An Introduction to Tough Topics
Halito vm akana! Greetings relatives!
Sv hohchifo yvt Amber Onnahinli Fichik Byars. My name is Amber Morningstar Byars.
Welcome to Tough Topics and Difficult Discussions.
A little bit about me:
My father is Kelly Nitushi (Little Bear) Meely Byars and my mother is Norma Rene Barrington. My grandmothers were Beatrice Estyopi (The Last One) Clara Meely Byars and Antonia Moreno.
I grew up between the Pueblo territories of Taos and Albuquerque, NM, and Osage/Wichita/Sac and Fox territory, also known as Oklahoma City. I lived in New York City (Lenape territory) for 15 years, and on the beautiful island of St Maarten (Kalinago territory) for close to 2 years before returning home to New Mexico to pursue my education.
I am a Choctaw/Chickasaw artist, writer, and organizer born of the Koni clan. I recently graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts with an AFA in Studio Art and a BA in Indigenous Liberal Studies. I am currently in the process of applying to law school and will be studying federal Indian law in the fall of 2019 at a school TBD. My preferred pronouns are she/her and I identify as a cis pansexual female.
A little bit about this blog:
Tough Topics and Difficult Discussions will address exactly those two things. As an Indigenous woman, there are certain areas of my life that involve stigma, trauma, and complexities that are often very difficult to openly address. First and foremost, I will have the reading audience understand that the stories and opinions within the upcoming articles are my own, and only my own. I will not try to speak for the whole of Native America, nor will I attempt to single-handedly solve the addressed issues. Although this blog is my platform, these topics and discussions should be community conversations that involve many voices. You will find my contact information at the end of this post and I encourage you to reach out to me. I openly welcome feedback, suggestions, compliments, critique, corrections, and constructive criticism.
The 3 main goals for this blog are:
1) to share my personal experiences with the larger community as a method of self-care and healing
2) provide support for anyone who has had similar experiences or is suffering under the weight of the addressed topics
3) potentially destigmatize certain areas of womxnhood or Indigeneity through the creation of open community conversations
This is merely an intro post. Beginning in early 2019 I will begin a year-long journey into 4 different “tough topics,” each released quarterly here on Indigenous Goddess Gang. For my first article, I will dive head-first into something that has haunted me for many years. I have been writing this upcoming piece on and off for almost 3 years now and it will address a part of my past that I have never before talked about publicly. It will be the ultimate tough topic for me to discuss. I am terrified of releasing this upcoming article, but it needs to be done and I look forward to getting this skeleton out of my closet.
I hope you will stay tuned.
If there are any tough topics or difficult discussions you would like to see addressed in one of the upcoming articles, please reach out.
Yakoke (thank you) to Kim and Ginger and the entire Indigenous Goddess Gang community for providing me with this space to tell my stories. Yakoke to you too, the reader, for your interest, time, and energy. I am excited to see how this will develop.
Amber Morningstar Byars
Image Credit: Ryan Young