Indigenous History Month

The Anthology

Poetry connects the heart and the spirit, allowing the author to paint a picture with words. For Indigenous History Month 2024, we created an anthology series of poetry written by First Nations, Inuit and Métis writers.

These poets are shared our history, culture and stories through words weighted in their experiences.

Jerilyn Alderman-Hansson

Jerilyn Alderman-Hansson (she/her) is a Cree/Dene two-spirited Indigenous mother from Stanley Mission, Treaty 6 territory. She currently resides in Saskatoon where she previously graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with two bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexualities Studies. She is a published author and exhibited artist who believes in incorporating heritage, culture, and shame free sexuality and sensuality in her work. She can be contacted via Instagram @mizjeri

Being Indigenous is Inherently Political

being indigenous is inherently political
we are the descendants
of the OGs
we are the granddaughters of matriarchs
we are the successors of nations
but not in the eyes of the law
i could tell you of the blood that flows through my veins
about the strands of dna coded for me
from my brown hair to my beautiful brown skin
but that’s what you need to see to code me as Indian
i am not Indian i am nihithāw

being indigenous is inherently political
white men came by the boatload
preaching their ideologies of religion, patriarchy, morality, respectability
we were branded as savage, without morals, uneducated
in need of redemption or extinction
they came in droves
after boat
after boat
bringing their sickness of civility
under the ill-concealed guise of government and democracy
writing laws and treaties
to bury the bodies and
hide the blood of those they already killed

being indigenous is inherently political
the theft of our babies at the hands of religious zealots
meant to teach religion, purity, whiteness
our babies given white names
hair shorn to acceptable length for good boys and girls
identity and culture torn from their being
only to learn abuse from those hands meant to teach
brown babies beaten, raped, murdered
left scarred and sent home to repeat what they learned
intergenerational trauma coded in our dna
being indigenous is inherently political
laws crafted to conquer, dominate, subjugate
whittle away our indigeneity
steal our resources through land grabs
treaties writ to make it legal
they over promised and under delivered
legislation written forcing us to be hetero and under the thumb of patriarchy
our matriarchs weep at our reality
our ancestors know that we will survive
and thrive

being indigenous is inherently political
please be aware and acknowledge that
i write to creation not closure
colonization is just frontier homicide
so why don’t you shut the fuck up
and pick a side

Jerome Warren Carter


Real recognize real with all the bs first nation’s have dealt through.

And Expressing emotions that just exposes real dudes.


Giving your heart away it’s crazy how 1 individual can steal you.

Real recognize real but FAKE.

Also recognize real to.


It is what it is and what’s done is dun.

Yes it was a painful past but now we can try enjoy the sun.

Introduction to the language the influence the gun.

Times ticking down…and there is no where to run.


This rock we call north America is got a history of Treachery.

Lies, torture, murder, all in a few century’s.

Messed with our generation physically and mentally.

And we all knew the truth would show itself eventually.


So yesterday’s truth sits b4 us in surprise.

And you wonder y our population was cut down in size.

Confused, speechless even the wise.

What do you half to say for your selves and please no more lies.


But first nations are not the same we can’t grow to hate you.

Just stick to the treaties have somewhat of a breakthrough.

No more Treachery and let’s call this take 2.

But still skeptical because it was the invaders who raised you.


So now you owe compensation.

To the entire nation.

Saying sorry for the Genocide and invasion.

And our family separation.


But the 60’s scoop did happened.


Our parents hate to visualize.

Thousands of first nations were brutally victimized.

That is y Our population was substantially minimized.

And if these words hurt then I’m happy to criticize.

Debbie Sykora

My name is Debbie Sykora I am Metis on my maternal side, we are Lakota, Cree and French. My dad was a settler. I have two children, young adults in their own right, Nathaniel and Josephine Hudson who both self-identify. My ancestry is important to me, my mom was Bernadette Allarie Lafontaine Sykora from San Clara Manitoba, her first language was Michif. I am passionate about representation, taking up space and honoring our ancestors. Poetry is a way I share my voice and passion.

