DOING THE BLANKET EXERCISE ON THE LAND WHERE ALL MY PEOPLE LIVED

By Michael Starr-Desnomie

 

TELLING THE PEOPLE WHO NEVER KNEW

WHAT ALL HAPPENED BACK IN THE DAY.
STORIES THAT THEY NEVER HEARD.
THE THINGS THEY DIDN’T KNOW
EVEN THE DARKEST SECRETS
THAT WERE HIDDEN FROM THE HISTORY BOOKS
BEHIND MY PEOPLES HISTORY.

WHAT THEY HAD TO BE FORCED TO DO
AND THEIR LAND WAS TAKEN BY FORCE
THE EUROPEANS DIDN’T SEE FIRST NATION PEOPLES
AS A FRIEND OR AN ALLY
BUT AS A PROBLEM.

WHEN I READ THE EUROPEAN SCRIPT

I KINDA HAD THAT AWFUL FEELING
SAD ABOUT HEARING
WHAT I DIDN’T HEAR
FROM ONLY STORIES
TOLD TO ME BY MY ELDERS
MUSHUMS AND KUKUMS
BUT MOSTLY, I TRY AND NOT ASK THEM QUESTIONS
ABOUT THE SCHOOLS.
BEING FORCED AWAY FROM YOUR FAMILY
YOUR PARENTS COULDN’T DO NOTHING
HEARING ABOUT THE KIDS
THAT SUFFERD
FROM DIFFERENT ABUSES.
LEARING ANOTHER CULTURE
THAT THEY WERE’NT USED TO
THEY WERE EVEN ABUSED
BY JUST SPEAKING THEIR OWN LANGUAGE.
MANY KIDS WENT THROUGH A LOT
AT THE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS
SOME KIDS EVEN DIED.
COULDN’T EVEN PRACTICE THEIR TRADTIONS
FOR WHO THEY REALLY ARE
BUT THEY ALWAYS KNEW
WHO THEY ACTUALY WERE
INSIDE THEIR HEARTS.

THEY COUDNT GET TOGETHER

AND PRACTICE THEIR TRADTIONS.

HEARING ALL THE THINGS I DIDN’T KNOW

ABOUT MY PEOPLE
IT HURTS ME
JUST TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED
TO MY PEOPLE
THEY WERE KILLED BY SETTLER DISEASES
THAT MY PEOPLE DIDN’T EVEN HEAR OF.

I HEARD THAT IN THE BLANKET EXERCISE

EVEN TOOK OUR LAND BY FORCE

EVEN THO MY PEOPLE WERE DEAD.
THEY STILL TOOK THE LAND

WHEN I DO THE BLANKET EXERCISE NOW

I TRY TO INMAGAINE IT
BUT IN MY HEART I FEEL ANOTHER PAIN
PROBABLY WHAT MY ANSESTERS ARE TRYING TO MAKE ME FEEL.

EVERYTIME WHEN IM DONE READING AND DOING THE BLANKET EXERCRISE.

WE HAVE TO SIT IN A TALKING CIRCLE
AND HEARING FROM OTHER PEOPLE
WHO WERE NON-INDIGENOUS PEOPLE.
THEIR COMMENTS
TRYING TO EXPLAIN
IF THAT HAPPENED TO THEM
IT TOUCHED MY HEART
HEARING ALL THOSE RESPONCES
FROM THE PEOPLE THAT WERE PARTICIPATING
IN THE BLANKET EXERCISE.

IT WAS HARD FOR ME TO SPEAK

IN THE TALKING CIRCLE
ALL OF THOSE RESPONCES GOT TO ME
AND TEARS ROLLED DOWN MY FACE
HIT THE LAND WHERE MY PEOPLE LIVED.
WHERE ALL MY PEOPLE WENT THROUGH
JUST COULDN’T HOLD IN MY TEARS
THINKING AND KNOWING
ALL THE THINGS I DIDN’T KNOW
AND FOR THE PEOPLE’S RESPONCES
FOR THE TALKING CIRCLE
THAT WE HAD AT THE END OF THE BLANKET EXERCISE.

THAT WAS MY VERY FIRST BLANKET EXERCISE

WITH UNNIVERSITIY STUDENTS.
IT WAS HEART TOUCHING
WHEN I HEARD ALL OF THEM
WHEN THEY SAID THE THINGS
THAT MOST LIKELY
WHEN IT WAS MY TURN
IT WAS HARD FOR ME TO SPEAK
WHAT I WANTED TO SAY.
THEY GAVE ME HUGS
RIGHT AFTER THAT
AND IT FELT LIKE LOVE
LIKE LOVE AND CARE
PEOPLE TOLD ME I HAD A BIG HEART
EVEN THOUGH MY PEOPLE
ALREADY TOLD ME THAT
IN A CEREMONY

THE BEST DAY I’VE EVER HAD

AT THE TREATY 4 TALKING CIRCLE

 

\”Thank you for letting my ancestors speak through me,\” Michael says with great intention a few days later, after he first read the poem at Bert Fox Community High School\’s Orange Shirt Day Gathering, September 29th, 2017.

14 thoughts on “DOING THE BLANKET EXERCISE ON THE LAND WHERE ALL MY PEOPLE LIVED

  1. \”I found it interesting to read because there are people who don't know what happened and it would be good for it to come from the youth.\” Burton Dubois

    Like

  2. \”Why say my people when you can say Indigenous people because people will understand what the speaker is spaying much better, but other than that, it's a good story.\” Boss (Austin Elliot)

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  3. Thank you, Michael. For speaking from your heart. Many of us, do not know what happened, and we let the ignorance wash over us.Slowly the stories will be set right, retold with accuracy and clarity. Thank you for speaking from your heart to mine.Norm Grayston

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  4. Michael says, \”Lots of us will know about what happened and by speaking from my heart, it will go faster than we expect. I am willing to try to get all of this out there, even to the whole world. Even if it takes lots of tears, I'm willing to do that.\”

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  5. Michael says, \”Thank you. It's a gift and I'm willing to try to bring our people back from the dark places, even the darkest histories that we know about our people but they don't talk about. This is powerful and the truth. This will bring a tear to your eye if you imagine it, think about it, if you were in the Blanket Exercise. Thank you once again. Much love and respect.\”

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