dear nehiyaw awasis

This is for my Indigenous brothers and sisters. This is for all the rez kids. This is for me.

dear nehiyaw awasis

môya âtoya nimêschikohnânâhk

nêhiyaw awasis

wanikiskisiw kâya

they haven’t killed us off

2017

525 years after

columbus came

drunk and stumbling

sick and feeble

he’s dead

and we’re

still here

so let them hear you speak

môya âtoya nimêschikohnânâhk

stand here

stomping on this turtles back

with the voices of

our ancestors

ka nikamohk

with

us

we’re still fighting

to make our voices legitimate enough

in this world they painted

white

our red skin

gleams

our red skin

glows

but to them

i’m just another dumb indian

battling my way through doors

that are always opened

for moniyâwak

because our truths mean nothing

to those who fabricate conquest

let them hear you speak

nêhiyaw awâsis

our bodies

are not

their colonial vessels

these moniyâws

think they deserve a round of applause

for letting us into their schools

that they built

on our land

môya âtoya nimêschikohnânâhk

nêhiyaw awasis

wanikiskisiw kâya

these moniyâws

think they deserve recognition

capitalizing off our reclamation

that only exists

because they raped our iskwewak

they killed our nâpewak

they tried to steal the spirit

of

nêhiyaw awasisak

they may have stolen our ancestors medicine

but the sickness they spread made us strong

so when they see you

let them hear you speak

môya âtoya nimêschikohnânâhk

they haven’t killed us off

2017

525 years after

we were cursed

âhkwan mistahi

mâka paspîwin

is ours

we are still here

and

our voices

may tremble

our voices

may shake

but we speak with

iskotew

we know why we’re rising

and i hope you do too

sing with 10 00 thousand ancestors

standing along side you

môya âtoya nimêschikohnânâhk

monyâws have never seen us

dead and gone

and they never will

because we are rising up

i call on you

turtle islanders

waniskahk nehiyawak

you might be tired

you might be angry

but you have a rebellion in your blood

and we need every ounce of red

to splash on their ivory ideologies

we can be the medicine they stole from our ancestors

so when they see you

let them hear you speak

môya âtoya nimêschikohnânâhk

do not be afraid nêhiyaw child

you have 10 00 thousand ancestors by your side

stomping on this turtles back

screaming

with you

waniskahk nehiyawak

when you speak

they will listen

because you

have fire in

your soul

with

honey on your tounge

and stardust in your mind

you have the ache of colonialism

in your bones

when we stomp together

we break apart these walls

that tell us

hush hush

little indian

no more

nothing about you

is small

you shine with the light of the stars

gleaming

glowing

red

with 10 00 thousand ancestors

so let them hear you speak

and sing

môya âtoya nimêschikohnânâhk

waniskahk nêhiyawak

our embers burned far too long

we need your breath to fan these flames

i can feel it

in my

bones

blood

guts

breath

all ignite

with iskotew

of our eighth generation

be still

rejoice

that it is

525 years later

columbus is dead

and we’re still here

waniskahk nêhiyawak

môya âtoya nimêschikohnânâhk

sing it loud and let your voice

follow the melody of our language

it’s not a rez accent

it’s a god damn rebellion

coming all the way from

our grandparents in residential schools

aching to use their mother tongues

let us relieve their pain

because

they stand beside us now

nêhiyaw child

do not be afraid

because they will hear you speak

môya âtoya nimêschikohnânâhk

wipe your tears

it’s okay

do not forget

we inherited pain from a place

we’ve never been to

it’s not your fault you cry at night

i can’t tell you it’s easy

but i can promise

they will hear you

i can promise

they haven’t killed us off

525 years later

columbus is dead

and we’re still here

put the bottle down

nêhiyaw child

môya âtoya nimêschikohnânâhk

nêhiyaw awasis

wanikiskisiw kâya

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