A Memorial

Part One:

Loss hangs in the air

Wraps around my torso and squeezing tight

Silence and then memory, poised

Like the sinew wrapped corset, I read about

Our artisans, creative sublime

Pushing limits now, as we have none to speak of

Every limit born of our Indigeneity

Has been wrapped by those white faces

I am tired of blasting open portals whose words equate to inaction

And translate to nothing essentially given or designed as

These policies which have kept us quiet.

Piece me together with your apologies and

Then ingratiate yourselves

My chest is taut in repressed pain

From years of holding in, pulling back and

Having words left over, sitting on my plate for you to devour. 

They know fuck all what they are talking about

I think of my aunties and the lives they have lived,

Beside the margins filling in



Part two:

This is where it stands. Full stop

Between my heart and the moon

Your polarization spits words at me which mean nothing

As I hear whispers of colonization,

Filtered water pouring down drains

Where do you live, in this Nation

State built on sediments of fossils and all the makings of my own people,

 you came here here on your own terms making deals

Spinning tales…we listened and believed

The antagonist rapture pull us out of this event

Where all the edges have the same endings

Trailer hitches and degradation

By percentages incarceration

This is where he learned his traditions.  Our endings,

(by your standards) are so final.

These memories were never meant to be memorialized

But Duncan Campbell Scott sure as hell was

And Sir John A MacDonald who introduced the idea

Racism, brutality, obliteration…so my

People lose themselves over and over, while those who have

Have more.  As one great man Louis Riel said the artists will have the last word

As our people are waking up and being given their spirits back

And this memorial will be made of sinew and fur, wound with bead work by the

Matriarchs who know the true measure of history…

It will capture the heart ache and the heartbeat of our people…

Ebony Menzies

My name is Ebony. I am an Afro Indigenous (Afri-Cree, Yoruba Tribe) mother to 4 Children. 3 With first nation Mi’kmaq blood. I lost their father to the opioid crisis, Which I barely escaped with my own life eight years ago. I’ve suffered drug addiction, Homelessness, Sex trafficking, Poverty, and the ontario foster care system. I’ve been clean for 8 years And am now involved in ceremony and walking my red road. I’m a nail tech student and plus sized model, seamstress & small business owner.


You’re my drug,

Injected skillfully

Straight into my veins

Rushing to the core of my body

Uplifting my spirit

Enhancing my essence


You’re my drug

Sniffed quickly

Exploding in my brain

Muted life

Floating colors

Stalling time

Affecting my reality


You’re my drug

Breathed deep into my lungs

Inheld by everyInheld by every por

Warming me from the insWarming me from the inside

Puff after drag of warm swirling clouds

Sedductive mist

of toxic shroud


You’re my drug

Melting languoriously on my tongue

– My upper

My dream

My crystal meth

I’m addicted,  dependent 

And when you’re gone

– Instant death   

Siera Hancharyk

Siera Hancharyk is a 2-spirit multi disciplinary artist from Wiikwemkoong who resides in Tkaronto. Siera is a beadwork artist, a writer and a painter. They give back to the community to hold spaces with their Three Sisters Indigenous Crafts Market.


Do you ever feel frustrated?
He asks me,
I want to to say that
I am overcome with a million words
                                                                        that I know I’ll never say.
Time stops around me,
But my brain is  a l i v e.
Thoughts gather,
Until I can’t make sense of what I’m feeling.
E v e r y t h i n g becomes me.
I’m a deep, wide river
                                    dried up in the sun.
Somehow barren,
I’m walking along this road,
                                                                 not going anywhere.
I’m living each day of the year,
But it’s routine, copied,
                                                  routine, copied,
                                                                             routine, copied

Routine, copied
The same  t i c k,
                                      t o c k,
                          t i c k,
                                      t o c k,
                          t i c k,
                                      t o c k
Until I can’t make sense,
                                                 Of where I’m going.
I am nowhere.
I’m spinning in every direction,
Standing on top of the world.
                                                                                 L O S T
But here
All the same.
                 L O S T.

Ashley Qilavaq-Savard

Ashley Qilavaq-Savard is an Inuk poet, writer, artist, and filmmaker born and raised in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Her first book of poetry, Where the Sea Kuniks the Land (Inhabit Media) explores themes of decolonization, intergenerational trauma, language, and love for Inuit Nunangat.

