lives in rural Wisconsin; and, for portions of each year, in a water-access cabin near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota. Additional information is available here: http://kblaeser.org
Louis V Clark III was born on the Oneida reservation of Wisconsin. Raised during the often troubled, often wonderful decade of the 1960’s, Clark learned to stand up for what he thought was right, aided by the guiding hand of many influential people. He joined forces with his beautiful wife during their high school years and together they ran away to build their own life aided by the Oneida principle of “looking ahead seven generations.” Encountering many obstacles along the way including a poetry professor who said that what he wrote wasn’t poetry and a theater professor who said that if what he wrote was any good that it was already being done. Clark continued to write. In Clark’s fifth decade the University of Arkansas along with the Sequoyah National Research Center published his chapbook “Two Shoes.” This work received an Oneida Fellowship Award and a Wisconsin Arts Board Award. In 2016 the Wisconsin Historical Society Press published his Memoir in Poetry and prose “How to be an Indian in the 21st Century.” This book received the 2017 Midwest Booksellers Choice Award as well as Oneida/Wisconsin Arts Board Award. WHSP published his follow up book, “Rebel Poet” in 2018 and this work received a Midwest Independent Publishers Book award. Clark currently has a play “Little Boy Lost/Stupid Indian” scheduled for airing on public radio sometime this year.
Matthew L.M. Fletcher is the Harry Burns Hutchins Collegiate Professor of Law at Michigan Law. He teaches and writes in the areas of federal Indian law, American Indian tribal law, Anishinaabe legal and political philosophy, constitutional law, federal courts, and legal ethics, and he sits as the Chief Justice of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Professor Fletcher also sits as an appellate judge for the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, the Colorado River Indian Tribes, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, the Hoopa Valley Tribe, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians, the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, the Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska, and the Tulalip Tribes. He is a member of the Grand Traverse Band.