does it make you feel superior to blame young people
for being descendants of a system that violently stripped our ancestors of their lands
of their languages
claim that women are “colonized” if we try to write our thoughts on paper,
(but remember that another history we inherited is a history of being violently removed from writing as a tool for expression, liberation)
We’re doing the best we can with what we have,
what we were given
with the broken shards of tools
and the rubble of nations
spending our time envisioning how to rebuild cities around those stones
So what have the young Indigenous academics done lately?
We’ve cherished those shards, that rubble.
and turned it into resurgence, resistance
on paper and in the streets
So keep going.
Use the few words of Nehiyawewin, Anishinaabemowin, Inuktitut,
Chemehuevi, Dee-ni’ Wee-ya, that you know
and use them proudly
and learn more
even if those words came from books you borrowed from the university.
if that is your best,
that is enough.
so keep reading (and never let anyone tell you to stop)
so keep writing (and never let anyone take away your pen)
so keep going (because you are enough)
I wrote this poem hastily, originally on Facebook (ha), in response to a prominent Canadian public servant’s assertion that he has nothing to learn from university-educated Indigenous women, and that they are foolish for claiming to teach anything Indigenous or anti-colonial while writing in English.