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Inside The Iron House: Voices of Native American Prisoners


Where can you look?
Where can you go?

When coats of snow
Freeze the growth of oaks;
When young limbs are sheathed
In excruciating ice; when powder
snowfields turn hard as floes; At dusk before funeral curtains
Tightly shut; when the darkening
Indifferent sky closes its
Bone-chilling dome; when every
Star shoots to earth arrowed
Icicles; when the moon's
Sliver of a blind eye rolls
Away from you in the night?
Where do you look?
Where do you go?

Look within.

Kyle D. Sharp #127252
Arizona St. Prison-Eyman, SMUII
PO Box 3400
Florence, AZ 85232-3400


Aho Day Star,

Received Election Debacle edition Dec 26th, well after "Dubyah" declared the "winner". We may all well be in deep trouble! To answer your four questions:

    1. Has this election made you view politics in a different way?
      No difference. Half the electorate still sitting home making excuses, then whining. Remember poly - many ticks - body of blood sucking insects

    2. . Do you have faith in the current electoral system?
      I say go for popular majority, Jeb cannot fix that.

    3. Do you think the Green Party has a right to exist? Why or why not?
      Since the Bushlicans and Gorocrats offer no choice, Greens MUST exist and grow.

    4. What are the most serious problems in your community?
      As my present community is prison, I must say
      a) about 1 million too many inmates due to the so-called "War On Drugs".
      b) Many blood sucking insects, playing scare tactics with the public, using tax money.
      Too many production jobs are sent overseas or to Mexico to reduce labor costs. No pass along to customers. There should also be equal primary and secondary schools in every neighborhood.

    I'm in "The Hole". No big deal. Quiet. There is a possibility I may have an address change due to transfer. I will let you know as soon as I know.

    May peace and love be with you and yours.


    Dear BTTB, As you can see from the envelope, I am a prisoner in State Penitentiary. I therefore have no income and cannot afford to subscribe to your publication. I have not been fortunate enough to be able to come into ownership of a copy. I HAVE, however, been lucky enough to look at one. I did come across the ad in Whispering Winds, (Written Heritage)that states if a piece of poetry writing is selected by you for use, the payment would be in copies.. nothing could fit my need more..

    I am the Shaman of a Native American group here in prison, called S.O.M.E.N.A. (Sons of Mother Earth, Natives of America). I feel certain that your publication would be of great benefit to the learning of our members. Besides our religious program, we also teach the heritage of the many nations that are represented by our members, so that when they are released they will have some knowledge of their people to pass on to their families and children.

    I do not consider myself a poet of any import, but I do make an effort in that direction...As someone once said,"some better--some verse"!!! grin...I am sending you two of what I consider my better efforts in the hopes that I will get lucky enough to win a subscription, or even a copy of your publication.
    Silver Foxx (Richard Kelly)- #184122


    Be kind, Great Spirit
    To your true-hearted son
    The one who left us today.
    Be kind, Great Spirit, His work here is done
    His shadow has walked away...

    And as he comes, send the beat
    Of the drums,
    To welcome him to your land.
    Show him trails of beauty,
    He has done his duty,
    And, give him your outstretched hand.

    Be kind, Great Spirit,
    To your true-hearted son,
    And help us to understand,
    That because he has left
    We are not bereft
    Of the good that has come from your hand.

    Help us to know
    That we will all soon will go,
    Down the trail that he took today.
    That we all will be present
    In your valley so pleasant,
    When our shadows have ALL---Walked away...

    Silver Foxx (Richard K. of S.O.M.E.N.A.)


    I make not a reference to potholes one finds in the road in which our cars are damaged, yet the principle is the same. The potholes I refer to are those found along ones path way, especially those which seem never ending in the torment we face because of the choices we make.

    For the best example, I will use myself. On my path way I have encountered many potholes, many of which have led me to the Iron House where I have been for eight years.

    Why did I or do we seem to fall into the potholes along our path? It is because we lose our center and our focus on what's really important. Like the yellow metal which makes people crazy, so too does the search for all that is not important.

    What then is important? Being in a right relationship with God and His creation, then comes family and the responsibilities of being leader, husband, father and follower. Yes, follower. There are those who will disagree but sometimes it is best to let the wife lead for there are things which they understand better than we. This does not make them better than us, but equal, just as the Great Spirit meant for it to be.

    "When you lose the rhythm of the drumbeat of God, you are lost from the peace and rhythm of life." How true this is especially when stuck in a pothole, nothing goes right & there seems to be no help in sight until you stop trying to do things by yourself & you look up into the face of the Great Spirit and from him & the rock people, the four-legged and the rooted ones you will find peace, strength & guidance out of the pothole and back on the good red road.

    Potholes are not bad unless we fail in our responsibility to get out. Potholes are learning tools in which the Great Spirit uses to teach us our way. "Once Grandfather begins to touch us through these things, we can never be the same again."

