Last week I spoke to students at Santa Fe Indian School on Jim Pepper, the quintessential native jazz saxophonist. Only a few people in the audience had heard of him. None of the students had. I ended at Congo Square, the symbolic and real ground where jazz rose up, born of this North American, this native earth. Literally and metaphorically. For Congo Square was a Houma ceremonial grounds. And this is where it all started: stomp dance, jazz, the blues, rock, what is American in music. The Indian has been left out of the equation. So it makes all the sense in the world that jazz found its way back to the grounds with Jim's saxophone. All the sense in the world.
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Got to meet Fantasia Lonjose, from Zuni, a young poet and Santa Fe Indian School student who made it all the way to the Poetry Outloud finals in Washington D.C. for her recitation of one of my poems. Congratulations Fantasia!
(Please let me know if you know who the photo credit for the Pepper image.)
Posted by Joy Harjo at 5:35 PM