-meeting of sorts-

The flowers wept a crimson colour as he walked by, knowing his journey to the end

Remembering the day that he first became a part of the land 

Breathing with the rapid tides, moving with the gusting winds to unimaginable happenings

His heart was different, it held love directly without fear of being frost bitten

Out in the mossy tundra, it held love openly in the vast country he called home

Oddly, it held that same powerful love without seriousness

She sat on the same mossy ground, surrounded by untouched land that brings the heartache to peace

It wasn’t the breaking of the land that hurt it, it was the lack of assent that haunts

Cursed we are, we must be she howled

Broken mountains of pain

Cracks lined up inwards as thin as that first frost 

Lost in sense and self, she wanders the undulating tertian

Until she in search of refuged crossed his path to eternal rest 

They met in the midst of their journeys, on opposite ends

He seeing her in despair, knew the very thing that shattered her soul

Her new beginnings are brought by his demise as he saw the splits in her being held together just barely

He shrugged as he showed her how to mend, soothingly putting soot, soil, and sunshine into the slits emptied by pain

It was odd to feel full after years of desolate

It was odd to feel lighter after years of bearing burden

It was odd to witness this meeting of sorts

Izaya Dressyman

Angel Dressyman

My writing is not only my outlet, but way of understanding, deciphering & connecting with others & myself, within vulnerability. Writing & language are interconnected & so deeply a part of culture, memories & community, influencing & shaping our everyday lives, feelings & thought processes. I write so we remember, so we make memories & so we feel.

Braid Your Hair

Girl with the lilac fingertips


Hair nearly down to her hips


Missing the days when


I was on my land, holding a brisk


in tiny hands


Enjoying the company of loved ones


Listening to the drums


on warm days


on cold


Being together


Never alone


Girl with the lilac toes to match


You’ll feel the beat of the drum again


Don’t cry, braid your hair


Get up & try again


It’s time of breaking curses


Little girl


Get up



Try again

Alexandra Jarrett


Axis has a spoken word style that’s rhythmic, thought-provoking, and non-conforming. From a young age, Axis experimented with creative writing and poetry styles. She aims for her body of work to remain consistently about deeper issues and taboos that plague society.

Poetry Is My Ceremony

A sacred rite of speech & verse

Where language has power

With each word, I offer a prayer

For unspoken truths that wish to be loud

Carefully crafted

To give chaos a try

Each consonant is a ritual

To cleanse my palette

Give fresh sense to the page

Each line is written with reverence

Healing in the prayers hidden in the smoke

A signal that poetry is in my lungs

Raymond Sewell

Raymond Sewell is a singer/songwriter/poet/professor at Saint Mary’s University.


Gathering Masgwi

Gathering Pgu


Teaching children


Sun children



Why is the sun following me with it’s eyes

Creator eyes

Yellow with a blue halo


That sun is looking at the child

Since I told him he is aware

The child is stricken


He points a stick up at the sun

He curses it off his trail – and the sun laughs

The sun laughs light

It pours laughter


I am a teacher

I teach women’s leadership

Much like a sports writer

Or a jazz writer

I write about something great that I am not part of


Children and the sun

Niskam Mintu

Looking down


They brought me in to teach the children

But they taught me how to hold the day


The children search of salamanders and make ornate little gardens in the bowls of acorn tops


The children are aware of breathing and sun and dirt

And so I learn

Kevin Wesaquate


Poetik is a spoken word artist and community advocate. Who believes in the power of expressing your voice and the Indigenous tradition of Storytelling.

Your Words Are Powerful

Your words are powerful my words are said. Your words are dancing to new notes in my head. My words are like trees of autumn days like leaves that leave me in different ways, while your words trickle out like spring run-off. Your words bring new meaning and life, while my words have been sustaining me all these winter nights. Your words usher in summer heat and are vibrant and new, while mine still sit reflecting the cold days of a grey hue. I imagine your future an open land untouched by man while I harvest my own and try to understand. I envision a day when we could all speak your two languages.

