Why I Return to Makoce

By Lois Red Elk

From the back cover:

The poems in Why I Return to Makoce tell of the immense loss of land and life and language that American Indians have endured, but they ultimately assert a powerful call to action for tribal people to “make some series decisions and changes for the future of [our] children.”  These poems, which are steeped in Lakota cultural traditions, urge us to take a deep breath, to take initiative, and to not allow ourselves to “drift back to the safety of chains.”  They encourage readers to believe that change is possible and that it is through our reconnection with “the spirit realm, the real world” that we can heal ourselves and our communities.

—Heather Cahoon, author of Elk Medicine

Lois Red Elk’s poems and stories are rooted in Makoce, our earth and land that gives so much to us on a daily basis. When reading this stunningly crafted poetry, you get a real sense of the link that exists between Makoce and home, family, and the history that ultimately shapes us as native people.  Take the time to read these poems aloud. Appreciate the images of the world’s interconnectedness married with the rhythms of narrative traditions.  The artistic knowledge and worldview of what it means to be L/N/Dakota people, and native people of all nations, have too long been ignored.  In this collection, Lois Red Elk refuses to let that happen. Pidamiyado.

—Steve Pacheco, Mdewakanton Dakota, English Professor and author

In Why I Return to Makoce, Lois Red Elk is offering something so much more than a resolved set of answer poems; there are answers here, but more importantly there are some delicious questions, some compelling invitations.  In “Woke in a Dream of a Dream,” the poet offers us her vision: “Your other life dwells here,” she says, “Take control, enter your next dream.”   That’s how these poems lead us, dream by story by dream.

—Kim Shuck, author of Clouds Running In and Rabbit Stories

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