    Potholes on my path do change me and it is true that I can never be the same again. The pothole either makes me a better person than I was before or a worse person, it all depends on how I choose to respond. Before I learned these things, the potholes of my life made me a worse person, blinding me not only of the truth but of the next pothole ahead.

    Now that I know the truth I am better able to avoid the potholes. For those that I do fall into because I lost sight of what's important, I must regain balance & find my center for if I do not then I am like those who fight to possess yellow metal, I am chasing an illusion which in reality is one big pothole.

    It is easy to avoid the potholes on our path, what is not so easy, is to admit we had a choice in it. Once we understand this truth we are better prepared, not only to interact with others but with the Great Spirit as well. In so doing, the doors of blessing are opened upon us in a never-ending flood.

    Robert Gray Wolf Cameron


    Thank you for the newsletter, please keep sending it. The Native Women here in the Iron House on the Mountain View Unit here, need your prayers.We were allowed this week to meet once more and hold ceremonies minus the smoke. It's a small step but we are used to the struggle. Many of us are Cherokee and I am one of the Elders of the Circle. I am a Cherokee out of Mc Alester, Oklahoma. We are the only women's unit allowed to participate so we know the Giver of Breath is with us. Thank you for your support. Our connection to you makes us stronger.

    Over 500 years of struggle, Deborah Arnold #6037774

    Osiyo Evergreen and DayStarr
    I just received the package with the issues of Back To The Blanket in it. There really is no way I can express my gratitude. Being in the "Iron House" makes it extremely difficult to show my appreciation in any way except words. So for now please accept my thanks.

    In a couple of your issues you published letters from other inmates across this land. I have taken it upon myself to write them. I hope this meets with your approval. Aho, it is as you say, "We are creators of our own realities!" I created this reality. There is no one to blame but myself.

    Just knowing there are people like you out there that care makes a difference. To walk the Red Path is one of the most joyous and meaningful things I have ever done.

    So I say to all my Brothers and Sisters, hold close to one another. Support, love and guide one another. The Swoop, Hawk and Hare are all one. To accept less is to accept illusion. Ah-ho.
    Walk In Harmony, Casey Pearson 775220.


    My body is in the belly of the beast.
    My soul soars with Hawk
    Let those in charge work to cage me
    My body yes. Not so my heart.
    I walk the Sacred Path and find
    Beauty in the Tsalagi
    Casey Pearson 775220(Cherokee)

    DEAR MOTHER(Virginia)

    Sitting in this prison cell
    I thought I'd drop a line
    No Mom! I'm not hungry
    Yes! I'm feeling fine
    I wish I'd listened to you
    I wonder what went wrong
    I recall your words so wise
    I listen to your song
    Oh Mom! Please hold me gently
    And wipe away these tears
    Cause you're the only one I know
    Who loved me through the years
    -Brave Warrior(Cherokee)

    (P.S.- My dear mother returned to Our Lord on May 25, 1975 at 11 PM. She taught me that courage isn't the absence or lack of fear; Courage is "Doing the right thing" in the presence of fear.)

    I pray that all is well and that your spirit is strong so that the wisdom of our ancestors may show you the true red road.
    My heart becomes so sad to see our young brothers coming into the Iron House so lost. Not knowing their past but looking to understand thier actions. Most are here for alcohol-related crimes, most following into the footsteps of their fathers and grandfathers and grandmothers. Lost, on drugs or drunk, most are our people Cherokee. Looking to the past with thier present in the Iron House and all looking for the freedom of our Red Road of life. I don't have all the answers to the questions for my brothers. I'm not a spritual advisor. The New Agers walk in and the Department of Corrections hand them the key and say we can't voice our belief and have No Say.
    So, my brothers and sisters, how do we get the answers? We can't go to our people on the rez, we can't turn to Mom and Dad. They are in the White World. We are not "New Age" the only way is to have ELDERS, Spiritual Advisors that wil come in and/or books, written prayer. So that all our brothers and sisters can walk in the way the Creator has for us. In Unity, as a Great Red Nation here in our Red Land. live for our people, Tsa-la-gi.
    In peace, unity, strength, action and love for our ways of life.
    Respectfully, Galuyasdi Alvarado#92664


    The Eastern-European holocaust must never happen again. It's truthful history must be integrated into all levels of educational curriculum.
    I ponder, though, the possibility of that horrendous event ever occurring if had not a precedent, the historic North American holocaust of who communities of sovereign, indigenous nations.
    Reparations based upon Indian claims brought before U.S. government do not settle the losses. Compensation cannot be adequately budgeted for wholesale destruction of cultures. Covert and overt govenment policy is still in effect producing negative results. Those include loss of Native languages, inadequate Indian health care, lack of economic development, sustainable poverty, Third-World living conditions within Indian country, perpetuated disunity among Indians, entrenched institutionalized racism. Most notable of policies were relocation, forced assimilation and termination.
    The American holocaust must be taught too, and ever remindful that the other holocausts would not have happened if a precedent had not been established and sanctioned. A-Ho.
    Eugene Big Back#60091-065

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Deathrow Roll Call