The way of the NEHIYAWAK poet naturally speaking naturally living naturally sharing metaphors and similes on hand drums near urban street corners. A place where NEHIYAWAK own homes on side streets by NEHIYAWAK owned businesses on main streets. And poetry is taught in NATIVE schools on Native tongues. Because your future is bright and nature has been known to change, because we would all be beyond prejudice and hate we would too busy trying our latest traditional fashions all up and down the block from ribbon skirts to ribbon shirts.

I imagine place where we trade in protein bars for pemmican where we could pick wild berries in our communities. Where diabetes doesn’t exist thanks to the medicine keepers and paleo diets, a place where our children could run free of gangs and crime, a place where young men let their hair out like warriors of the past in suits and ties, where beadwork is valuable and honored over gold and diamonds.

Where instead of our elders begging for change and suffer from homelessness we house them in the best of places. If a child only speaks their NEHIYAW tongue they are regarded as Royalty on these prairies. I’m referring to you young Native poets I am honored to have been your teacher poetry. I am glad to know that you can go on practicing your new poetry skills in two languages as I only know one.

My belly is full and yours has yet to taste this world. Your spoken words fancy dance near my inner ear drum and swift to my heartbeat. Let your spoken words lead you, into the open wild. Don’t be afraid and don’t look back young Native poets this is where I’ve made my stand.

Aleria McKay

Aleria McKay is a 24-year-old Haudenosaunee and Teme Augama Anishnabai educator, writer, and theatre artist. She has self-published two poetry books, Thunderstorms in 2020 and Sweetgrass & Cigarettes in 2023. Her newest play, Til Our Bodies Fall Apart premiered at the Paprika Festival this past May.


when old age greets me
like a warm bed after a long day
i will welcome her home.
i will pour her tea at the kitchen table
and tell her stories i have long since forgotten.
i will show her my skin
as it sings her songs of summer’s past.
i will show her my feet
weathered and worn like my favourite pair of shoes
i will show her my eyes
the black holes that have swallowed each sight as if it were that last bite of birthday cake.

when old age greets me
like a warm bed after a long day
she will take me in her arms.
she will braid my hair, long, dark strands
that will grey with each touch.
she will hold my hands that have held the world,
still stained of dandelion and grass.
she will kiss my face
making way for the waves and ripples,
the fingerprints of each ocean of memories.

when old age greets me
like a warm bed after a long day
we will walk together.
i will show her the trails i travelled
and the paths i forged.
i will show her the places that shaped me
as they sing the names of every person i ever loved.
she will hold my hand as she leads me further,
and we will greet what comes next together. 

Victoria Perrie

A two-spirit Métis-Cree lawyer and artist, Victoria’s expertise transcends traditional boundaries, integrating law and art with a passion for Indigenous empowerment. Victoria holds a Juris Doctor and a Bachelor of Arts, supplemented by invaluable mentorship from influential Indigenous artists. Her legal acumen is recognized through her calls to the Nunavut, Manitoba, and New Brunswick Bars. Her artistic journey spans over 26 years in theatre, where she has excelled as a director, playwright, poet, and actor, fostering a unique blend of legal and artistic narratives. Her work reflects a deep commitment to justice, education, and the arts, all essential to building empowered, thriving Indigenous communities. Today, Victoria practices criminal law in Nunavut and Manitoba, maintains a small arts practice in poetry and theatre, and supports access to justice initiatives across the country.


Davis and Roy v His Majesty the King, 2023 SCBC [1]


I breathe in deep through my stomach and feel the soft padded walls around me
holding me tight, warm and safe
I belong here – even with my eyes still shut

Mother sings vibrations echoing around my body, cocooning me tighter with love
makes me laugh and stretch out in this little womb room just for me

I’m lucky this house was able to host – not unknowingly ripped out while her eyes were forced closed

I sink into her deep pink flesh
and slide my soft keratin nails across the inner lining of her uterus
I trace the design of the name she has chosen for me – Cedar

Etchings in the plasma will deliver me sacred and blessed
This womb tells me stories of my rights on the outside

Whispers risks of reversing R v Morgentaler[2]

I know from here I’ll need the ancestors
Twist and cross my webbed fingers like braided sweetgrass promising to protect me
Can’t I stay with you a little while more?


