Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day Nineteen: Settling the Land

Settling the Land

I speed along broken highway
no time to walk and snap pictures
my meditation out the window
country music crying within
I pass Abernathy
3 K away the historic
Motherwell homestead
     free quarter sections
     in the late 1890's
     for settlers
the holes and bumps
deepen and multiply
I land in Lemberg and Neudorf
their signs proclaim
1904 and 1905
     and something like a moth
     is in my heart
     fluttering, then still
     with no bright light
     lending focus or flame
my author visit over
I race to Fort Qu'Appelle
     post 1864
     the miles and years blur by
     like an abstract canvas
to Weyburn we go
Tommy Douglas territory
     they say he was the first to
     ensure First Nations' vote
home, home we rush, home
in time to take daughter number three
to fiddle lessons
learn the Red River Jig, she will

     laying in bed
     treaty teaching in my eyes
     like a flame
     the moth alights

And I realize
while my people
were settling
the land
children were being
to residential
     the crying house
their parents
locked down
     had to be
     or how could
     the children be
     treated so
by Indian Agents

as I time travel treaty four
I pass here
I pass there
with no pass necessary
no pass system for me
     I've heard stories
     no pass for a father to attend his daughter's funeral
     no pass for a brother to attend his sister's wake
     so he went anyway
     thrown in jail for his crime
     while the Indian Agent was in charge
     my people were settling the land

1 comment:

  1. It makes your stomach churn, doesn't it? It does mine.