For Every Tear I Cry #HonourTheApology #INM #cdnpoli

This poem came into being when I was immersed in excruciating pain over the appalling history of my First Nations people; history that so many Canadians remain ignorant of and/or in denial of.

Pain at how the government took away my ancestors annuities to punish them for rebelling.

Pain that although I can show a long list of my First Nations ancestors the government acknowledges, I’m not “Indian enough” to have status or get any benefits – Yet I’m Indian enough to be living this painful legacy.

Pain over the 16 pieces of legislation (including the omnibus bill) that go against treaty and break the constitution.

Pain that many of First Nations people still live in 3rd world conditions in Canada today without clean water, food, proper housing or access to a decent education.

Pain over the over 600 missing and murdered First Nations women the government refuses to fund an inquiry on. I know in my heart if these women were white, Canadians would be infuriated and these crimes would not be allowed to remain unresolved.

Pain over the Indian Residential school abuses that keep coming out in the news, which many are outraged over yet sadly, are not shocking to me as they mirror the same atrocities I lived through at the hands of my parent; an Indian Residential school survivor.

This is not a coincidence! I know deep down in my bones the extreme and calculated forms of abuse I endured came from Indian Residential schools – They taught them well.

Pain over the innocent children that died and are dying, and were trafficked in sex trade and still are.

Pain over Harper’s refusal to honour the apology he gave to my people (in June 2008 re. Indian residential school). He lied when he said First Nations will no longer carry the burden of these abuses on their shoulders and that the government would shoulder that burden from now on. In that same speech he announced the creation of the TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) that would interview survivors and record the true history of Indian residential schools.

But the Harper government refused to release the documents the TRC needs to complete their report on Indian Residential schools. So they had to go to court to get the court to demand the government release the documents – Does this sound like the government shouldering the burden?

The problem is the TRC report is mandated by this same government to be completed next year yet the Harper government has clearly stated it will take them 10 years to release the documents. This is unacceptable – we need those documents to ensure we have an accurate history recorded once and for all! The circle must be closed; so that my people can heal!

I recently stood before the TRC and after disclosing I am an inter-generational survivor, I questioned them about their plan to manage this critical situation and like all good politicians, Marie Wilson of the TRC was keen to answer me and go off topic on a tangent regarding forgiveness and bitterness, going so far as to suggest I may not have even known my parent was an Indian residential school survivor! She avoided my question all together and when I tried to respond to get her back on track, my mic was turned off.

This experience and the utter lack of authenticity I felt from the TRC that day, left no doubt in my mind that “Truth” should not be anywhere in the title of this commission – they are not at all about the truth. They are yet another toxic arm of the government that has been created to say, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! Over here, keep looking over here – we’re doing all we can to resolve this!”

It is very apparent to me that the TRC was created only as a front – to neatly package up and control how much of the truth of the history (of First Nations people and what was done to them at Indian residential schools) will be revealed. All to fit the agenda of the current government and to cover their ass until the next election. History is written by those that conquer and the TRC is yet just another colonial creation and obstruction to justice.

Without the TRUTH, there can be no reconciliation!

As I reflected on this painful history I was sobbing uncontrollably and in deep prayer, spirit told me that as I cry and heal from all of this, and process through the heart breaking pain of my people, I am helping heal more than myself; I am helping heal my people.


For Every Tear I Cry

went down to skid row – didn’t take long to feel low

by all that I saw – down there it’s so raw

sat down on the curb, feet in the gutter – under my breath I heard myself mutter

sat down with first nations – my ancestral relations

felt their suffering and pain – their struggle and shame

felt it all firsthand in my heart – inside, tearing me apart…

witnessed the race and class war – what’s it all for?

saw the police arresting first nations indiscriminately – based on colour of skin; so they didn’t see me

taking in those with mental health issues – for some unseen law – it’s all a ruse

the cops are corrupt and obtuse – readily dispensing colonial abuse

racist bigots in police disguise – I pray the public gonna get wise…

a first nations brother saw me sittin there

he came and sat down by me showin he cared

risky to do – on the streets it’s true

vulnerability a weakness avoided at all cost – before your tough reputation is forever lost

survival of the fittest rules – frailty is only for dyin fools

showing kindness a liability – diminishing virility…

but he placed his arm around me – I was upset; he could see

he leaned my head on his shoulder – I was bowled over

the tears started to flow – and for every sob he said, “let it go”

for every tear and every shudder – he encouraged me as we sat there in the gutter…

I felt him feel each tear I shed – every sob, as he gently stroked my head

it struck me then what I never knew – it struck me then what I now know is true

for every tear I cry, I cry for him…

for every tear I cry, I cry for our first nations sisters and brothers

for every tear I cry, I cry for our first nations fathers and mothers

for every tear I cry, I cry for our first nations grandfathers and grandmothers


later I saw a first nations sister – societal resistor

she’d been working real long – felt her warrior strong

tryin to help her community along – I felt in that moment, I didn’t belong

but I didn’t back down – in spite of her frown – at me not being brown

her strength twisted into a tough stance – no way to grow n advance

when closing off the heart – only focusing on being smart

toughness leads to numbness – anger leads to dumbness….

but I stood up to her and talked in words she’d know

it wasn’t what I said; but that I said it like a blow

that’s the only language she’d understand – words spoken like a demand

saddened me to act tough, it’s true – but what else, what else could I do

I had to make sure she heard me – to try and make her see

so when I saw the fear cross her face – it was so misplaced

and I couldn’t go on – pretending to be strong

I fell to one knee – in that gutter n looked up at her helplessly

I let her see all the pain I feel for her and for our first nations – all our relations

I let her witness all the pain n anguish I felt – then I saw her very slightly melt

but there across her face was the worst I could see – a greater terror than when she thought I was angry

her fear of the pain, the grief, and the agony – more scared of that than anything else; such a tragedy…

it struck me then what I never knew – it struck me then what I now know is true

for every tear I cry, I cry for her…

for every tear I cry, I cry for our first nations sisters and brothers

for every tear I cry, I cry for our first nations fathers and mothers

for every tear I cry, I cry for our first nations grandfathers and grandmothers

©2013 Clear Wind Blows Over the Moon   (updated Sept 21, 2013 to include more to the opening and about the TRC confrontation)

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Paul F. Lenzi
    Jul 27, 2013 @ 12:13:20

    a palpably sad lament


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