Tag Archives: first nations

I am Grateful

I am grateful for the privilege that lets me live on Vancouver Island

I am grateful to be a visitor on the traditional lands of the Lek’wungen People

I am grateful for the freedom to walk on the beach at dusk in safety

I am grateful for being a white male

in a world of violence towards women

I thank the creator for all the gifts I share

I thank the creator for all of you

I’m grateful

for the privilege of sharing

this moment

this now

with you

 

David Trudel © 2014

 

 

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bad faith

bad faith has led to this place

the transept holds a draped table

where lawyers pulpit

rights, titles and historical truths

dressed in split hairs

ritualistic applause marks each voice

concepts like terra nullius  lie uncovered

offered up like original sin by unholy courts

whose collective guilt bleeds

as red as maple leaves on white fields

empty spaces left uncoloured

unoccupied by truth

condemned by greed to be torn away

from those who can’t exist

in this place

where faith has been rocked

by fraud and lies

culture quarried and stripped

left for dead

still, there are heartbeats

that call like drums

ascending

 

 

David Trudel  ©  2014

 

 

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Soft As

in my realm

dreams are real

there are no walls

they bleed

into each other

dripping

like they do

as soft as

pianissimo

whispered into your ear

while I forget

to wake up

while I forget

to remember

while I forget

what it was

that stopped me

from continuing

on

even though

there are walls

defenses

and a window

into infinity

 

David Trudel     ©   2013

 

 

 

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Song From The Big House

The scent of woodsmoke clings to me

Like a spirit not ready to let go of this world

Not from fear but out of love

Holding on to memories that reverberate

To the beat of the round drum

And the stamp of bare feet on a dirt floor

In a place that echoes the past into the present

Where dances are sacramental offerings

Shared with ghosts who linger in the dust

Raised by each footfall

Even though we applaud we know this isn’t a performance

But a moment to let spirits intermingle

Bathed in smoke that permeates our souls

Dusted with earth that has witnessed degradation and despair

Seen attempts at genocide collide with patient persistence

Until old songs are given new voice

And old voices are heard with new understanding

To the beat of ancestral hearts witnessing truth

In the flicker of flames that never died out

That burn on into the tomorrow of today

 

 

David Trudel   ©  2013

 

 

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Ida Nomore

600373_10151333157542036_2060481016_nI look into your eyes and see determination

I see courage born of oppression

Of knowing that the worst is only more of the same

And since you’ve taken enough shit for a generation

It’s not exactly child’s play

But it ain’t as bad as giving in

There are no more excuses

No more retreats

When so many backs are walled

A line forms

And damn it

You say, you know what?

Fuck you assholes

If you want to play that way

I’ll take you on

I’ll set the stage

On the granite steps of your monumental edifice

With a lawn chair

A few signs

And time

 

 

David Trudel   © 2013

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Eagle

It came into view through the last wisps of fog

Then disappeared and must have wheeled

Because now it’s drifting obliquely and giving us the eye

Before slipping away

Winged blessing

Over this angular space where we share the air

Called by drums and elders

 

Circling, I see unity

Songs of power and healing radiate warmth

A small boy gives me a red felt feather that I pin to my jacket

Everyone is smiling

When the dancing begins the eagle returns

In spirit

The breath of the chanters flies up

Out of the cloistered square into the timeless sky

Reclaiming the echoes that reverberate to longhouses lost

 

Circling, I see pride

Beautiful regalia worn with serious grace

Shared resolve winding through us all

As the drums pull dancers into song hearts

Spirit moves

Smiles fly across the crowd

On eagle feathers

 

David Trudel    ©  2013

 

 

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Victoria Idle No More

I wear my medicine bundle on this trek

A universe contained around my neck

A flake of the rock that rolled Sisyphus

Midnight warmth of a lover’s kiss

Seven dreams undreamt

A perfect snowflake

 

It gives me strength

 

I join the ragtag muster of this armless army

Whose weapons are but peace and righteous dignity

 

