Poetry- Wounds By Christine Miskonoodinkwe Smith

Wounds open
And fester inside
Bringing forth a pain
I cannot adequately describe

Wounds open
And fester inside
Though I know I’m not alone
And there’s countless other
Sixty Scoopers who feel the same

My pain from yesterday
Compounds with today’s
And becomes fresh once more.

Wounds open
And fester inside
Bringing forth a pain
I cannot adequately describe

I try to hold the tears inside
But I no longer can

The wounds of the past
Have hit me once more
And I’m triggered again
With words

That once again
Leave me feeling raw
And vulnerable once more

 

I Walk in Two Worlds

By: Christine Miskonoodinkwe-Smith

I walk

in two worlds

Despite being a racialized woman

A member of a First Nations in Canada

I walk

In two worlds

Fighting to live

In the westernized world

When I also have Anishnawbe worldviews

I take westernized medication

And listen and adhere to western knowledge and Anishnawbe knowledge

When all I want

Is to understand the richness of my people,

Our language and traditions

Without being judged

Because I grew up

And was adopted out

Removed from my people

Removed from my culture

Traditions and language

And removed

From my home community

I walk

in two worlds

Despite being a racialized woman

A member of a First Nations

I live in two worlds

Where divide and conquer

Seems to be the norm

And lateral violence

Is a part of every day life

Every which way you turn

How do I reconcile

Walking in two worlds

When it’s through no fault

Of my own

That the government

Believes

Assimilation is the key

October 8, 2019

Review: Nitisanak by Lindsay Nixon

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Nitisanak Review:

By: Christine Miskonoodinkwe Smith

Nitisanak is a ground breaking memoir that explores love in its many intricate and difficult ways. It explores queer love, prairie punk scenes, toxic masculinities, the feminine divine and so much more.

Author, Lindsay Nixon asks “Is there really such thing as NDN love, as trauma bb love, as love for the unloved? Nixon brings awareness to the issues that have tainted NDN love, not only for those from the prairies but NDNs everywhere- colonialism and genocide that ripped children from their homes in the middle of the night and made them prisoners to a world they didn’t know.  She states that many NDN’s were alone, frightened, hungry and cold. That there were those who died trying to come home, and those who no longer knew tenderness recoiled at its touch.

She brings up that love is hard because of what we have all lost through intergenerational trauma, the loss to connection to land, colonialist capitalism, and how cynicism has set in. These aspects of ourselves have made us question not only ourselves but those around us. Nixon also weaves grief and loss into her stories and how that has impacted her, but makes her audience question themselves through her stories- is love attainable and if it is- what intricacies are involved in obtaining the love that we so often search for in our lives.

 

 

Review of “Raised Somewhere Else”

Review- Ohpikiihaakan- Ohpihmeh- Raised Somewhere Else

Reviewed by Christine Miskonoodinkwe-Smith

Cardinal’s book “Raised Somewhere Else” brings awareness to an assimilationist policy that the Canadian government practiced between the 1960s to the early 1980s of removing First Nations children from their biological families and being raised somewhere else (outside their own culture) and striving to essentially come back home. With a foreword written by renowned scholar and a Sixties Scoop survivor herself-Dr. Raven Sinclair, the book breaks important ground.

In Raised Somewhere Else, Cardinal speaks of hardship, abuse and trauma. She writes about the experiences she endured growing up outside her culture as a result of the Sixties Scoop but also gives a voice to an unrelenting resiliency within herself to overcome the hardships she has experienced as an Indigenous woman trying to heal and come to terms with her past.

Recalling the abuses imparted on her and the various traumas that had a lasting effect on Cardinal and her family is triggering at times, especially if you as the reader can relate very closely to the experiences Cardinal speaks of in her book. Overall, this book is a must read for those who don’t understand the impacts of what Canadian assimilationist policies have had on Indigenous peoples as a whole.

 

Home: What is it?

Home? What is it? That’s a question that often crosses my mind and as I contemplate it I think about my biological family, question the audacity of the Canadian government and their puppets who took my siblings and I away from my mommy, and that we were kidnapped to another province. It has taken me years and I’m still healing from that so called family that adopted me, only to give me up and put me back into care at the age of ten, where I went through the foster care system, and lived as a ward of the Children’s Aid. Where is home I ask? I made TORONTO my home after I moved here for eating disorder treatment in my early twenties. I found my birth mommy in my early thirties and I travelled back and forth n fought to establish a relationship with her because that is what I wanted the most. Holidays and birthdays are hard because I have often felt like I’m the one who is lost-lost because essentially I am an orphan and have been for years-especially since my mommy died. I can no longer call her or reach out-she was the glue that held me together in so many ways because I could finally say “I have a mom”. I can’t say that anymore.
Others have stepped in and have helped me to establish what home could mean-I thank the TORONTO community, I thank First Nations House and the thousands I’ve met while I was fortunate to study at the University. Time is fleeting.
Today I was asked to write about the impact that the sixties scoop had on me for my claim. Canada you made me and countless other Indigenous children/people to feel lost because really what is home without community, culture and language? home- what is it, where is it? It’s a question that often leaves me reeling and wondering will I ever feel at home spiritually and emotionally? There’s a physicality to what home is and where it’s at-in the end, it’s up to you!

Memory……

I wish memory didn’t become faulty or wax and wane with time. I remember the day I met you, I travelled three days on a greyhound from another province. Told a stranger in the seat beside me with the excitement of a little kid “I’m meeting my mom for the first time” the lady looked at me with a sorrow in her eyes I couldn’t or maybe didn’t want to comprehend. I exited that bus into the chilly Winterpeg weather and entered the station. I looked across the row of seats and there you stood-nimama. I looked like you! I couldn’t believe it! I remember you shuffling over to me and giving me the biggest hug ever. The tears were many but the sadness was mixed with joy-we had finally found each other. That first visit was hard, you ended up in hospital briefly, and when they discharged you, like a mother does for her child-except the roles were reversed. I lovingly did your coat up and put my arm back around you. I miss you mommy. I wish memory didn’t become faulty or wax and wane with time-I want to keep remembering the first time we met, after a colonial and patriarchal system ripped us apart and we entered each other’s lives once more. When we looked at each other and hugged for the first time. Mommy, I knew I was finally home and a part of me is missing now that you are gone.

Poetry By: Christine M. Smith

Red

power

Nations strong and intact

Red

power

blood

contact begins

 

destruction ensues

 

Red

power

blood

chaos

colonialism

divides and tries to conquer

Red

power

Blood

Missing women

Murdered women

 

Red

Power

Blood

Mayhem

we try to fight

But government ignores

Red

Power

Blood

Truths, words

Mean everything

Did you say reconciliation?