Jay Begay on Anger Management

Anger Management by Jay Begay

Back in Arizona, our youth group did an anger management workshop led by our youth missioner Kaze Gadway. I just found the warning signs that we learned. I remember that I had to fight against Warning Sign 3. I used to feel hurt when things didn’t go my way. Then I would make excuses on hating the other person. That was only six years ago.  What a journey I have been on. I think we need to look at these signs again. Which one do you get trapped in?

Warning Sign 1:  trapped

I know that I am in trouble when I start believing that fighting is the only way out of trouble.

Warning Sign 2:  unexpressed anger

I know that I am in trouble when I push everything down inside and pretend that I am not angry

Warning Sign 3:  Got to Have It My Way

I know that I am in trouble when I believe that I have to have everything go the way I want whether I am right or not.

Warning Sign 4:  Pushing Others Around

I know that I am in trouble when I begin manipulating and threatening people to do what I want

Warning Sign 5:   Being Alone

I know that I am in trouble when I isolate myself and withdraw into my own little world.




Never Be Enough Jeremy Blackwater

Never be Enough

Jeremy Blackwater

In working with troubled youth, it seems I hear the same story over and over again. “Nothing I do is good enough.”

One youth told me, “If I do something good in school they ridicule me because I am boasting. Then they say, ‘It won’t last. You will do something stupid. You always do.’ If I have plans for doing something different they say “It won’t work. You are just a stupid kid.”

Granted, not every youth comes from dysfunctional parents but the ones who are referred to me have been abused, crushed, shamed, whatever.

My message to them is the one given to me by my youth pastor. “You start with being good enough. You can change. You have to stay real.”

Sometimes I work with them with only one of these things. Usually, it is about staying real, with not posturing, with learning to act from integrity and with finding your resources inside yourself.

I didn’t think that doing this job with at risk kids would be so hard and sometimes impossible.

Yet, the smallest change is a victory, like a youth taking the colored pencils and drawing pad and putting his emotions on paper. We celebrate all the time.

There is nothing I rather be doing.

Thank you all who supported me when I was trying to grow up and make it on my own. You are all my blessings.


Two Worlds J. Tristen Begay

Two Worlds  by Joseph Begay

I go back to my grandfather’s home on the Rez for short visits. I feel comfortable there sitting under a tree in our backyard. Some tourists tried to take pictures of me like I’m a freak show. I still get mad at this. One woman tells me she will pay me $2 if I would pose. I just glared at her and left. I hitchhiked and got a ride right away. I had forgotten how Natives always stop for anyone needing a ride. The Natives who picked me up didn’t ask me any questions and shared their food with me.  They weren’t drunk or anything—just regular folk who treat me like I belong.

I also saw those who had nowhere to go and nothing to do just sitting around. I had forgotten how many people do nothing and hope nothing.

There’s good and bad there. The bad is mainly that the future doesn’t have any substance. When I got back to Albuquerque, I compared my life to what I saw. I saw people who care about more than the shallow stuff.

I am a part of a different group of people now. We are still Natives but we have a future. I enjoy going to school and working and having my own place to live. I enjoy planning for the future and how I can give back to my people. I am proud of my people who have made something of themselves and stay sober and focused.

I also miss just hanging out with my own people on our own land.

It is hard being in two worlds. I want the determination inside me to never drift again and to focus on moving head while staying Native.


Confusion … Jeremy Blackwater


Jeremy Blackwater

His hand plants itself

On his forehead

Like he could beat

The answers in his head.

His jaw tightens

Sullenness sits on his face.

“I don’t know”

He growls.

I simplify the steps

Choosing a soft tone

Careful not to look

Giving plenty of time

His eyes flicker

Waiting for me

To shame or blame

We both wait.

What will you do first?

I look down at the paper

He looks too.

He picks up his pencil.

“Cool,” I say.

Startled he stops.

After some quiet

He starts again.

More time passes

His shoulders hunch over

Like a vulture

He doesn’t quit.

His head jerks up.

Eyes open wide

“I get it, I get it.”

“It’s so simple.”

“Way to go,” I say.

“You worked it through.”

His mouth drops open.

“I was good?”

I nod, smiling

All it took

Was staying out of his way

And silence.


Grandfather by Jeremy Blackwater

On the Memory of Grandfather’s Dying

Jeremy Blackwater

The eyes fade out.

The fingers loosen

His breathing goes in and out

He lets go, sighing.

I can’t, shaken.

I want to remember

His walking through the bush.

How did his mouth tighten?

What did he do before he sat down?

Did his head tilt this way?

I’m losing the details.

Everything creeps to the edge

I can’t even remember his smile,

Until I see it on my brother’s face.

Walk with him, Great Spirit.

Do not let go.

Don’t let me go either.

Whisper to me in the wind.

Fly before me red hawk

Move your branches in my face.

Walk beside me in this place.

Don’t let me forget

As we sink into this earth.

This is where all things rest.


Realistic Expectations by Kaze

Realistic Expectation by Kaze Gadway

“You know you don’t have to eat that.” The man laughs softly as I bite into a pasty handed to me by a street person.

“I’m okay,” I grin. “I like people who share.”

“I do too. It makes my day when someone is generous.” He waves at us and walks away.

Switching from a world of plenty to a world of scarcity and back again has been the pattern for my adult life. My assumptions keep turning upside down.

When I am with well dressed, well rested, well fed people, the conversation stays on small irritants. I fall into the assumption that they are not interested in profound things so I do not often raise subjects beyond the petty. That is so judgmental.

Perhaps because life seems to be ready to collapse within itself at any hardship on the streets, I have deep conversations with the homeless. Perhaps, for all of us, it is when our understanding and circumstances collapse that we reach for meaning and substance. So it should not surprise me that those sleeping on the sidewalk are more ready to talk about change and expectations.

Yet, my first profound conversations started with people like me, with those who have the leisure time to read, to attend college and sit around to ask questions. Most of my closest friends with whom I talk deeply are those who are advantaged.

Now I am beginning to understand that the comfortable people with whom I talk have had these disturbing moments—an alcoholic father, a mentally ill relative, a fire in which everything has been destroyed, and encounters with violence. Many are those who live with a façade over deep thinking. If they do not know how to cope, then they spread pseudo calm over their faces as though to say “nothing bothers me.” Or “I can cope as long as others don’t know how bad it is.”

Those on the streets have more realistic expectations for the most part and they no longer have to look unmoved. Their pain is out there for everyone to see.

It is not that the poor are better than the comfortable. I find it easier to talk to those who don’t feel they have to posture.

When I say that I am blessed by talking with the street people, I mean that they keep me honest.


Prayer by Spirit Journey Youth by Kaze

Prayer by Spirit Journey Youth

Great Spirit, who is the creator of all things on Mother Earth, the things that crawl, or swim or fly or just sit there.  We give you thanks for Mother Earth and the life she gives us.

We pray for the Native cultures to stay alive as we move on to the new generation.  We pray that the traditions, the language, and the ceremonies may come back together as they used to be so that we do not destroy the earth and we do exploit  the resources of the trees and forests, rivers and oceans, and all that the Creator has given us.

We ask your blessing  for our families, ourselves as leaders  and our nations as strong.

We pray for those who are in need;  the prisoners, the homeless, and the addicted that we may make an impact for good and increase our wholeness.

In the name of the Creator who gives us all things. Amen