Joan Naviyuk Kane on the Distinctness of Native Peoples and Her Poem, Compass

Joan Naviyuk Kane, an Inupiaq Eskimo, shares her poem, Compass, with PBS News Hour in both English and Inupiaq. Kane is an MFA faculty member at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and has degrees from both Harvard College and Columbia University’s School of the Arts. In the short interview, Kane notes that the vast differences of Native peoples in the U.S. should not be fused together into one “continued exoticization or fetishization of the Native person as a relic of the past, as a romantic figure, as something outdated or very other[.]” Rather, each Native culture is unique and each Native experience distinct. “In Alaska, we still call ourselves Eskimo people. We’re very different, culturally, linguistically, socially, geographically, than what people consider the American Indian population,” Kane continues.

Listen to Kane read her poem, Compass, in both English and Inupiaq at PBS News Hour’s website.