My story about a Native American rapper ran on the front page of the Aug. 27 Sunday Oregonian. Here's an excerpt:
The scratch was the last straw.
Scott Kalama had been on a high. His rap album, "Rez Life," had just won the Native American Music Award for best music video. He'd come home to the Warm Springs Reservation driving a 2013 silver drop-top Camaro, a sign he'd made it in a community where pickups and sedans tended to be a decade old and caked in red dirt.
The rez, Kalama thought, had done him wrong all his life. He was 31 and had already buried three siblings. His dad was a drunk. Kalama had spent most of his life too broke to afford a fast food hamburger. He left for college and returned to find his business degree useless in a place too poor to support a new enterprise.
Still, Kalama had stayed. He launched his rap career there, even though the Central Oregon reservation lacked a professional recording studio or performance space. He did it all for the tribe, he thought. That national award was supposed to put Warm Springs on the map.
Then Kalama stepped outside on his lunch break and saw it. The scratch. Someone had keyed his driver-side door, leaving a seven-inch swoosh that turned his stomach.
This is how they repay me, he thought.
He went back to his office and took his frustrations out on Facebook: "I can't trust my own people," he wrote. "I'm moving."
To Portland, he thought, or maybe LA. A nonprofit wanted to hire him. An engineer who'd worked with Snoop Dogg and 2Pac agreed to help with his next record. Kalama, a stocky 5-foot-8 with a three-inch goatee and a braid down his back, was a unique artist, the engineer said.
His phone vibrated. A tribal council member had seen his post almost the moment he hit enter. Carina Miller typed a response:
"I know how you feel. But you can't leave," she told him. "We need you."
Read the rest on The Oregonian.