The “Fire-Tenders”: How Native American Women Storytellers Sustain the Spirit of Resistance

This curation is a collection of works from Indigenous women artists and poets in the Second Wave of Feminism who have contributed to both the Women’s Liberation Movement and the fight for Indigenous liberation. Among them are poets Joy Harjo, Paula Gunn Allen, and Chrystos, who weave their voices into the larger movement for women’s liberation alongside other women storytellers in the renowned feminist anothology This Bridge Called My Back and the 1983 issue of the feminist periodical Sinister Wisdom titled A Gathering of Spirit, which features solely Native American women writers. The following curation draws from both sources to demonstrate how Native female writers empower Indigenous women through sharing stories of violence, histories of female ancestors, and the connection between the female body and the land. This gathering illustrates the resilience that Indigenous women embody and pass on to future generations, their ritual of resistance and making of change. 

— Campbell Leonard

“The Ritual, The Gathering, The Making” — Beth Brant

“The One Who Skins Cats” — Paula Gunn Allen

“The young warrior” — Gayle Two Eagles

“From the Salt Lake City Airport-82” — Joy Harjo

“I Walk in the History of My People” — Chrystos