Shopping cart is empty.

Birchbark Blog

Day Three – I’m Still With Her

Louise Erdrich - Saturday, November 12, 2016
Dear Hillary,

Thank you for running an honorable campaign. Thank you for speaking to what is best in us as humans, and as Americans. Thank you for repeatedly including everybody. Thank you for your grace under the burden of ugliness, the pressure of hate.

I never thought that I would miss this campaign, but I do. I miss watching you fight the good fight. I miss the joy. I miss the hope.

You inspired me by sticking to intelligent, practical, experience-born responses to the real problems that face us. You offered a tough but welcoming face of America to the world. As a mother of four daughters, a writer, a bookstore owner and a Native American, I gained strength from the example of your resilience and composure.

My daughter Pallas and I met you when you stopped in Minneapolis. We were thrilled. We gushed, “You are our warrior!” You smiled and gripped our hands. You exuded warmth. I wanted to hang out with you and have a beer, and I don’t even drink beer.

On the morning after the election, everything felt flat, and strange. It wasn’t just grief, it was fear. It was haunting to walk the streets, go to the grocery, do simple things. There was always that question: is that person filled with hate? Contempt? Or maybe that person? It was worse in the schools, where some students felt emboldened to make racist comments, to harass girls, to let out their ugly side.

My oldest daughter Persia teaches kindergarten in a Native language immersion school on a reservation. One of her students said she knew our next president was a “wall builder” and she was scared. She didn’t know which side of the wall she would be on.

For women of all ages on day one, a sense of confidence and joy drained out of us. We shut down, tried to cope. And of course we did our jobs. At midnight, in tears, I found myself on your website buying more Hillary buttons and signs. Irrational. I already have plenty of Hillary swag!

On day two, things began to change. A sense of all that we have to fight for came back to us. A conviction that now all of our work is more important than ever. Work our staff does at the bookstore to build awareness of climate change. Work to build understanding between people of every race. Words from your concession speech helped -- fighting for what is right is always worthwhile. Your loyal belief in the best of America, not the worst.

Thank you for your commitment to clean energy. Thank you for fighting for a future of our children, for the legions of diverse plants and animals that keep us all healthy, and deserve to live as they were created, by a force we do not comprehend.

Day two seemed to last forever though, I kept faltering. How to answer questions from people in other countries? Our national temper tantrum was now installed in our highest office. Shame crawled up inside of me. I told myself that having a bookstore where, through literature, we can inhabit hearts and minds different from our own, is important. I reminded myself that listening my 15 year old daughter’s wisdom, supporting her and other young women, especially Native women, was important. My daughter Aza has a baby, my grandson. Helping him learn that a man’s strength is expressed by his respect for women, that’s important. I wrestled with accepting that although you won the popular vote, so many other voters, 25% of Americans, were choosing racism, intolerance, contempt for women, and maybe most dangerous of all, volatile inexperience.

By the end of day two, Pallas asked me to write this letter and post it on this page. She said that it would reach a lot of people and that you might read it. My brother told me that some people are angry, blaming, and that it is a stage of grief. So I’m writing a letter on day three to say what is true. You are the most experienced candidate for president we’ve ever had. There was no better candidate. You ran into a wall of hate, but you got up again, time after time. Never lost your wits, your cool. Nobody else could have done that.

Though in frail health this summer, my father, Ralph, always wore a flower in his hat. As he walked laboriously around the neighborhood, he stopped people to campaign for you. My mother Rita, 83, always keeping Ralph steady, filled out her ballot with the pride of a Native women who had worked all her life to teach her daughters fortitude, her son’s kindness. She finally had a woman as strong as herself to vote for.

On day three I’m so thankful for what you showed us. Truth. Resilience. Honor. Expertise. You are our champion. Maybe you didn’t know that even if you lost, you would still be our champion. All along, you were showing us how to get through life without you as our President.

As you gave your concession speech, with Bill behind you, I thought: she is so much stronger than the men who have won the presidency. She is doing the right thing, but she is not defeated. She models power even in her loss.

At the age of 91, Ralph Erdrich promised that he would live to vote for you. He has. He is still living in Wahpeton, North Dakota. He is still for you. I am still for you. Mothers, sisters, brothers, daughters, children, friends – we are still for you, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

We don’t know what you will do next, but we’ll be there.

It’s day three. Time to dust ourselves off, stand up, begin.

Time to make America proud again.

Yours truly,


Canoe Family

Recent PostsRSS

Tags photography devoted customers italy Gail Caldwell School Gardens Milkweed Press north dakota Chitra Divakaruni pilgrims euphoria tree books William Trevor anniversary Keepers of the Trees Philip Roth The Transition Handbook Easter Island Jim Harrison ireland Collective Denial Keeping Heart on Pine Ridge Anishinabe twins post holiday Hillary Clinton Ojibwemowin Afghanistan H2Oil S.C. Gwynne Wolf Hall Catalyst Nemesis peculiar touches of green and gold Wendy Makoons Geniusz Fireworks Kabul china Anton Treuer Too Much Happiness bill mckibben fresh water Ha Jin Patrick O'Brian Interview favorite dog solstice, Thomas King graphix buffalo Chickadee favorite book health care reform Peak Water Hilary Mantel Minneapolis the most romantic city in the world leaves and snow Ojibwe book and dinner club Alan Weisman aquifer language revitalization spring Birchbark Books japan Minnesota Crushing Books Wastepaper thank you friends Remarkable Trees Brown Dog Tar Sands Kenwood Gardens Native People Emily Johnson The Wealth of Nature Mankato Powwow Alice Munro Vic Glover how good looking you are friends Rare Books neighborhood Roberto Bolano city of books gratitude Mohamed's Ghosts coyote Keystone XL Ice Small Bookstores as Commons Tree Houses More Remarkable Trees Bohumil Hrabal Botany Islam incarnation Aubrey/Maturin Czech Writer Victory Gardens Canada Dartmouth National Book Award Michael Jackson Our Knowledge Is Not Primitive The Birchbark House birchbark house series President Obama Green Team joy local economy The Game of Silence Bill Moyers Journal cafe closing Gary Clement boarding school The Royal Prussian Library The Ojibwe green Gryphon Press Video ptsd thanks trees E.L. Doctorow Too Loud A Solitude support The Farmer's Daughter Stephen Salisbury germany plants monkey in a dryer Up Late Again france Education State Troopers The Porcupine Year The Resilient Gardener Peak Oil Native Arts Magers and Quinn Louise customers Dogs Women and Trees 2666 Love Kate DiCamillo Let's Take the Long Way Home Poetry post holiday reads ependent Climate Change Unnatural Disasters The Blue Sky Empire of the Summer Moon This Green World cafe Beth Dooley Greenland favorite tree Makoons World on the Edge mississippi British Navy sweden Light in August Book Review knowledge Zombies Population Anishinabemowin gardens Bleak House Nero show your love adventure Pembina NACDI:All My Relations Aza