My son, Nik Nerburn, spent six weeks living in Worthington, Minnesota, doing a project for the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership. It involved creating a book that documented the lives of folks in an apartment complex that housed mostly workers at the JBS Pork Processing plant. He taught photography to the kids, photographed family weddings, ate at their tables and heard their stories and their dreams.
I visited him there. I met these kids. I met some of the families.
350 of the workers at the plant have now tested positive for coronavirus.
These are not just numbers, just as the now forgotten children and families in Donald Trump’s prison camps on our southern border are not just numbers.
Does Donald Trump know? Does Donald Trump care?
Can I get a haircut? Will the NFL season start on time?
17 thoughts on “How are we doing?”
How does one grapple with the injustice of our society? I wish I could wave a magic wand so it all goes away.
Thank you for all your works.
Empires eventually fall
Individuals carry the burden in eternity
Mr Nerburn I’v read several of your books starting with Niether Wolf nor Dog which was somewhat life altering for me. So was Chief Joseph. Your work has let me to study more about American Indians from their view point. First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History by Colin G Calloway has opened my eyes and heart to a history I didn’t know existed. I just want to thank you and let you know how much I enjoy reading your posted comments.
Mr Nerburn I’v read several of your books starting with Niether Wolf nor Dog which was somewhat life altering for me. So was Chief Joseph. Your work has led me to study more about American Indians from their view points. First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History by Colin G Calloway has opened my eyes and heart to a history I didn’t know existed. I just want to thank you and let you know how much I enjoy reading your posted comments.
Mr Nerburn I’ve read several of your books starting with Niether Wolf nor Dog which was somewhat life altering for me. So was Chief Joseph. Your work has led me to study more about American Indians from their view points. First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History by Colin G Calloway has opened my eyes and heart to a history I didn’t know existed. I just want to thank you and let you know how much I enjoy reading your posted comments.
I agree with Elisa, wouldn’t it be nice to have such a wand? But, in leu of that I have come to believe that the best we can do is to pay attention to our own close communities. Make sure they flourish. Make sure that support them so that they – this particular catastrophe is over – that we have our own surroundings in tact and there to support us. To Kent, thank you for your astute yet intimate writings. I’ve just completed reading 4 of your books, and at age 75 I must confess I’ve never been able to bring myself to read for personal enjoyment. These four books I could not bring myself to put down. And, congratulations as well as it sounds like your son is beginning to follow in your footsteps.
My hope is that my son stands on my shoulders and launches into places I never imagined. I think that’s what all parents hope. He’s a good man, and I’m proud of him and proud to be his father.
Like father, like son. I honor both of you and the work you continue to do to bring awareness to the great divide in this country. At this very moment the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe is fighting for its rights to be preserved and not abrogated by the indifference of the federal government. (Hearing delayed until May 20).
Echoing the comment by Allan Hays, I was entranced by your trilogy about the wise elder, Dan. I was drawn into the painful and poignant account of Dan’s wish that his story be told, that the mystery of what happened to his his sister be solved, and that he trusted you to help him. Thank you so much. And thanks to Nik for keeping the legacy of honoring the First People.
My goal, as should be the goal of anyone my age, and has been taught to me by the Native people in my life, is to mentor and pass on the fruits of my experience to those coming up behind. Nik is carrying things forward in a very different way and with a very different heart. I am impressed to watch how he is increasing as I am decreasing. He is a good man who is doing good work and will continue to do so. Follow his progress; see how it bears fruit.
I’m just finishing up Chief Joseph and the Flight of the Nez Perce. I think you should write more history books!
Thank you for the compliment. I am prouder of that book than anything I have done, mostly because I was so ill-suited to the task. I can tell a story and I can bring it alive, but my disorganization and confusion as a researcher made me the historical equivalent of a sumo wrestler trying to be a pole vaulter. That I got over the bar at all is a literary miracle.
Thank you so much for your wonderful books regarding Native peoples, they’ve just been outstanding!
I think you are pretty blinded however regarding your comments about our President. 1) He inherited those “prison camps” from the previous President; and 2) it is the governors who are keeping our States from opening up again, not the President.
I don’t mind blaming those in charge for things they’ve done wrong, but there has been just too much unjustly heaped on President Trump by those blinded by hatred for him. Stay true to justice with objectivity.
Thanks for all your insights.
Your writing has been a driving force in my search…thank you so much…apparently walking through life…I truly believed my eyes were completely open…I’ve learned….there is always room for truth….no matter what light that paints my tribe in
.while.”the other gary” takes the mantra of his leader…WE are all responsible for wrongs past present and future….when we dont point out wrongs and hate…”we” just keep repeating the same mistakes..
Apparently never learning..or perhaps caring….until “we” are the workers in that meat market
Thank you for sharing your journey with the world Ken. I first read your book Neither Wolf or Dog and it spoke to my heart and voiced so many of the feelings that I could not put into words as a Native woman who is not wanted by either Native or White culture where I live – I have been blessed though to live in other areas and been welcomed as a Native woman and gifted with incredible blessings from those peoples who have helped me to become the woman that I am today. God bless you and your son! Take good care. May the people who are seen as throw-aways be wrapped in the warmth and light of the Creator and may they lean heavily on him and know that they are worthy just because they breathe, not because of what others think of them. For two hundred years there has been works to destroy the Native people in one fashion or another. We have survived and we thrive despite what is thrown at us. Take good care everyone!
Ken, I won’t reiterate all the comments before me as they perfectly express my admiration for your lifetime work. I do want to say Thank You. You have touched my heart and my life. My son, Nick, is the same age as your son, Nik. I’ve been following your writing that long. We are passing the torch and may their generation bring light and a renewed sense of leadership to this country.
Just finished the Wolf nor Dog trilogy, absolutely fantastic, I have told my 3 children (who are adults) that just like the old days, I will make them read them, and write a book report; it is that important.
That being said, Mr. Trump is very easy to pick on, but I know my Governor (different party) lies to me everyday also. Unfortunately the politicians who run this county, regardless of party, are the sons and daughters of the Cavalry who slaughtered Native Americans, and the Government who told them lie after lie, some things never change.
Dear Kent, thank you for all you have shared. I have two adopted Sicangu Lakota grandchildren. I was adopted in a Hunka ceremony years ago by a Sicangu grandmother. My grandchildren are 13 and 12. I am teaching them their history and culture and some Lakota language. We go home to the Rosebud as often as we can. Do you have any advice to help me. Their parents are not as invested as I am in the Lakota culture. So it is up to me and I take this responsibility seriously. Thank you again for all the wtitings you have shared. I have given your books to anyone who shows interest.