My passion is not as bitter as the cold drizzle

Yet there is enough bitter passion to go around

My settler feet fumble through the rounddance

Her hands fly up like birds to throbbing drumbeats

Songs that pull power up and out of the earth

Through the chests of the chanting elders in button blankets

And spongeyoung apprentices taking up ancient beats

From places whose names flow like poetry

Esquimalt, Gitksan, Ahousaht, Haisla, Songhees, Nisga’a, Qualicum

Songs that reverberate off the closed doors of government

Into the hearts of us all

Feeling the power of these words that connect to the memory of this place

Since displaced but never erased

Original needs no title to be authentic

Now is the time to support authenticity

Of people

Of place

So we come together in this parade of weaponless warriors

Fed by desperation

Sparked by indignation

To simply say that we’ll be idle no more

Because idleness is complicit in oppression

So raise a feather and be

Idle No More

 

 

David Trudel   ©  2013

 

 

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Idle No More

Ripples of rage spread from bridge to bridge

Flashmobs round dance to drums and chants

Enough, come the cries

From the mothers and aunts and brothers and sons

Enough, say the many

Enough, say the dismayed

Taking away treaty rights by bullyboy tactics

Is one provocation too many

This is a place to draw the line

Delisting protected lakes and rivers is another

Ramming it through in an omnibus bill

One more

But there are others

Like broken promises and dirty tricks

Payouts to the few

Kicking the down and out, routinely

In the rush to sell out to the highest bidder

So there are lines being laid

Feet and fingers no longer idle

Led by leaderless first peoples

Supported by sympathizers

Here

There

Everywhere

Spreading like a toxic oil spill in a pristine valley

Just as hard to clean up

So they’ll try some softsoap platitudes

But eventually

It’s all about adjusting attitudes

So hold your meetings

But don’t hold your breath

Results and outcomes must be seen

Not more hollow wiggle words from wormtongued weasels

Elected or not

This country, this place, these places

Are not yours to subdivide

We, the people say no

Economic interests are transitory

Harmful and dangerous to the land

Priceless land

So back off, Stephen

Back down and get real

Try some democracy

Try some justice

Try some honesty

For a change

David Trudel   © 2013

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The Star Maidens

Chapter Three

As the campfire danced in front of them, the girls lay back on their bedrolls and continued talking about the boys and young warriors they knew, or knew of by reputation in the case of some of the other nations up and down the coast.  First, Falling Star asked about one of the young warriors in Starlight’s village who she thought looked pretty handsome.  “But of course I really don’t know anything about him at all.  What’s he really like?” Starlight was giggling uncontrollably but managed to choke out, “Oh, is it ever a good thing you asked me first.  Not only is he stupid, he has the worse case of the farts you could ever imagine.  Believe me, he might look good but he smells so bad you would never want to be near to him!”

After a moment Starlight asked Falling Star about a boy in her village.  He was already promised to another girl. Falling Star asked about a young man from the Sooke territory but Starlight had heard that he had drowned on a whaling expedition. Back and forth they went, listing every single possibility but for each one they found something wrong, and so one by one all the names were crossed off the list.

“You know, Starlight?” said Falling Star, as she gazed up into the heavens, “We might as well wish to marry one of those stars.  I kind of like the looks of that one over there.  I want to marry him.” she said, gesturing.  Starlight responded by saying, “I think that one over there twinkles in a really nice way.  I want to marry him.”  The girls laughed and sat up.

“You know what Falling Star?”

“What?”

“We should do a promise dance for our star husbands before we fall asleep.  Maybe they will come for us.”

So the girls got up, and started dancing around the fire, repeating their wish of marrying the star husbands.  They danced and danced until the fire burned down to glowing embers, and they were so exhausted they collapsed on their bedrolls and fell asleep instantly.

The girls were both tired from their long day and were soon snoring away. The fire’s embers dimmed and the silence of the night was complete. In the middle of the night, when the black was at its blackest, and not even the chipmunks were stirring, something happened that had never happened before.  There was a crackling noise around the campsite, like small branches being broken, and a strange blue tinged light appeared in the sky overhead.  The girls sat up, rubbing their eyes in amazement as the light descended closer and closer to earth.  As it approached, they saw it was some kind of floating canoe holding two young men.  It settled on the ground near them, and they looked at each other in amazement.  “It’s them,” said Starlight, “the star people heard us!”

