Native American

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For the Changing Moon
Excerpt

Shape-Shifting

 

Real Indians, the shape-shifting kind, They’re gone
now, if they ever were more than Fantasy. And that’s the tragedy
those powers lost to us, look at us now
we’re not those people, we can’t do that, we’ve only got the stories.
Well, I’ve told a few myself, from time to time
and here’s one now: my father was a shape-shifter.
He was part of the Constitutional entrenchment of Metis as a People.

 

That might not count. You don’t think so? Maybe
you wanted to hear it like in conversations
late at night, all shivering round the table
some smoky old story about those people
who could turn into dogs, or bears, or flying beings.
No, I never saw him
walk as a bear, or a dog or in feathers and wings
but I saw him on TV, and what about that?

 

Disenfranchised Anishinabe, orphaned Mi’gmaq
church school survivor went working in the bush,
broke a leg and turned into a guitarist
singer, trainer, teacher,
army sergeant, farmer, trucker
taught himself house mover’s physics
and parliamentary procedure

 

On TV, we spied him by his hat
that one he always wore for meetings
ironically, a cowboy hat
Dad at the tables in Ottawa in 1982
committee committed, Metis Delegation
shifting the shape of our nation.

 

By The Numbers

 

1186

 

pictures pinned
on a social media account
calling to account those who have for too long
turned away, silenced
the ones who knew all along
because we were the victim pool
later, the number is raised
to the possibility
4000 and more? too many to be sure

 

252
files the national broadcaster
obtained the rights to share
so that their names, faces, known
stories of them as people
might mean enough
for it to be enough
of impunity

 

2014
years after the assigned date
of the resurrection
blamed for all these works
of conquest, works of war
2014 years until
the day of reckoning, one of many
that hopes to bleed the wounds
from hands and feet and tender sides
of our body politic
the crown of thorns
first nations suicides and poverty

 

94
steps we can take.

 

How far will we go?

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