Lecturer Kimberlee Jackson’s Cross-Cultural Projects
Adjunct faculty lecturer Kimberlee Medicine Horn Jackson’s personal and academic exploration into Native American cultures has resulted in meaningful writing and teaching projects that further her focus on finding common ground within a multicultural society.
Using Kent Nerburn’s book "The Wolf at Twilight: An Indian Elder’s Journey through a Land of Ghosts and Shadows" as an example, she says it exemplifies how a Native and non-Native embark on a journey to learn about each other to the point of understanding rather than just trying to defend or justify history. “No one can change the past, but both work together to create a better present and future,“ she explains.
“As a poet and writer, I love a new challenge,” she says. Recently, Jackson became the co-editor for the Journal of NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community, in which capacity she works with Indigenous writers, thinkers, and scholars. The journal attracts an international Indigenous population and non-Native people who are interested in working with Indigenous people. She also works with graduate students as an adjunct faculty member in the NAIITS learning community.
In June of 2018, Jackson went to Wolfville, Nova Scotia for the NAIITS Symposium (formerly known as North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies). There, she helped students who were writing an academic essay. They discussed academic writing and explored Gregory Younging’s "Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guide for Writing By and About Indigenous People."
“The challenge was to write academically and incorporate Indigenous Style, such as capitalization for the names of tribes or sacred ceremonies, or to honor storytelling as a legitimate approach in research and writing. This is more inclusive for Indigenous scholars, whose voices have the value when it comes to understanding culture and how that applies to a variety of disciplines,” Jackson says.
“Younging’s work also offers guidelines for people outside of Indigenous communities in approaching them or asking permission to enter in the community rather than just appearing and taking what seems like the best information without any understanding of things like cultural appropriation, which is more likely to cause confusion.”
In 2015, Jackson taught a class with Native American writers from all over the country to produce a Lenten Devotional for the United Methodist Church, which Jackson has co-edited. The devotions were written by Native Americans who followed traditions or who identified as Christian. "Seeing the beauty of both perspectives in one publication is of great value. There is a great deal of strength in our stories as told in the Indigenous voice,” she says. The devotional is available online through the UMC.
Recent publications of Jackson’s poetry can be found in The Prairie Wolf Press Review and The Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art and Thought. She has been invited to share her writings at various poetry gatherings, colleges, universities, and theological seminaries.
In re-memory I was never
taken; never kidnapped. I do not
remember that unreal day.
I reach across time; decades are lumbering clouds
super-saturated with tears; I mean water.
Grief takes as long as it needs.
Never mind I was two, never mind—
I reach across the long sky, neon shifting
auroras like a young mother and toddler embracing.
Fleeting, so fleeting… so temporary, so fragile.
Call them the long arms, the strong arms of government.
Name them dissolute in the act of unbraiding
Native families; their plan superior to Creator.
Say they walk in the armor of arrogance, go on;
Say it. There are no hushed voices now.
We have been silenced too long.
~Kimberlee Medicine Horn Jackson~
Read more about how Kimberlee Jackson introduces her students to the Native American Boarding School Era of American history.