 

 

David Trudel    © 2012

 

 

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The Star Maidens

Chapter Two

 

“Oh Starlight,” exclaimed Falling Star, “that was so much fun! I’m exhausted but it was as if we were in some kind of battle, and then it was like we were flying over the water.”  “I know, I felt it too!” replied Starlight.  They talked for a while about each other’s family, and what had been going on with them, since it seemed like the people of both villages were all related one way or another to each other.  Falling Star’s little sister, Raven, had fallen out of a tree and broken her arm, but Falling Star had managed to help her back to the longhouse, and had helped her aunt to set and bind the break.  Starlight exclaimed in sympathy as the story unfolded.

 

They paddled along the waterway, admiring the broad silvery pathway that led the way through the forested banks.  “Falling Star, I have some pretty big news myself.  I was visited by the moon spirit three weeks ago and had my ceremonial sweat in the woman’s lodge!” “Starlight, that’s wonderful!  Congratulations! That means we’re both women now!” exclaimed her friend, who had gone through the same rite of passage a few moons earlier.  “I think that’s why my grannie and your auntie allowed us to go harvesting together, we are getting pretty grown up now” continued Starlight.  “Yes, but you know what that means don’t you?” countered Falling Star.  “No, what do you mean?” said Starlight.  Falling Star continued, “Why, now they’ll want to marry us off, and I don’t know about you but all the boys around here are so, well, dull.  They never do anything really exciting, like in those stories the elders tell around the fire.”  “Now that you mention it” said Starlight, “I haven’t been much impressed either.  Most of the boys I know are just boastful and arrogant, who push each other around and fight a lot.  And they make all those disgusting noises!”  “Hahaha”, laughed Falling Star.  “You’ve got that right!  And what about the smell!” she continued, which made them both laugh some more.

 

By now, they had swung around the last corner and the rapidly emptying tidal inlet spread out in front of them.  Starlight shielded her eyes from the sun and saw the channel she was looking for. “Over there, Falling Star, over there” she said, pointing out the deeper water that marked the course of the creek that fed into the inlet.  Eerily, the water around them continued to drop and the mud flats emerged around them.  By sticking to the creek, they managed to traverse the last hundred paddle strokes and reach their destination, which was a little beach near the mouth of the creek.  They ran the canoe up onto the bank and jumped out, hauling the canoe up as far as they could.  Then they took the cedar plaited rope out from the bow of the canoe and fastened it to a tree.  After securing the canoe they prepared their camp not too far away, making sure to cache their food high overhead.   They knew they’d be tired when they finished their work so they took a few moments to gather some firewood and made sure that the slumbering coal was still glowing.  Then they each took about half of the baskets they had brought, and their cutting tools, and set off on the trail that led through the fringe of trees that marked the creek, to the start of the expansive meadow they had come to harvest.  The camas bloom was over but the regal purple flowers were still a sight to see, even if they were drying up in the summer heat.  They fell to with the same hardworking spirit they had shown during the race with the tide.  As they worked, they amused each other by making up verses to the harvesting song they were singing.  After a while, the verses started to get stuck on certain male body parts, and pretending to be cutting them off like they were doing with the camas, which was funny at first but soon left them both a little embarrassed.  “Gee, Falling Star, we were making fun of the boys for being as crude as they are, and now we’ve been doing the same thing pretty much.” “I know” she replied somewhat abashedly, “and we are supposed to be training to be healers.  Let’s get back to work.”  On and on they went, filling basket after basket with the precious morsels.  Soon they had beaten a well-worn path back to the camp. As the long day finally surrendered to dusk and twilight, the girls brought in their last baskets of the day’s harvest.  They took the basket with the coal over to their firepit and placed it carefully in the middle.  Carefully, but with the assurance of experience they built the fire up into a cheery blaze.  They shared each other’s food, and relaxed together after their long day.  “That was awesome Starlight” said Falling Star, “I am tired but I had so much fun today and look at what we accomplished.  All those baskets filled, all by ourselves!”

 

David Trudel    © 2012

 

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