Roughly 30 students and faculty, all with notebooks and pens in hand, filled the Diversity Achievement Center for an impromptu poetry workshop led by activist, artist, philanthropist, poet, and member of the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma Renée Amétané’e Roman Nose on Oct, 2.
Roman Nose assigned writing and poetry exercises that resulted in audience members sharing their responses to the exercise. She read excerpts from her first poetry book, “Sweet Grass Talking,” and concluded the hour-long workshop with a male-only group activity.
A survivor of two attempted rapes and multiple molestations as a child, Roman Nose travels and openly discusses her life story with hopes that she can remind others to love and support each other and be kind.
“I am nobody’s victim. I am a survivor and I use my story — I don’t let my story use me,” said Roman Nose. “It’s vital for us as women to support one another to protect one another.”
The male-only group activity consisted of Roman Nose suggesting that all males in the room stand up and form a circle. Once the circle was formed, she personally approached each male in the circle, held their hand, and asked them to promise to show compassion, kindness, respect, and protection to all women.
“It’s absolutely vital for us to remember our roles as men and women and historically, our men protected our women,” she said, “they did not use their strength to hurt us, they used their strength to protect us and to protect their children, but also our women need to remember to support one another.”
When she has more time, Roman Nose also has a separate activity for the women in the room at her speeches. Their activity is about showing love and support to each other as women.
“They [other women] need to remember that when someone comes to them and they have a story of abuse, they need to be listened to and they need to be believed unless or until something happens to prove that otherwise,” said Roman Nose. “It’s vital for us as women to support one another to protect one another.”
Every one of Roman Nose’s speeches, support groups, poetry readings, and special appearances are all with like-minded purpose — to help others by using her own story.
“Our communities no longer have room for violence,” she said, “we no longer have room in our lives for mistreatment.”
“I’m hoping to reach people,” said Roman Nose. “If I only reach one person, then I’ve achieved my purpose. But I’m hoping to reach a lot more and to remind them of their Humanity. I want to remind people to use their gifts in a good way.”
Renée Amétané’e Roman Nose will be hosting another motivational speech sometime in November, details coming soon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or her website at www.fiercecourage.net, and is open to anyone seeking advice, help, or simply has questions for her.
Story and Photo by Samantha Guy