Poem: Nokomis dash Mishomis

Grandpa (Mishomis) LaPointe and me - December 1983.

Grandpa (Mishomis) LaPointe and me - December 1983.

You see we have been striving for generations to feel ode,
Scoop down,
Kneel down,
Pick up,
And gather,
The teachings,

But this means in feeling ode we feel the hurt,
Magnified sorrow by oppressive forces,
Hands on the curb,
Pieces of the cement glued to our hands as we rise,
We must brush this off,
The train speeds by,
The street light flickers,
The curb is a metaphor for being sidelined,
Unseen,
Invisible,
We must continue on,
Only to end up laying on the floor for 14 hours,
Unable to move,
Our tears too much,
To breathe,
Yet to rise,
Rise,
Rise,
Recover,

Can you feel the heart of everything?
Do you remember the carpet?
The white walls?
The smell?
Rise,
Rise,
Recover,

There were times we couldn't breath,
The dominant culture decided our identity for us,
To withstand a lifetime of racism,
To stand up and rise,
To speak out against racism,
To speak for others who can't speak,
To speak for others who are afraid,
To speak for the ancestors who were silenced,
To speak for the ones who are on their way,

Zaagidewin,
Opening ode,

Gwekwaadeziwin,
With ourselves,

Aakidehewin,
To feel ode,

Mnaadendmowin,
For ourselves,

Dbaadendiziwin,
In the circle,

Debwewin,
Speak it from ode,

Nbwaakaawin,
Always in the circle,

Gently feet dance on the Earth,
Prayers for recovery,
Tears for recovery,
Hot summer sun,
Smiling,
Laughing,
This joy is ours,
We are strong,
We are strengthening who we are,

The bead work,
The laughter,
Water,
Prayers,
Cedar,

We feel your smiles,
We feel your gentleness,

Chi miigwech nokomis!
Chi miigwech mishomis!

- - - - - 

Translations

- Aakidehewin - Courage
- Chi miigwech - Many thanks
- Dash - And
- Dbaadendiziwin - Humility
- Debwewin - Truth
- Gwekwaadeziwin - Honesty
- Mishomis - Grandfather
- Mnaadendmowin - Respect
- Nbwaakaawin - Wisdom
- Nokomis - Grandmother
- Ode - Heart
- Zaagidewin - Love

Poem: Celebration Sound

3 year old girl,
Doing circles around me as I dance,
I can't go faster,
Instead I have to pause,
Slow my steps,
Watch her and laugh,
Watch her and smile,
What a celebration,
The sound of her jingles,
The sound of our jingles,

Pink jingle dress,
Delicate foot steps,
Watching carefully,
Observant of the drum,
Red and black,
Makwa dodem,
Ajijaak dodem,

We are all dancing together,
Small steps,
Slower steps,
Excited steps,
Proud steps,

There is too much to dance for,
When I was 3 years old there was shame,
Now this 3 year old has no shame,

You see this circle?
This circle of healing,

See the generations rise,
See the generations dance,
The celebration seen by the ancestors.

Poem: Jingle Dress Dancer

She dances,
Most of the time when she is not dancing,
You see her tending to community,
When community is non-existent,
Broken,

Fragmented conglomerations of identities,
Soul wounding,
Soul trauma,
Across territories,
Times,

She dances,
With beauty,
Praying,
There is a sound,
Of the jingles,
If you listen closely,

There is healing,
Quietly,
Loudly,
Boldly,

She has many gifts,
Often unheard or unseen,

She is cleansing,
Healing,

Stepping through the dark caverns of her soul,
Of her family’s soul,
Of her communities soul,
Red energy,
Clearing the yellow haze of oppression,
She is the heart of our nations,

She deserves respect,
She deserves honor,
She deserves a safe home,
She deserves support in all forms,
She deserves love.