Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee; where does all this coffee come from? It’s packed in blue plastic pillows, three scoops per. We get the pillows on order from corporate and they come in brown boxes stuffed to the brim. There’s no sourcing. I don’t know whose hands picked the beans or roasted them, who ground them up. I don’t know how much Maxwell House paid to package this coffee conveniently. I don’t know who’s putting dinner on the table (and who isn’t). I just drink the stuff and pinch my nose at it. Tastes like amnesia, or a radio blackout, every single time.
I read a story on Vice about human trafficking. Specifically, the sale of First Nations women between northern Minnesota and Canada across the wide, cold waters of Lake Superior. The article was mostly a reference to work by Christine Stark, a Master’s student at University in Duluth, who’s doing a study of the subject. Stark spends most of her days interviewing women who survived.
Anyway, the way they do it is gradual – friend, family, or a lover gets the woman (or child) dependent, bit by bit, until she’s obligated by shame or force. They use the water because it’s easier that way. It’s hard to barge into a barge, discover what’s going on. And the money comes mostly from parties. A rented yacht, a bruisy Autumn evening, Superior gone gold like Western movie posters, so glorious you can get away with anything, even the rape and sale of someone you’ve stripped of freedom.
I saw Superior once. I put my hand in her water. It was Presque Park, the tip of Michigan. She lapped like an ocean, even though we were far away from the coast. Clear to the bottom. Welcoming. Winter-cold, even though it was July. Back then, it seemed the only thing she carried were the oak leaves getting loose in a slick wind, but I guess she was also carrying a darker sort of cargo just a couple hundred miles away.
Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller
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He paid her bills, rent, and the essentials for her children, but on weekends, “brought up other white men from the cities for prostitution with Native women… he had her role play the racist ‘Indian maiden and European colonizer’ myth…Dave Dean quoting Christine Stark, on Vice.com, article ‘Native American Women Are Being Sold into the Sex Trade on Ships Along Lake Superior’