Skin Like Mine

December 6, 2020
Skin Like Mine

In Skin Like Mine Garry Gottfriedson offers a suite of poems onwhat it feels like to be inside the skin of many contemporarynative individuals. He pulls no punches as he reflects on thechallenges facing native people today. He speaks of minds full ofanticipation yet with tongues pointing arrowheads. He tells of howso many native young people are afraid to live / afraid to die /afraid of ourselves. As he looks around what was once a pristinenatural environment, he finds the forests being / eaten from theinside out. In the poem Political Dysfunction, Gottfriedson tacklesthe many problems with present-day band management. But as thecollection passes the midpoint, a new voice begins to be heard asGottfriedson reflects on the mysterious Horsechild, and he says: Iwill bind the drying racks once again / with hemp to make ready /The rows for drying salmon / so that beneath your skin / themountains will be forever abundant. The age-old rituals of thepeople and of the land return to provide comfort and assurance thatsome things never change.