“Native Beatnik” Zine Release & Poetry Reading, Friday 6/16

When: Saturday, 6/16, 7pm
Where: Minnehaha Free Space, 3458 Minnehaha Ave

Join us for a zine release and poetry reading dedicated to the memory of the 38 Dakota warriors hung in the largest mass execution in U.S. history, 150 years ago in Mankato, Minnesota.

Statement from the artist (Richard Merlin Johnson Jr.):

I am Dakota Sioux or more properly Isanti De koha He, from my fathers lineage my clan name being Ta He Numpa Odewan Oyate or The Great Two Horned Owl Clan.  My grandparents in the late 70’s early 80’s would travel to Minnesota and visit relatives, go to church functions and social gatherings, and meet many people from the main Dakota tribes areas who were proud and genuinely humbled to call my grandparents, “Relatives.”  They were hard working, sturdy people of the earth in the truest of fashion and one could say they had a real grittiness, strength in them.

This zine is a 38 poem, work of art dedicated to the memory of the “38 Isanti” that were hung in a mass execution on Dec, 26, 1862 in Mankato, Minnesota.  My grandfather taught me how I was related to them all; they are my KIN. This year is the 150-year anniversary.

The work will be directly dealing with the cultural, social, institutionalized genocide that the Dakota people have had to live through and are still living through. This work is personal to me but there are so many other Native Americans, people who can identify with my journey as well.  It is also for the other tribes of people both Native and non- Native to really see what has happened to the Native American people through my journey.  Yet I also know that many can understand my struggle for self-awareness through my experience of genocide, to go for the good and strength. Truth to me helps me to see the creator to understand more of the cosmos.  Yet truth ironically does set you free!  Freedom for me as a Native American man from both South and North American ancestories is all I ever basically want in my life—like breathing or riding my bike. But I digress… Please come and listen to 38 poems that directly deal with present day genocidal issues for Me, a Native American reality.  Although these poems are me, my journey, they are also not the sum of me for I have gone forward, I am treading a new path, I have survived in a complete form.  Heccu toi wai! (That is the way it is!)

FREE Coffee and snacks will be served!  Feel free to bring a dessert to share.