#Indigenous #poem #Native #Thanksgiving We thank the Great Spirit

Canadian Thanksgiving is today. Monday October 10, 2016.

I chose the sentences of this prayer that remind me of why we protest, protect and why we give thanks.
So many lovely turns of phrases: “trees that grow shadows”; “the light which we call our oldest brother” and “the kind being of the darkness that gives us light.” They all turn around how we think of things in our world. In western art and science shadows exist when something stands in the light and another part of it does not, we centre the light and the relation instead of the tree. The moon here is someone who belongs with us instead of an object that serves us, that revolves around us, that creates ebb and flow. The moon a kind being of the darkness, where darkness is not immediately frightening, does not first and foremost hold danger; blackness as kindness.

Giving thanks for the workers who took care of and brought in the harvest. Thanking the singers. Thanking those who hold ceremonies. Thanking all the women who do all this cooking -still.  
Enjoy your family and if you don’t have any, go out and walk in the sun, be outside, roll yourself to a park.

The Thanksgivings
Harriet Maxwell Converse

Translated from a traditional Iroquois prayer

[…] We thank the Great Spirit for the water that comes out of the earth and runs
for our lands.
[…]
We thank the Great Spirit for the branches of the trees that grow shadows
for our shelter.
We thank the Great Spirit for … the thunder
and lightning that water the earth.

We thank the Great Spirit for the light which we call our oldest brother, the sun
that works for our good.
We thank the Great Spirit for all the fruits that grow on the trees and vines.
We thank the Great Spirit for the goodness in making the forests,

and thank
all its trees.
We thank the Great Spirit for the darkness that gives us rest, and for the kind Being
of the darkness that gives us light, the moon.
We thank the Great Spirit for the bright spots in the skies that give us signs,
the stars.
We give the Great Spirit thanks for our workers, who had charge of our harvests.
We give thanks that the voice of the Great Spirit can still be heard
through the words of Ga-ne-o-di-o.
[…]
We thank the Great Spirit for all the persons who perform the ceremonies
on this occasion.

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#idlenomore Nourishing terrains poetry: Tony Birch and aboriginal city dwelling. Deborah Bird Rose writes.

Deborah Bird Rose says: “Some urban poets and songwriters speak of the cityscapes which form the sig- nificant places of their lives, and for those whose home country has been overtaken by a metropolis, their creative expression forms powerful links in the continuity of Aboriginal life in Australia.”

Tony Birch

Ladies’ Lounge
straddled across
laminex chairs
dragged from kitchens
into the warm streets
these women
would drink shandies
and smoke cork-tips
while the Hit Parade
drifted from the verandah
we would sit along
the bluestone gutter
listening to our mothers
singing Cilla Black
they would do nails
brush hair and
touch each other
in a late afternoon
summer sun

Read further: http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/62db1069-b7ec-4d63-b9a9-991f4b931a60/files/nourishing-terrains.pdf

Australian (Aboriginal) Poetry 2: Judith Rodriguez, Nigel Roberts!

After / the Moratorium Reading

.         the marie antoinette / slice
.                   of cake / was
.       awarded to
.                              who ever said
.            after this reading / let’s
. get it on / at Michael’s place / I heard
.                                       that guy
.       from Canberra’s got
.                   some farout
.                   vietnamese
.                        shit.

Nigel Roberts (re: Michael Wilding)

Eskimo Occasion

I am in my Eskimo-hunting-song mood,
Aha!
The lawn is tundra    the car will not start
The sunlight is an avalanche     we are avalanche-struck at our
.    breakfast
struck with sunlight through grass    me and my spoonfed daughters
out of this world in our kitchen

I will sing the song of my daughter-hunting,
Oho!
The waves lay down     the ice grew strong
I sang the song      of dark water under ice
the song of the winter fishing     the magic for seal rising
among the ancestor-masks.

I waited by water to dream new spirits,
Hoo!
The water spoke     the ice shouted
the sea opened      the sun made young shadows
they breathed my breathing       I took them from deep water
I brought them fur-warmed home.

I am dancing the year of the two great hunts,
Ya-hay!
It was I who waited       cold in the wind-break
I stamp like the bear       I call like the wind of the thaw
I leap like the sea spring-running.         My sunstruck daughters
.      splutter
and chuckle and bang their spoons:

Mummy is singing at breakfast and dancing!
So big!

Judith Rodriguez

From: The New Oxford Book of Australian Poetry

Australian (Aboriginal) poetry- Sam Mitchell (m), J.S. Harry (f), Kate Llewellyn!

Thunderstorm

After sundown the clouds start to burn,
A big one is bending low, stays and breaks up,
Then it rounds again and raises its forehead high.
On both ends sheet lightning shines.
In the middle where the first layer is gone,
You can see the flash, even inside your home.
Everything dissolves.
In the desert, wide-spread falls the cloudburst,
Drenching all the trees between the two sandhills.

Song by Sam Mitchell, sung in Njangumarda language and translated by S. Mitchell and Georg Brandenstein.

Honesty-Stones

The land between us
had grown so bare
the landscape so denuded—
all we had left was what we knew—
just the rocks and the shades they cast—
your eyes my eyes, across them.