I emerge onto a bed of sage, tasting crisp ocean air in the back of my throat

Born with a fist full of tobacco

I am ready

[1] Class action lawsuit in BC seeking remedy for Indigenous womb holders who underwent forced and coerced sterilizations and abortions at the hands of provincial medical officials.

[2] Supreme Court of Canada decision declaring criminalization of abortion to be contrary to section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms – the right to life, liberty, and security of the person.

Bethany Alyson Whiteknife

I am Bethany Whiteknife and a proud member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation. Growing up off the reserve has taught me the importance of culture and tradition. I actively practice various traditions including beading, cooking, hunting, practicing the Cree language, and learning from the land. These teachings and traditions have helped me feel closer to my culture and homeland while being away in the city attending university. I am currently working on more poetry, in hopes of publishing a book.


I am my mother’s daughter
Our ancestor’s blood flows through my veins,
Their injustice bears my soul like chains.

They took our children from the land
Now they take the land from our children
They fought for our demise

While we fought to survive
‘Injustice’ is not enough to explain what we’ve been through

We will fight for what they were not able
The system we will disable
For I am my mother’s daughter

Farrah Cardinal

Farrah Cardinal is a mother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She has three beautiful children, 2 boys and 1 girl. Farrah works as an assessor for a Delegated First Nation Agency, she is a graduate from Blue Quills University with a Masters Degree in Social Work.

My wish for you…..

My wish for you

Is to pick medicine off your own land

Is to attend ceremony where gratitude and acceptance surrounds you

My wish for you

Is to be around the language, to hear language, to remember the language

Is to learn to love yourself because you are beautiful and special

My wish for you

Is to Walk mother earth and to feel her healing energy

Is to not crumble when you are tested

My wish for you

Is to have meaningful relationships

Is to bear unconditional love

My wish for you

Is to over come anger

Is to face your fears

My wish for you

Is to make sense of the loss

To realize that none of this is your fault

My wish for you is

To see history as a way out

To learn where the real fault lies

My wish for you

Is to reclaim your truth and to search for identity

Is to reacquaint with your own wisdom

My wish for you

Is to know who you are as an indigenous person


Is to recognize the beauty of our people

My wish for you

Is to see that education is the way out

Is to seek out all knowledge

My wish for you

Is to have patience

Is to have strong boundaries

My wish for you

Is to own your identity

Is to embrace who you are

My wish for you

Is to find your purpose

Is to embraces your gifts from creator

My wish for you

Is to surround yourself with those you connect with

Is to allow yourself to feel vulnerable

My wish for you

Is to become best friends with Creator

Is to practice prayer

My wish for you

Is to seek your gifts from creator

Is to share your gifts

Lastly, My wish for you

Is that you are guided to align with your purest heart

Is that you connect with peace and harmony.

Thamer Rose Linklater

Thamer Linklater is Asiniskaw Ithiniwak (Rocky Cree) from NCN Cree Nation in Northern Manitoba. They work and reside in Nogojinawong Peterborough Ontario. They are a land defender, poet, artist and researcher.

