Poem: I Went to the Racist Work Environment

No one supports for real

It is the fashionable “activist” thing to say you went somewhere,
That you went to Standing Rock,
That you got that “badge,”
That you are a part of a “movement,”

White Liberals Always Abandon You,

Some White liberals are happy bullying you,
They are racist but “God-colonial-willing,”
They will go to Africa instead of seeing you,
They have 60 plus acres of stolen land,
Resources and access to more things than I ever,

White liberals eat and hoard,
Hoard and eat,
Devour our land,
Always hungry for more land “conservation,”
In a do-gooder-feel-good-gold-star-kind way,
I am White and a liberal shouting from the Manistee National Forest,
I done did good you see me and my colonial might,
Meanwhile pushing-hiding the Ojibway/Metis Two-Spirit,
For colonial fame and unearned fortune, 

This abuse is for real,
I am calling it out,
I am tired of the white liberal festishizing us,
Simultaneously hiding and silencing us,
For the power and might of the colonial control of the wee-town,
They are sinners according to their “God,”

Gchi wiigwam

Tiny houses are racist since we always had the entire land,
Water,
Abundance of food,
Abundance of love,

Nothing tiny is who we are as Anishinaabe,
Star knowledge is not tiny,
It is only this new idea of colonial exclusion in which we need to be tiny,
For the sake of tokenizing on a panel,

It is our inherit right to have everything expansive as the night sky,
Decolonization means reclamation of this unparalleled expanse,

Racially Hostile Work Environments

Trying to make it and stumbling into the colonial oppression,
I went to racist work environment on numerous occasions,
I am treated as the other in othering ways,
White liberals turn a blind eye and they go to Africa instead,
They are colonial bastards,

The racist work environment on numerous occasions,
Became numerous occasions,
For millions of First Nations,
Inuit,
Metis,
Mestizo,
Indigenous,
On Turtle Island,

The colonial people in their tudor clothes,
Click click click down the hall,
To gossip about that mad Indian,
Pshht – why is she so mad?
I don’t understand – thaha – that Indian should be grateful for these pennies we give her,
Pieces of porridge in a tupperware bowl,
For the corner of the pie,
For the corner of the rez,
For the corner of a book,
For the corner of chaffed identity,

I’m looking for clothes that aren’t colonially chafing me,
As I move about and try to live you see,

Work environments where white racist lips,
Move their colonial mouths,
Adjusting that ugly royal tudor collar thing,
Their colonial mouths moving,
Over board room tables,
White documents by white hands detailing racism,
Pshht – I’ve got white law protecting me,
Fair and just and fair for me,

The work environment,
Defined by the colonizer,
Under colonial wage and labor laws,
As defined by colonial anti-discrimination laws,
As defined by the colonial EEOC,
Now it shall be resolved that discrimination will occur in settler colonialism,

The Non-Community

Every white liberal parades down the street with a “community building” banner,
I didn’t know 500 likes on anti-social media meant community,
I “hearted” your status,
Superficial dopamine sugar highs without the depth of meaning,
The non-community is what is real,
Not everyone wants your version of “community,”
Your version ignored these daily cuts of racism,
And tokenizes our pain,
It is why we walked neared the edge,
But you feel good with your empty words and liberal abuse,
That simultaneously marginalizes us even more,

The land as my arm

My arm endured these cuts,
From these racist work environments,
This is the war machine,
On my body,
On my soul, 

I went to the racist work environment,
I survived war on my body,
Mind,
And Soul,

This movement is within me,
Within the prayers of our ancestors,
This healing fire and cleansing power,
My voice is reclamation!
My body is mine!
My soul is bright!
I am a warrior!

Poem: Space

Decolonial space,
Sober space,
Land for the return to the Anishinaabe space,
Matriarchal space,
Jingle dress space,
Traditional hunting space,
Manoomin processing space,
Processing generational trauma space,
Because I am tired of the drama space,
We are not invisible space,
No reason to hide space,
Two-Spirit space,
Ojibwe constellation outer space,
Otter space,
Inner space,
Racism free space,

I know what you want,
A healing space,

Rezitorial lines,
It's my river,
I'm tired of all the space you take up,
Move aside patriarch!
It's my space!

Poem: Warrior Within

There is a warrior within that can rise above,
There is a warrior within that can rise above in the face of oppression,
There is a warrior within that can rise above in the face of addiction,
There is a warrior within that can rise above in the face of sadness,
There is a warrior within that can rise above in the face of anger,
Intense rage,
Intense depression,
Intense helplessness,
The warrior knows the heart and soul can rise above,
The feelings of powerlessness,
The feelings of defeat,
The soul can rise,
The heart in pain,
Can heal,
There is a warrior within that can rise above with bravery,
The warrior has always been there,
The warrior can remove layers of shame,
Guilt,
Darkness surrounds the warrior,
The warrior within can sweep aside the darkness,
The warrior is powerful,
The warrior has a voice,
See yourself as the warrior that is present,
Peaceful,
Content,
Healed,
And healing,
Valuable,
Loved,
By your family,
Parents,
Sisters,
Friends,
Relatives,
Cousins,
Aunts,
Uncles,
Grandparents,
Ancestors from all directions and sides,
The warrior can find strength within,
Remember there is a warrior within that can rise above.

