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The Fresco Tells It All

The Fresco Says It All! From the mountain, From the forest, From the river, From the wild, We came. Naked. Not tamed In their eyes. Depicted by cathedral fresco At Mission BC Our faces are empty In their eyes. No clothes, No nose, No eyes, No ears, No mouth, No expression, No emotions. No individuals. We were the faceless In their eyes Before the Black Robes Came. In their eyes Were we Barren pewter plates? Empty jugs? Blank paper to write on? Creatures to domesticate? To tame? In their eyes Were we cyphers In a ledger? Were we souls In a cash register For deposit in Rome? In their eyes did they see 'Chum' salmon Heading home to die In God? As seen in their fresco As seen by their eyes, Out from the watery wilderness The first of us converted, Got a colourless face and shoulders. The second to convert Got copper coloured skin, Got face legs and arms, And from Rome a number, To mark a soul as saved, As the numbers as blessings Were tallied in a roster At St Peters. At first, We resisted conversion Until small pox struck our village. An invasive species like the Europeans. It brought fatigue, then death after Rashes, lesions and pus-filled scabs. As loved ones were perishing In the fever of the plaque, We were promised Life after death With our elders In a beautiful heaven. As seven out of ten Of our people died We were saved. We were promised salvation And residential schools For our children. We have survived it all As a people. But we are still living with the scars Not of small pox But from our saving. This was no miracle.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2016

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