Shadows, Running

I can feel them creeping closer

the shadows stalking me

that not even the sun can dim


they’re cold like arctic ice

quiet frozen like the dead of night

black holes swallowing all


I’ve been running so long

starting to tire

tried so many flotation devices

intertwining bodies

            heat distracting

burning liquid

            inhibitions falling

teddy bear gummies

            spaced out laughter

moving pictures

            time wasting

fancy markers

            vibrant colours

endless scrolling

            strangers drama

not sure I can recall

exactly where this all started


I can still feel them creeping closer


A hundred reasons to keep fighting



spirit guides


unmarked graves

the murdered and the missing


these words

            that microphone

mom, aunts, nieces

dad, uncles, nephews

they’re getting closer now



can’t give in


so tired

Rebecca Thomas

Rebecca Thomas is an award winning Mi’kmaw writer of things. Sometimes they are poems, sometimes they are childrens’ books and sometimes they are love notes for family and friends. But they are always done with purpose and intention. She is a registered band member of Lennox Island First Nation in Epekwitk. Her ultimate goal is to take up space as an Indigenous woman in a world where they aren’t as valued or worthy as other groups of people. Rebecca dares you to tell her to be smaller and see what happens. She has been the Poet Laureate of Halifax and caregiver to her father who is a survivor of the Shubenacadie Residential School. She has performed with the Halluci Nation, Symphony Nova Scotia, and has spoken and lectured at conferences and coffee houses from coast to coast. Her first book I’m Finding My Talk has been shortlisted for the First Nations Community Reads Award. Her most recent collection of poetry called “I place you into the fire” was listed as one of CBC’s top 20 books of 2020. Her book “Swift Fox All Along” was a finalist for the 2020 Governor General’s Award for children’s literature. She has an upcoming children’s book called “Grampy’s Chair” is set to be released in September of 2024. She pays her bills by helping students who are overwhelmed with life and studies as a Student Services Advisor at the Nova Scotia Community College.

Age Gracefully

I am less than thrilled that I can see where my face is starting to sag.
Where my collagen production has started to lag.
I wasn’t aware of how many crows have walked in the corners of my eyes.
I am frustrated by the pebbled landscape of my thighs.
The wisps of grey that are emerging in my black hair are bold declarations that my youth is waning.
Because in spite of myself, I am aging.
My feet will ache if I wear the wrong pair of shoes.
I often seek hot packs to soothe.
A sore muscle here, creaky joint there.
My knuckles bulge and my chin has more hair.
I am closer to last blood than first.
My skin always thirsts.
My breasts yearn to be closer to the ground.
The corners of my mouth slowly creep down.
Gravity keeps playing.
And never lets me forget that I am aging.
I am frustrated by new social media apps.
I keep my hands folded in my lap.
Saturday mornings are no longer for cartoons.
Instead, I drink tea and read the news.
I see young faces that look like mine, minus all the fine lines.
Held static forever. Trapped in time.
Her disappearance is someone’s byline.
And I am raging.
Because unlike her, I AM aging.
Joy gets to leave her lasting presence in my skin.
I have time yet to scar, birth, and sing.
I will experience my last blood.
I will have time to be loved.
I get to fail, and try, and laugh, and cook, and feel pain.
I get to do all of this stuff
Because, unlike her, I am lucky enough to age.

Mary Josephine Small

Josephine Small is from the Ermineskin Cree Nation in Maskwacis, Alberta. She is a proud okawimaw, (mother), kokom (grandmother), chapan ( great grandmother), and has had a rewarding career as a teacher for the past 30 years. Josephine uses poetry as a means of self-healing and won herself second place in a KEMOSA Scholarship in 2023 for First Nation, Metis & Inuit Mothers Who Write.


This is about my granddaughter Ava stealing my bubble gum from my purse

I’m Ava and I love bubble gum

Double Bubble is so yum

My nokom chews that purple Thrills gum that tastes like soap
When I ask for for some, she just says “nope”

So one day I stole her Thrills
Because for my sweet tooth, chewing gum just fills

When nokom asked me who stole her gum, I didn’t dare tell
Even though like gum my breath did smell

Without thinking, I blew a gum bubble as big as my face
Then it popped and got stuck all over the place

My nokom acted like she didn’t care
I had gum stuck in my hair

She just gave me that “ look”
And I just stood there and shook

As my nokom walked away I heard her say
“Well I guess you’ll have gum in your hair on picture day”

“And when you graduate high school,
That gum in your hair will look real cool”

“And even when you get a job
That gum in your hair will be one big blob”

“And if you ever plan to wed,
That gum will still be stuck in your head”

My little life flashed before my eyes
That’s what I get for stealing and telling lies

My nokom let me suffer like this for a while
But I saw her trying hard not to laugh or smile

Much later in the day she called me to sit on a chair
And used cooking spray to get the gum out of my hair

It felt like she was pulling my brains out of my head
But I didn’t care, I still had more of her gum under my bed.

*(Nokom is my grandmother in Cree)

Colleen Esther Charlette

Colleen Charlette is a member of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation. Colleen’s creative goal is to write her first book of poetry and publish it. She has been a board member of the Saskatchewan Anskohk Writers Circle Inc. for thirteen years where her craft-honing of poetry and performance advances.

