Poet’s Words Appeal To Prevent SuicideAug 15th, 2005 | By tcj | Category: 17-1: Telling Our Stories, Tribal College News
Lexi Luger was busy with her studies at Sitting Bull College (SBC, Fort Yates, ND) and with planning her future, as most 20-year-olds. But then several young people committed suicide on the local reservations last year. With her heritage (Turtle Mountain Chippewa and Cheyenne River Sioux), she felt she needed to do something and asked herself, “What could I say on a personal level to speak to kids?”
The word “reservation” kept popping into her head. Within an hour and a half, she had written a poem filled with rhythmic, rhyming, upbeat advice about conquering desperation, drugs, and alcohol and focusing upon healthy living, heritage, and family.
Called “Mitakuye Oyasin” (We are all related), the poem is in the slam poetry style, also known as Def Jam style. It is a performance art, and Luger’s delivery quickly grabbed attention.
After winning a speech competition at the American Indian Higher Education Consortium Conference in Albuquerque in April, she was invited to deliver it at another Indian education conference the following week before 600 people, at the SBC graduation, and at the University of North Dakota’s honoring for Native students in May. In July, she presented it to a teachers’ conference in Bismarck.
Luger maintained a 3.7 GPA while at SBC, and now she has been accepted at an acting school, Chicago’s Second City, in the acting improv school. She hopes to be an actress, but she has a back-up plan: studying political science and communications.
(See the full text on the Tribal College Journal website, www.tribalcollegejournal.org.)