indigenous poet

do not trust a white man
whose legacy is destruction
whose inheritance is barbarousness
whose idea of a civilized people
is one who stomps on the necks
of those he feels are beneath him
what more is to be said of rape?
the way he has defiled this land
speaks for itself

do not trust a white man
whose idea of progress
can be measured in the cultures he destroys
the acreage of the land he seizes

who is complicit in white supremacy
who takes and thanks with a greasy grin
as though what he has done is a gift
from civilization to the savage

do not trust a white man
whose mouth speaks genocide
whose soul is white with ash,
and red with blood

- kelsie marina (2017)

National Aboriginal Day is coming up soon (June 21) and I can’t wait to see all of you on here! Here are some suggestions for what you can post on this day:

1. Selfies / Photographs of yourself, whether it’s casual or in regalia or something else (sports uniform, cosplay, graduation cap and gown, etc)

2. Photographs of family events, ceremonies, powwows, celebrations, etc.

3. Video of powwows, celebrations, etc.

4. Photosets/gifsets about your favorite Indigenous / Aboriginal actors, writers, poets, artists, etc.

5. Poems, essays, songs, stories, or personal accounts about being Indigenous / Aboriginal

6. Art, drawings, paintings, mood boards, photomanipulation, any kind of visual media that inspires you. 

And more! This is a means of celebrating who we are and where we come from.

And of course, this means ALL Indigenous and Aboriginal people. We are all in this together. Let’s show them what we’re made of!

SUNDAY: Indigenous women poets, writers, and musicians explore the power of language, story, and song in today’s fight for environmental and cultural justice. With a focus on the Standing Rock Resistance, Words for Water is a call to action and awareness around protection of sacred sites, cultures and languages, and our water, air, and earth. Featuring Natalie Diaz, Jennifer Foerster, Joy Harjo, Toni Jensen, Layli Long Solider, Deborah Miranda, and Laura Ortman and contributions by Heid E. Erdrich and Louise Erdrich. Tickets at whitney.org. Can’t make it? We’ll be streaming the event live on our Facebook page.

[Photograph of Standing Rock by Natalie Diaz]

not my 150

reconciliation

a one-way street

apologies for historical horrors and holocausts

“it’s time to move on”

except no one wants to right their wrongs

come child

we need to talk

pay no mind to what you see and feel

believe what I tell you

as I had to believe in others

ignore the mothers weeping as their newborn babes are transactioned

to grow up unloved, abused, assaulted, but “educated”

unless you’re educated you’re worth nothing

turn away from the women who learned they would never feel the fullness of motherhood

the families wailing for their little one who didn’t come home from school

the toddlers who wonder why their mother didn’t love them enough to stay and

the millions of graves as a result of one tattered blanket

forget the families now displaced because their grandmother loved a white man

or their grandfather wanted to fight in the war or to get an education

disregard the fact that treaty protocol was not heeded

that Canada was birthed from the blood and bodies of its Indigenous

the lies and the promises and the greed

don’t try to run away child

that black car isn’t here for you

so many recommendations created only to sit at the back of the bookcase to rot

come child it’s time to celebrate

overlook the hateful remarks that are directed towards you and your loved ones

the fear you experience when you hear a van or truck slow down behind you

‘welfare bum’, ‘freeloader’, ‘savage’, ‘injun’, ‘squaw’, or otherwise do not apply to you

there is no need to feel offended because you’re not like the others

forget about your dying family and friends

words don’t break bones

they only take lives

stop wondering why their death was ruled ‘not suspicious’

even though they were found in a ditch, in a forest, in an alleyway

or in a garbage bag at the bottom of a river

disregard your fear that you will be next

plenty of people of other races go missing every day

pay no mind to the fact that you must buy bottled water because your water now runs black

that you cannot brush your teeth or bathe in your own home

don’t complain about your leaking roof or your molding walls

if you really want a better life you can just move

get inspired

get educated

get funded

by the same corporations that are destroying your communities

it has been 150 years

we should be celebrating

be grateful

we shouldn’t even be here

thank the white man for our english

corporate profits

exploitation

ignorance

our indian card

here’s to opportunity

it’s time to pow wow

show others our cute outfits

it’s time to paint pretty pictures that

people can buy and hang in their million-dollar mansions

to feel better about themselves

we are worth nothing if we do not profit

it’s time to get our tables selling authentic shoes and earrings

for others to wear and have others admire

as a keepsake for athletes

that Canada can be proud of

let others admire our mother’s braided hair

and steal her sacredness

hanging on the rearview mirror

under the guise of reconciliation

let’s genocide some more

8:30AM conversation in my office: explaining the history of systemic oppression of Native people groups of North America. If all I end up doing with my career is teaching every day people about boarding/residential schools, racial discrimination against first nations people, the US and Canada’s history of targeting these people groups, and introducing them to amazing indigenous scholars, writers, poets, and activists… then it will have been worth it.