Abrasive Love

That girl she loved fiercely

Passion like plasma flowed through her veins

Her rage was spring-loaded from all the PTSD

She had over-sacrificed

She gave until it hurt her

Almost to the point of no return

When there might be no rallying back

–partial recovery at best

A love intervention was in order

Patience wasn’t thin; it was anorexic and anemic

The fuse is short and it can’t get any shorter

Cara-Lyn Morgan

Cara-Lyn Morgan is the author of three books of poetry. Her latest collection, Building A Nest From the Bones of My People (Invisible Press) was nominated for an Indigenous Voices Award in 2024.


I do not measure my flour.  I do not measure

anything and so I’m afraid I can not teach

you.  You’ll have to watch, as I did.  Watch

and feel.  The amount of the flour doesn’t matter

I empty it straight from the bag, wait for the plume

of dust to settle.  It covers the countertops, dulls

the shelves.  Everything looks unclean. 


I add about four palms worth

of baking powder. A pinch of salt.  Use the backs

of my fingers to mix the dry, then wipe my hands

clean on the sides of my pants. Do not tell the ancestors

that I also use yeast.  That is the secret, blooming

the yeast in warm water until it is frothy, then add

to the dry.  My excuse is my colonized mind.  My excuse

is I do not know better.  I do not know anything.


I use hot water for mixing, which vexes

your grandfather.  When we make Bake, he says, you

use ice water.  Always ice water, never hot.   He feels

we are thieving something

when we make the Bannock.  Refuses to believe

these are the same.  That the bannock and the Bake

filled starved bellies, the bellies of the enslaved

and the bellies of the enfranchised.  It was the gift

of our captors and we used it to gain strength.


I carry this hunger

in my cells.  You carry this starvation memory,

that we brag about at pow wows.  Who makes

the best fry-bread.  At potlucks, who fries the best

Bake. I add creamed coconut, grated

from the block when we are having buljol

and I leave it out when there’s moose to stew. 


For both, I fry in cast iron.  I fry in crisco. I do not

measure, just pull handfuls of dough from the mound,

flatten it on the countertop and lay it

in the oil.  I use a fork to turn it, I salt it the second

it comes off the pan.


Bannock is best dipped into soup,

Bake, stuffed with shark meat, onion, and cilantro.

Hope Engel

Hope Engel is Turtle Clan, Oklahoma Choctaw, Chickasaw and Cherokee, living in Kitchener, Ontario. In collaboration with Kevin Wesaquate, SK, she coordinates the Ontario chapter of Indigenous Poets Society (IPS). IPS published Mihko Kiskisiwin Blood Memory (Cree) with Friesen Press in May 2024 with partnership funds from SVP (Social Venture Partners) and Waterloo Upstream Fund. IPS is publishing a First Edition of PowRed, an “IndigArts” (Indigenous Art and Literature) ‘Zine of Turtle Island, in partnership with SaskArts.


Being               Longing

Longing to be

To be seen                   See you                       To be seen truly

Longing as Being         Being as Longing         infinitely intertwined

Longing for connection           Longing for home      

Here and home but not home

From Longing to being            Longing is part of being          Being artful longing


Not Longing as Abjection, experienced as unseen & unheard

Invisible in the Mirrors of your gaze

Not an outsider, alienated, othered, erased from the Story

Criminalized pathologized brutalized marginalized forgotten, 

Not Separate & divided up in parts

Existence forced violently to the Borders, cut by razor wire and our own laterally violent words

Unnamed & unknown, Our murdered missing bodies lost, dis-membered, longing for belonging

No one to tell our stories


I, in my words, my story, assert I am here     visible Being “human being”

seen by another, named, known, re-membered, part of you, of complete care communities

Here, Now, you see me, truly see me , I see you too             Being Human

We are Creator’s intentions manifested together

The Liminal realized, spirit spark that exists at the centre in this circle of life


Belonging, I am still here        We are still here together

I did not forget, we did not forget      I know who I am, you know who you are

I stand home here, my feet heart mind soul firmly rooted to the ground,

& with all creation, as you do

with all our relatives   The beings I belong to & who belong to me

We belong to each other for infinity,

My home is here         Wherever I am


I belong here with you   Without you I do not belong   Together we are a perfect infinity symbol

I’m deeply rooted, rooted long in time in space        longing between time and space       Being

With you on the land, our first mother,

Longing for places I know in my imagination     Being in imagined communities alive & realized

Making home real everywhere, for me and for everyone.

