Heart Aflame

“They tried every genocidal tactic on us and we’re STILL here” -indigenous activist speaking at a rally for Idle No More 

Today, Elder Rose Henry spoke from her heart about Indigenous rights and resistance. Her firey truth conveyed a strength and power that ignited my passion for positive social change. When she spoke, I felt my agency reawaken. First, she played the “Women’s Warrior Song” and I witnessed 800 women drum on Coastal Salish Territory in memory of the 3,000+ indigenous women murdered or missing across the country. Then, she played the “Strong Woman Song” by Lisa Muswagon and Raven Hart-Bellecourt. She said that we as indigenous people are resilient and have never lost the power to heal ourselves and our communities. She taught us about singers like Buffy Sainte-Maire who were not afraid to speak out for justice even in the face of persecution and ostracism. She taught us that public transit, health care, clean air, food and water are all areas that need to be addressed in order to change the systems that oppress people today. She encouraged us to do our research on social issues and make connections between things like substandard housing, the corporate-military industrial complex and our nation’s history of violence against First Nations people.

Much of what she said, I’m still processing, however; I’ll leave you with a poem to convey the feeling her words imparted on me.

We survived! 
Indian Wars, Boarding Schools and Relocation

Rape, torture, forced assimilation
NO MORE will we hate ourselves
NO MORE will we deface ourselves
I don’t want to do wrong
take whats not mine
I want to live long
and do what’s right
NO MORE will I hate myself
NO MORE will I debase myself
We got to listen to our Elders
Their Love is what shelters 
We got to speak from the Heart 
Ignite the spark 
To light up the dark
I am what I am
minds try to divide 
While I live in my heart 
peacefully abide
listen to Spirits 
speaking inside 
Look in my eyes 
I wear no disguise
contemplative and wise
What does it mean to take a breath?
Critique or attest? 
We must reassess 
A moral “progress”
Based on
Suffering
War
And social unrest 
 
Visions…coming to me now
Searching for a way to write it all down
 
Whole heaps of abuse 
Mistrust and misuse 
I can hear the world crying 
At night I feel the dying 
Some people fighting to the death
Others stay free till their Spirit has left
 
From my grandpa I learned to think and act slowely
From my grandma I learned I will always be Holy
No experience above
The greatest is love
 
But there is a cancer in humanity 
Killing bodies mentally
Separation: the illusion
Causes confusion
So we turn on ourselves 
for power and wealth
Killing 
For what?
Big boobs and a butt?
Sex object you rape then
Label a slut
A movement of pleasure 
To control what you measure
Observational tools 
Blind you
to the rules 
That you reap what you sow
The whirlwind knows 
Your trouble it grows
while my freedom just flows 
Ripe, ready to know 
To nourish and go 
the way of peace
Come, Look! And be seen 
Let’s not be mean
I know a pasture 
where the grass is still green
Sun shimmering 
flowers blossoming 
state toppling 
come walk with me
Let’s all get free!
The indigenous Revolution is Now 
Hear the skin drum
Feel it! Pow!
Ancestors with me now
-Violet Luxton 

CS_Idle-No-More_Toronto-Eaton-Centre-Round-Dance-flash-mob-low-res-748x500

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