Attawapiskat: Orphans of the Stone and Sky

Written by: Chris D. Aechtner

Salt-bleached roads merge into a horizon
of snow-clouds pregnant with similar shades of gray.

On television sets, the media squawks loudly
about one of the most affluent suburbs in the world
having been touched by flood during the night.
O! We must come together,
help restore the water-damaged basements
of 1.5 million-dollar homes.
Has the Great Mother no sympathy,
as she continues to unleash her stormy wrath?

Behind the back of a 3rd World town
nestled in the bosom of 1st World commodities,
outsiders whisper of possible mismanaged aid,
of faulty tribal council audits,
while on our land, foreign companies break open the earth,
extracting our Mother's vital organs,
selling blood diamonds to the very people 
with water-damaged 1.5 million-dollar homes....
....maybe the sparkle of a new necklace
will assuage the waiting-period of insurance policies.
Yes, people whisper behind our backs 
about the burden of hand-outs,
while our land subsidizes the entire nation.

But self-pity and envy will not serve us true,
for the widely beaten path 
leads towards more conditioned lies and empty eyes.

Above, the burgeoning snow-clouds
are filled with much potential energy
waiting to be released, just as we are.
If we arise from the swampy, damp ashes
as a phoenix whose wings are dried by courage-breath,
we must act with grace,
live by the golden rule,
treat our oppressors with a dignity
not offered to us in the first place.

To settle for less, 
is to settle for a searing brand of Oji-Cree hypocrisy -
the widely beaten path of conditioned lies and empty eyes.
We, the Orphans of the Stone and Sky,
must rise as graceful Warriors,
must rise to not only protect our own future,
but the future of all children.

We arrived from the Stone and Sky with grace,
so shall we live, so shall we depart, 
and again, so shall we return.






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