Ms. Muse: Cherokee Chief Wilma Mankiller’s Lost Poems

Before she became the first woman elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation and the first woman to be chief of a major tribe, Wilma Mankiller published a poem about “the edges of / something called freedom.” But until now, the world has not known that this great chief, community developer, activist and author also wrote poetry throughout her life. With the support of Charlie Soap, Mankiller’s husband for over 30 years, editors Frances McCue and Greg Shaw found the magazine and nine other poems tucked randomly into boxes of paperwork stored in Mankiller’s old barn in August 2021. They wanted to publish her lost poems to show “how an activist reflected on her life through art and that art itself is activism.”

September 2022 Reads for the Rest of Us

Each month, I provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups—to do my part in the disruption of what has been the acceptable “norm” in the book world for far too long (white, cis, heterosexual, male); and to amplify indie publishers and amazing works by writers who are women, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, APIA/AAPI, international, queer, trans, nonbinary, disabled, fat, immigrant, Muslim, neurodivergent, sex-positive or of other historically marginalized identities—you know, the rest of us.

Here’s to all the great writers out there toiling away to make us think, learn, feel and fly … and to the 30 on this list.  

‘Chaos, Confusion and Crisis’: Marking a Full Year of Texas’ Six-Week Abortion Ban

It’s been two months since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and ended the federal constitutional right to an abortion—but we can’t forget that Texans like me have been suffering for much longer.

For one year, abortion after around six weeks of pregnancy has been banned in Texas. For one year, people like me have been forced to find the time, money and resources to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles out of state, if they can, to access healthcare. And if they can’t, for one year, countless Texans have been forced to carry pregnancies against their will, with profound medical risks and life-altering consequences.

Cowgirl Boots, Anxious Nights: Transgender Youth and Families Fight Hostile Legislation and Sky-High Suicide Rates

In states around the U.S., families of transgender youth are battling anti-trans legislation blocking life-saving healthcare and transphobic ideas that permeate into their families and schools, and terrifying mental health statistics of trans youth who do not receive care.

Families share how they’re building safe and affirming homes for their children amidst such barriers.

Front and Center: ‘Before the Magnolia Mother’s Trust, I Was Working Seven Days a Week’

Front and Center highlights the success of Springboard to Opportunities’ Magnolia Mother’s Trust, which this year will give $1,000 per month for 12 months to 100 families headed by Black women living in federally subsidized housing.

“It’s been a few months of getting the guaranteed income, and I definitely see an increase in happiness with both me and my kids. I still have to budget, but I’m able to get them more things that they need and even have some left over to be able to reward them with little extras when I can — though making sure my bills are all paid up is always my number one priority.”

Doctors Say: Early Pregnancies Harm Girls. Abortion Bans Will Make Them Worse.

Each year, over 4,000 girls age 14 and under become pregnant in the U.S. These adolescent pregnancies are inherently higher risk for a multitude of reasons both social and physiological that can potentially impact youth for their entire lives.

Without access to abortion many of these girls will be forced to carry their pregnancies to term—a tragic scenario for a child and for our society.

In Post-Roe Louisiana, Things Go From Bad to Worse for Teens

Abortion is a critical component of reproductive healthcare, and young Louisianans will continue to need it.

As Louisianans, we must ask ourselves: How can our legislators claim teens are not mature enough to learn about how their reproductive bodies work, while presuming they can cope with forced parenthood? Abortion is a critical component of reproductive healthcare, and young Louisianans will continue to need it.