EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – November is Native American Heritage Month, which inspired Rosalie Sanar Petrouske, a board member for the Lansing Poetry Club, to host the “We are the Wind Native American Poetry event”.
“I think we need to preserve our native culture and history and we need to hear more native voices,” Sanar Petrouske said.
She said the event was funded through an artist in the community grant from the Arts Council of Greater Lansing. Petrouske decided to invite poets Mark Turcotte, Gordon Henry Jr., and more.
Turcotte is Turtle Mountain Ojibwe and he spent his early years living on a reservation in North Dakota.
“It was very poor and poverty-stricken,” the poet and current lecturer at DePaul University said. “Every time you have poverty, you have openings for violence.”
After moving to the Greater Lansing area later in his childhood, he turned his inner thoughts into poems as an escape, and it stuck.
“It’s always a privilege, you know, it’s always an honor to have an audience,” Turcotte said.
Poet Gordon Henry Jr. is a member of the White Earth Anishinabe Nation. For him, this event and Native American Heritage Month serve as a way to tell their stories and share their cultures with others.
“We sort of live that experience every day, but it’s important that we be here for events like this to let people know that we are here still alive, still have ties and connection to the land and the people of this world,” Henry Jr. said.
The final event for the Native American Heritage Month program through the Lansing Poetry Club is a poetry workshop hosted by Gordon Henry Jr. scheduled for December 10.