Poem: The Origins of Colonial Crisis

Part 1

It starts with King Henry VIII,
Do not press hard on my ribs,
Remove the chains around my lungs,
My heart,
The cloak,
It’s done,
Burn it in the fire,
To cleanse,

The chains,
They left scars,
My heart is in pain,
Unhinge slowly,
Start to breathe,
It is okay to breath,
Please breath, 

Part 2

It’s time to leave the Tower,
I am tired of gazing out into the sea,
The smell of mold from the chambers,
The darkness of the bedroom,
That one window that faces the sea,
I am tired of the royal show,
The royal garb,
The crown jewels,
The performance for the court,
My enemies in the court gossip and sneer,
Meek and timid,
Too afraid to face me directly,
I travel these cold halls in the Tower alone, 

Part 3

What is hidden we will shine light on,
The mold in the bedroom,
The torture of the soul,
525 years yet to face,
Sexual violence,
Assault,
Pain,
The mold will die when the light enters,
Housing,
Justice,
Free yourself from the self-made – colonially-made prison,

Part 4

You keep talking about,
London,
England,
Britain,
As if we are still Tudors,
The origin of colonial crisis is in the soul,

Part 5

Land acquisition,
The court and betrayal,
The melding of colonization and patriarchy,
Dominion and torture,
Working class peasantry,
Bread in the court on the royal banquet table,
Spilled on the floor,
We dust it clean,
But the trauma returns,
We shake hands and smile above the oubliette,

Part 6

The dresses are gone,
The exit is clear,
I found the stairs to leave,
Anne Boleyn is peacefully resting now,
The crown is no longer hers, 

I want Anishinaabe Aki,
I am gazing at our land before colonization,
Before the execution,
Persecution,
Patriarchy,
Accusations of adultery and witchcraft,
My body was not assaulted in the name of Christ,
Our bodies were healed,
We had great love in our communities,
Traditional governance meant traditional matriarchy,
We tend to these decolonial baskets, 

Mishomis is harvesting manoomin,
As healing as this is,
His hands point to where we need to heal in our bodies,
Zaagidewin mishomis,

Part 7

Patriarchy has done incredible global damage,
King Henry VIII’s dominion is the origin of colonial crisis,
Naming it,
Mishomis,
The healing,
Our neck,
We heal together,
Every single day,
I touch my neck,
My voice,
Our voice, 

Are our tears ever enough?
Is our love strong enough to decolonize colonial pride?
Arrogance,
Ego,
Narcissism, 

The King – he is losing power,
The jig is up,

Part 8

I hope to see our Anishinaabe prophecies fulfilled,
Ode – the heart,
It hurts still these days,
We can tend and heal,
Decolonization is painful,

Part 9

Ajijaak dodem,
Echo makers,
Speakers for the community,
We will speak for this healing,
For the voice,
For the ancestors,
For the ones to come,
For the ending of the colonial crisis,

Noojimo.

A Call to End Lateral Violence In Our Anishinaabe Communities

Preface

I can’t wait until our own people start to protest lateral violence within our Anishinaabe communities.  I can’t wait until we start demanding action be taken and misogynistic tribal councilor’s are removed.  I can’t wait to see the mass of Anishinaabe people at Tribal government buildings demanding that corruption be stopped.  I can’t wait to see our people with protests signs that say – LOVE WATER NOT ALCOHOL.  I can’t wait until we stop running from our own communities and do the work within.

I am aware of “large actions” against Line 5 – “the straits sunken hazard.”  However I am even more aware of the apparent visible hazards of addiction, sexual abuse, and lateral violence within our Anishinaabe communities.  We need not run from these problems but to face them directly.  This is the greatest direct action!

The problem with anti-social media is no one can have 5,000 “friends” or “followers.”  That is a small town you’ve accumulated in a virtual un-reality.  Even in small towns not everyone gets along.  This is why small towns are often quiet and the curtains are drawn because it is better to keep to yourself.

Personally, I am at a breaking point with the lateral violence.  This is a call for help.  This is a decolonial treatise, if you will. 

