Image: “Elsipogtog” by Gord Hill.

 

looking to the left
then right
positioning ourselves
somewhere in this redress
patching up our rights
like road crews
in the commission of truth
merging and making square
armed with these calls
to action

numbered requests
so many suggestions
prescriptions all beginning with
“We call upon the federal, provincial,
territorial and aboriginal governments
…”

equalizing compensation
as k-k-kanadians
remedies for the malaise
restoring stripped dignity
upon territories by eradicating
the spanking law
that’s all

monitoring our own neglect
administering our own medicines
handling the sliding scale
and setting new precedents
of measurements
for success

authoring treaties and dissolving
two-way for four-way
portals with language and culture
including clauses for non-compliance
prison term punishment
let’s try it

all things defined by adequate funding
have we learned nothing
but how to correspond in dollars
with the Whiteman
for over time
what we find to be adequate
will inevitably evolve
as will this law

the U. N. Declaration reads as
un-declare let’s pump the brakes
right here
Indigenous rights meaningless
commitment of concept
a signature-less contract
“R” words left flapping
like a tattered flags
over parliament’s decaying
brick home

Rights
Reconcile
Response
Relation
Relocate

D is for independent decisions,
safe drinking water
E, expressions of interest
and evolving realities

Winter Olympics actually
cited as successful relations
unprecedented Four Host Nations
contributions to the larger cultural
national fabric — larger cultural national fabric

upon closer examination
the garment is frayed and worn
patched with mismatched
fabrics darning them together
damning it forever
too little, too late
could be the title of this song

drums and feathers
now the new black
incantations and chants
environmental tourism tracks
a history eliminated
by name changes
singing in ceremonies
for your listening enjoyment
our employment

a collective dream and arranged marriage
a nightmare written in legalese and lies
still calling on the crown
to join pen to paper
royal proclamations
adopting Indigenous law
never
agreements with the master
diamond encrusted collars
still choking

spiritual self-determination
hot lava-beds of policy-making
creation stories taught as fact
not bible books but oral legacies
the way it was meant to be
misinterpreting to suit the seasons

gentlemen, this is not your time
gather your cultural batons
and pass them over the fire
women celebrated beyond
life-givers to speak and protect
our distinct sacred skin

Creator made us
so let’s see us
all the shades
and everything you need
to know are found
in the brown

defined as the colour
of dark wood, rich soil
a combination of red, black and yellow
seen widely in nature
and population
skin pigment a statement
of humility, humanity
come get your chocolate
rustic intoxicant
salty sweet caramel
a rich fine wine
improving with age

improving health
improving parenting
demanding the pope’s apology
funding museums
and the Canadian Federation
of 2017
one Hundred and Fifty
years of cemeteries
deceased school children
buried treasures in unmarked graves

TRC of Canada
I trust a TRC of Mafia more
there may be no honour among thieves
but at least, their treaties
come with a time line
and no fault clause
honour?
our honour?
how much
does that cost?

 


Janet Rogers is a Mohawk/Tuscarora writer from the Six Nations band in southern Ontario. She was born in Vancouver British Columbia and has been living on the traditional lands of the Coast Salish people (Victoria, British Columbia) since 1994. Janet works in the genres of poetry, spoken word performance poetry, video poetry and recorded poetry with music and script writing. Janet is a radio broadcaster, documentary producer and sound artist.

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