I am from the land of fish, water and sky
The land is green and abundant with trees, though they’re
only a few metres high. There are lichen and willow, ducks, snow and geese.
I am from a home where the northern lights glow, the
summer days are long six months to be sure. The kids play
from early summer to early fall.
Oh, how I miss fish guts, caribou marrow and bannock
cranberry jam to boot,
condiments you say.
Pass the lard and salt if you will please.
Bear grease and blueberries if you please.
Awa! is jee ah nest’s. Where’s the zeem?
Play cowboys, Indians and I want to be John Wayne, found
’em up saddle,
Time’s a wastin’
Crack Henry you wanna make a few bucks,
some Samba and make a run for us
Same ol’ stuff
St. George’s please.
Hutsiel-ke, Rocher River,
Bescho nena—USA in English
Chief Big Bear Dené
Heroes of certainly not the written word
Oral history is where it’s at on
the Moccasin Telegraph.
Custer they say
had it coming.
I think this is true.
Crowfoot was a sucker
but a good Injun.
I am from the land of endless day
night at fall of crimson sky
until the northern lights start to play and that is when
the trout will dance upon the water for you,
the loons will waltz for you
and the bull-moose will fight for you,
assuming you know how to call them.
Our fridge is abundant with food
of the land in spring.
Duck, goose eggs, water fowl
of every kind
on their annual Northern migration
from far off warm places with names
I can’t even name in my language,
the tongue of the Chipewyan-Denesoliné.
Bannock and hard make
Indian hard they say
That true is true
for my Grandpa told me so.
Oh! It’s winter time now
Hitch up the dogs, ready the sled
are my moccasins ready?
Have my gun, matches, can of snuff
Dry meat, tea and good ol’ lard can
Got my grill
Time’s a wastin’ the wind feels good
-40° below in my face and the wind at my back
Crack goes the rifle
OK Joe, shoot one get the other one Alex
While I reload. Grandpa and Granny are gonna eat good tonight.
I think it’s Hank Williams time
and the Red River jig.
Strum, strum, and off to bed we go.
The airtight aglow
Full stomach warm blanket
the jokes are done.
Thank you, Creator, for another day.
When I was young.
Joseph is a participant in Megaphone’s community writing program held at Onsite—the treatment centre above Vancouver's safe-injection site.
Photo by monkeyatlarge