Decolonization – For Real

I have been involved in community work (I don't use the word activism) since I was 12 years old when I fought against gentrification in my hometown of Royal Oak, Michigan.  Now Royal Oak is a place I wouldn’t want to live.  For 7 years I have resided in the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Territory – or colonially known as Manistee, Michigan.  I have a love and hate relationship with this place.  Little River Band of Ottawa Indians is a non-community meaning there is no community with this tribe.  The level of heteropatriarchy and misogyny is extreme here.  As an Ojibway/Métis Two-Spirit, I have experienced more lateral violence here than I can count from men and women.  On the flipside, there are also people who supported me in crisis, usually more conservative people.  Mostly what I love about Naaminitigong (Manistee) is the land and water.  The non-community troubles me but fuels my life work. 

Heal Yourself to Heal Your People

Fighting a pipeline is bullshit when you haven’t healed yourself.  If you are struggling with an addiction seek help right now.  Stop running from your pain.  Besides big oil will win and it is better to get to the root cause of trauma within our communities that continuously fight against one another.  Big oil doesn’t care about Treaty Rights or Native American rights, we all know this.  You aren’t going to change big oil’s mind with a protest and they actually think it’s funny you are out there “resisting.”  It is the same old song and nothing will change by screaming at cars driving by on the Mackinaw Bridge.  This is Michigan and I come from a Ford family.  My great-Grandfather was a Union Organizer who assisted in the building and the founding the UAW (United Auto Workers).  Without the ancestors hard and monotonous labor we wouldn’t have the world that we have today.  We need cars because we can get to protests.  Otherwise how do you get there?  So what solutions do you propose post oil and post auto industry?  The auto industry has a strong hold on Michigan and these actions won't change it any time soon.  I praise the auto industry for innovation and changing our world.  Do I love the auto industry?  No, I am not in love with it and changes can be made within it.

I’m Sick of Standing Rock

For those of us who resisted in our home territory we see that Standing Rock did nothing to heal you.  Are you really a warrior when you attack your own people?  You are not a warrior when you degrade, insult, and bully another person.  I am sick of hearing about people who went to Standing Rock.  So what?  I went to the racist work environment on numerous occasions.  I wake up in the colonial white supremacist land as a Two-Spirit every single day boldly walking a sober road.  The frontlines are our lives and not this show of power and ego when it comes to “resistance.” 

Authenticity

If you are authentic in your work you need not make a show of it.  This is ego as well as insecurity.  If you are a true warrior then live it and say nothing of your work.  I am not interested in a show of power or a show of ego (insecurity).  You prove you are more in alignment with Diocletian or King Henry VIII when you do this.  I believe in the old Anishinaabe ways.  I believe in what the ancestral and hereditary Chiefs in my lineage might say.  Blood memory means we may feel this or get insights via dreams, intuition, etc.  This leadership is often not even welcome in our own Anishinaabe communities.  Leadership is nurtured throughout one’s lifetime.  It is not something you attain and then know everything.  If you think like this then you are still in alignment with King Henry VIII and not Ogema Waub Aijaak (Chief White Crane).  Leading an authentic life means you don’t need validation of your work by anyone.

Zaagidewin – Love Is the Solution

My treatise doesn’t declare surrendering.  In fact, I am gaining strength.  I am tired of “water protectors,” who are violent towards their own people or smoke “medical marijuana” around their Anishinaabe children.  Anishinaabe are around other Anishinaabe at events and no one can talk to each other.  Then you bully me because I am strong, independent, fierce, educated, creative, intellectual, healed, and healing.  You say I am “intense” because I work very hard for our communities.  You lack intensity because you are normal and boring.   I challenge the patriarchy within men and women. I challenge those who who hog the stage and are not allowing anyone else to be up there.  This is not the work of our people or in our 7 Grandmother (ehem) and Grandfather Teachings.  There are elders who are not passing the torch to the next leaders so I will make my own place to lead without ya’ll supporting me.  This brokenness needs repair.

Gpa & Cece 83.jpg

There is no Anishinaabe “community.”  There is no “Michigan Native community.”  At this point the oppressor has won.  Colonization and genocide has never ended and we are now continuing this oppression in our own non-communities towards each other.  All the buzz words of “resistance,” “decolonization,” and “water protection,” fail because we need to empower our people by and for each other.  Forget the pipeline – get alcohol off of our tribal lands! 

I love my parents.  I love my family.  I love the LaPointe’s.  I love the Sanborn's.  I love the land.  I love the water.  I love Michigamig.  I even love my enemies.  These are my teachings.  The more hate, anger, jealousy, hostility, and lateral violence you send me the more I grow my love.  This garden I tend is beautiful – can you see it?  This work is lonely but I continue forward working from – zaagidewin – love.  Chi miigwech Mishomis LaPointe for supporting me from the so called “other side.”  You are always with us.

Zaagidewin,

Nigig-enz Baapi (Little Laughing Otter)