Kikisoblu and Her Cat 8 Ball

An historical black and white photograph of an indigenous woman standing on the porch of a simple home newly constructed from lumber
Kikisoblu (Princess Angeline) at her house, circa 1893, Frank LaRoche, glass negative, b&w,  8 x 10 in.
PEMCO Webster & Stevens Collection, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle; All Rights Reserved.

Kikisoblu had a blues sensibility like any other
Native woman given a corner in the city

Her black cat named 8 Ball

Her gig playing Indian round corners
In studios before painted nature scenes
And dead branches

She was a multidisciplinary artist
She performed while keeping her soul to herself

Kikisoblu flung down from her birthright
Given a shack
On her whole territory
Bet they charged her rent too
Though they are mighty quiet about the whole thing

As the next multimillion dollar home sells
I think of her shanty
On her entire land

Daughter of Chief Sealth known as Seattle

Thank you for this nice real estate
The man says
Sorry I’ve got work to do run along
To your hovel I’m off to build a mansion

White ladies renamed her their plaything
Their absolution of guilt
For stealing her inheritance

Princess Angeline
Eased their rest and greed and they took
Another picture
Oh look she’s holding a basket on Pike Place

She accepted another ten cents
For her time her breath this land still

This land. Still.

Storme Webber is a Two Spirit Sugpiaq/Black/Choctaw poet and interdisciplinary artist. Winner of the James W. Ray Award, her work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian and Field Museum, along with a solo show at Seattle’s Frye Art Museum. She is author/performer of Blues Divine and founder/director of Voices Rising: LGBTQ of Color Arts & Culture.