Desert Stars

By Celina Montoya-Garcia, Pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh Land & Body Violence Coordinator, CSVANW

Twenty-three sovereign nations in New Mexico 

Most planted along the Rio Grande

Like Buffalo gourd

Where no one and everyone is responsible

Power, control

I mean Jurisdictions

I mean a Nexus


We are well adapted to

The desert

Like Cacti

Lovely blooms of magenta 


Instead we are neglected like overgrown

squash shells hidden under the sun

Taken and then



At birth we are composed of 270 bones

Carefully crafted by creator's hands like a Yamaha



Why are we not honored like the soft pottery that sits

on your shelf

For your guests to gaze at

We too come form the same clay

That you admire


I will dance for them

until they are home

Let their names wrap around your spine

Like tendrils grown from ancestors' prayers


Amber Pinto

Anderson Scott

Angel Roanhorse

Anna Curley 


The human nervous system is complex

I read once that if you joined the peripheral nerves from

One end to the other 

It would wrap around the world two and a half times

Like community love

Bound by our songs

Your child is my child

Ashley Collins

James Willie

Tiffany Reid


Like the law of nature

They are the stars so far away that your eyes cannot see

Yet they are still here

We are still here


I will catch our tears in a blanket

Until they are home

So that their loved ones may

wash them in salt waters

where healing begins




I tap my chest to the beat of my heart

A lifeline to the universe

Let the milky way guide you home


Mark Aguilar

Zacharia Shorty

Misty Bedonie

Calvin Martinez


Let hope continue to lift our


Until their smiles connect with ours


From this dawn to the next

We will rise


And rise again