I force myself to Reclaim

 

And at night they make us kneel at our bedsides

To pray

Oh heavenly father save us from the sins

We have committed.

Pray for us sinners

In my head I speak to koolenchoot’n

In nsyilxcen

Keep me strong through these hard times

I pray

This goes on for days and days

I bite my tongue when

Nsyilxcen words find their way

To my lips

I cannot stand being whipped

Again

I pray

Koolenchoot’n

Keep me strong through these hard times

Praying for the sinners

They dress us in their clothes

Take away everything of ours

My hair

Where have they put my hair

They make us kneel at our bedside at night

And after we pray for our souls

And crawl into bed

I pray it’s not me next time

The days go by so slow

Leaves fall

Snow falls

My friend tried to run away

They found her the next day

I pray

At my bedside

I kneel and look to the stars

I imagine the stars through the

White ceiling

God? Are you really there?

What was so bad about our lives

That you had to send the devil to

Save us?

I search my memory

Picking berries

Tanning hides

Laughing

My mother, grandmother and aunts

All around

Teaching us to live in harmony

With the land

All around

 

I search my memory

My father, grandfather, uncles

Hunting, fishing,

Teaching us to live in harmony

With the animals

All around

I pray at my bedside

They will be there when

We get back

If we get back

(silence)

 

I learn to survive

I survive by learning

Their ways thrive

My ways fade

But memory serves

A primal purpose

My blood remembers

They cannot cut it out of me

They cannot beat it out of me

 

My innocence?

Gone

My hair?

Gone

My language

A struggle to hold

My ways

Dying with my elders

My blood?

Strong

The blood of my grandmother runs hot

The memory of her retains my pride

And I force myself to reclaim

all that was lost

In the room with the white ceiling

It was not forgot

I pray for them

In their language and mine

With their teachings and mine

That they find some way to save

Themselves

Image

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