We did not need to speak, to talk.
Everything was in the rocks.
It had been said before.

We could not live there.

J.S. Harry

Colonel

He rode a white horse
heading the Anzac Day Parade
fought at Ladysmith
and Gallipoli
was 90
tall
and treated me
as his batman

helping him
down the hospital corridor
seemed holding rare archeology
by the elbow

I apologized for clumsiness
he said ‘Never mind Sister
every beginning is difficult’
but he said it in Latin

his marriage of 60 years ended
when she died
he ran the funeral elegantly
with military style
and died a month later

Kate Llewellyn

The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse, chosen by Les A. Murray.

USED: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=14144434264

NOURISHING TERRAINS, Australian Aboriginal Views of Landscape and Wilderness:
http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/62db1069-b7ec-4d63-b9a9-991f4b931a60/files/nourishing-terrains.pdf

Caribou. Indigenous Winter Poem. Winter Solstice story telling! — complete now!

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Photo credit: unknown.

When lake froze in winter,
When Caribou came,
It was just like horses, same.
You could hear their feet making noise,
Making noise [imitates hoofs on ice].
Lots of caribou covered up these hills.

I want to talk about this story,
old people tell this story.

One time, caribou took people
That man had a little bit of doctor, I guess;
Well, caribou took him.

Everybody felt bad: he was gone.
His wife was left alone.

Right in the middle of the lake, they heard caribou singing his song.
People don’t know what to do —
They tried to get him.

One man said, “Well,let’s go. We’re going to try.”
Yeah!

NGS Picture ID:696517
Photo: Paul Nicklen. National Geographic.

They’ve got bow and arrow, that’s all — they have no gun yet.
It was a long time ago, I guess.
They heard that man’s song.
I think it was wintertime.
Wintertime.

That caribou just lay down in the middle of that ice.

All the time he stayed in the middle.
For a long time, they watched him.
Whenever they tried to come to that caribou, all the time he watched them.
He looked from person to person.
And all the time he didn’t sleep.

One man told them he was going to do it.
Then he sneaked in. [She shows how he wrestled with the caribou and held it down.]

The caribou spoke:
‘You smell,” he told people.

Well that man knew how to talk to caribou.
“What about your kids,” they asked him.
“Your kids are crying for you,” his own brother told him.
“What’s wrong with you?”

He couldn’t help it.
So they brought him. They brought him home.
They took him home!
I guess his wife is glad: he’s got kids too!
His wife came, and his kids.
He held his kids’ hands, but for his wife, nothing.
He doesn’t know her yet.

Well, they took him back.
They told him.
Then they watched him.
They made a camp for it [away from the human camp].

Somebody watched him there.
He wanted to go!
He doesn’t eat their food — he eats only willows.
You know what that means!
But they kept him the other side of the fire.

Then he came back to person.
But he can’t hunt caribou anymore.

This was way before my time, but I saw lots of caribou.
they came back, caribou.
All this mountain was covered by caribou.
Used to be we had caribou not too long ago when my kids were growing up.

One time lots of caribou fell through the ice, one lake.
I called my husband back to get the meat.
My mother-in-law came to get the skins.
She got enough that time: she had her son with her.
They are hard to clean when they fall in that way
That’s the last time that caribou came this way.
That’s the last time we saw caribou come.

But they didn’t come back. How come?
That man came back to person.
Then he knew where moose are, where caribou are.
He tells them, but he can’t hunt them.

That’s the last time caribou came this way.
Since then nothing.

After Skookum Jim found gold everything changed.
White people came to this country.
White people learned everything from Indians.
Now they want the whole thing, the land!
I’ve got 64 grandchildren in this Yukon.
I worry about them, what’s going to happen?
White people, where’s their grandpa? Their grandma?
Indians should have their own land
To be continued

From: Life Lived Like a Story
Life Stories of Three Yukon Native Elders
Julie Cruikshank. UBC Press.

Library in Toronto: http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDM521988&R=521988

Order online:
– New: http://www.ubcpress.ca/search/title_book.asp?BookID=444
– Used: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&tn=Life+Lived+Like+a+Story

 

Canadian geographic
Photo: Canadian National Geographic.

caribou_kusawa
Photo: Milo Burcham

Every land is the holy land– Watch where the branches of the willows bend! And some haikus… Black Elk, Le Guin, Issa on Friday!

Image Image

Every land is the holy land by Ursula K. Le Guin (November 2006)

From a saying of Black Elk
Watch where the branches of the willows bend
See where the waters of the rivers tend
Graves in the rock, cradles in the sand
Every land is the holy land
Here was the battle to the bitter end
Here’s where the enemy killed the friend
Blood on the rock, tears on the sand
Every land is the holy land
Willow by the water bending in the wind
Bent till it’s broken and it will not stand
Listen to the word the messengers send
Life like the broken rock, death like the sand
Every land is the holy land

.

.
And some haikus for Friday by Issa:

The distant mountains
are reflected in the eye
of the dragonfly

Frog and I,
eyeball
to eyeball.

A sheet of rain.
Only one man remains among
cherry blossom shadows

What good luck!
Bitten by
this year’s mosquitoes too.