Richard Walker

Richard Walker is a journalist of Mexican/Yaqui ancestry living in Kitsap County, Washington. He is editor of the North Kitsap Herald in Poulsbo and is a regular correspondent for Indian Country Today Media Network. 

He is the author of the book, Roche Harbor, and the text for a set of 15 historic Roche Harbor images published as postcards (Arcadia Publishing, 2009). He is the author of the poetry chapbook, The Journey Home (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2012); and is co-author of the Indian Country Stylebook / For Editors, Reporters and Writers (Kindle, 2014). 

Much of his poetry is about the struggles of people of multicultural background to hold onto their indigenous identity and traditional lifeways. In addition to his chapbook The Journey Home, his poetry has been published in Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art, and Thought (Southwest Minnesota State University) summer 2011 and fall 2013; and on IndianCountryTodayMediaNetwork.com.

He and his wife, Molly, a citizen of the Samish Nation, enjoy cultural events, outdoor activities and exploring the great Pacific Northwest.

From The Journey Home

The journey home

It is not their fault, the elder says,
that these people have lighter hair
and lighter skin.

It is not their fault that their great-
grandmothers married outside their culture,
perhaps out of love, perhaps out of concern
for their security and the security of the
next generation to come,

perhaps a little of both.

It is not their fault that their great-grandmothers
and great-grandfathers chose not to go to
reservations during the time of change,

because they wanted to stay on the land that
had known their ancestors and their lifeways
since time immemorial.

Like people who have been on a long journey
abroad, these people have changed,

but now, these children of the diaspora have returned,

seeking to learn and continue the lifeways
of their great-grandmothers
and great-great-grandfathers.

These relatives of mine are like young ones
who, having had a taste of something good,
now come to the table seeking to become full
in their culture

so they are empowered to live and carry on
the lifeways that sustained their ancestors
since the beginning of time.

I know some people call them the white Tribe,
says this elder of full blood,
but I am proud of them.

These tears I cry are tears of happiness,
she says.

These are my relatives
and my relatives have come home.

 

What others are saying...

About The Journey Home:

“These poems are loving portraits of a strong people. Not only powerful, but they speak the beauty of truth." - Anita Endrezze, poet and artist (Throwing Fire at the Sun, Water at the Moon, University of Arizona Press).

"I haven't used literature to teach before, but, after reading Mexican/Yaqui poet Richard Walker's work, I'm seriously considering it. In addition to containing many beautiful poems, Walker's chapbook, 'The Journey Home,' seems like it is uniquely designed to help non-Indian students understand aspects of indigenous culture that some find difficult." -- Ann Tweedy, assistant professor at Hamline University School of Law and poet.

"Tying together the strands of family, history, and identity, it reaches back across generations and geographic boundaries to illuminate not only the author's struggle to understand himself but also his family's journey and place in the world ... 'The Journey Home' [is] an enjoyable collection." 
- Robert Hybben, graduate teaching assistant at Hamline University and independent book reviewer 

"Walker does a beautiful job of letting people of the past speak to the present ... His desire to make readers see old traditions as living ones that still have place and purpose is unmistakable. That, for me, is why these poems are successful." - Sarah Clay, independent book reviewer

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YouTube video from reading for Poems for Las Vegas (Kitsap Publishing) published in the wake of the Las Vegas shootings.

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