A world where everyone belongs      together          one world


We belong by sharing our stories, we co-create infinite circles

Our stories, our worlds give us belonging, with each other  witness-testimony      ceremony

In our eyes a co-creative act sharing listening memories and hearts

Re- membering ourselves with each other – words as physical evidence

“I see you” grants being longing and belonging

It takes being and longing to know belonging

Belonging is inherent rootedness space and grace we give ourselves & each other in our gaze, words, listening, as we share our stories,

it has is and will always be here, in language. This is power – words create world

Our stories create belonging, existence, resistance, being

Relational words from long ago and from the future call us forth, transform creation

Shared Being Creates Belonging.

Miranda Hanus

Miranda Hanus of Regina, Saskatchewan, is a former broadcast journalist venturing into the realm of fiction. A member of the Standing Buffalo Dakota Nation, she currently has a poem -‘Chub’- published in the Indigenous Poets Society Anthology “mihko-kiskiwin – Blood Memory” by Friesen Press.

Diluted Indigeneity

Our bloodlines grow thinner

While government numbers grow

All the colonial-inspired apocalypti 

My People have survived

Pestilence, starvation, environmental devastation 

Bureaucracy, capitalism, and processed foods will be our last stand

Weren’t the artists supposed to bring back the nations?

I only see the cons

Namely reconciliation

Where’s the pros

The Truth  

The Buffalo Hunters and the Warriors and the Matriarchs and 

the True Keepers of Wisdom


Yet Alive 

In Memory

In Government Vaults

Like the stolen treasure 

from an Indiana Jones adventure

Chantal Kyplain

Chantal Kyplain is a Métis mother of two and poet from Île-à-la-Crosse (Sakitawak), born and raised in Saskatoon. She finds solace and inspiration in reading and writing poetry, drawing influence from Sylvia Plath, Warsan Shire, and Anaïs Nin. In addition to her literary pursuits, Chantal is learning acoustic guitar and has recently taken up beading. Through her art, she seeks to express her emotions and share her experiences with the world, helping others feel seen and understood.

how to heal

i wanted to be soft;

like dew drops on top of


silent; whispering; lonely; inviting
instead i was hard;
like thunder crying after
(like our ancestors…)
obnoxious (they said); too loud (they said); angry; suffering
but after the deep, low rumbles of thunder; the suffering,
was the bright, blinding lightening strikes; the cries, the hot tears
then there was an opening,
a clear sky; a meaning…
the message,
a crow
cawing in the distance,
“not everything is as it seems,
not everything glitters is gold”
only when i was lost did i find myself,
wandering, wondering…
always learning
(kâkikî ati kaskihtâw)
…learning how to heal

Jamesie Taligvat Evaluardjuk Fournier

Jamesie Fournier is an Inuit poet from the Northwest Territories living in Iqaluit, NU. His debut fiction, ‘The Other Ones’, was published in 2022 with Inhabit Media and his 2023 poetry collection, ‘Elements’, is a finalist for the 2024 Indigenous Voices Award. In 2023, Jamesie was part of Inuit Future’s Artist Incubator Project, the Audible Indigenous Writer’s Circle, and NBC’s Universal Indigenous Screenwriting Program.


In 2023 I moved to Iqaluit, Nunavut to start learning my culture’s language, Inuktitut. I enjoyed playing with language and turning my lessons into poetry. Qilannguaq is a love letter acquainting myself with Inuktitut creatively.

Qilannguaq - Just Like Heaven

Qallutik: Water dipper
-nnguaq(-): Likeness
Qallutinnguaq: Big Dipper
Qilak: Sky, Heavens

QiIlammi mumiqqaujuguk.
We danced in the sky.
Qallutinnguaq uvangalu,

The Big Dipper and I,
The one who has lost his mitt.

Stardust spins like snow globes
as we turn
                             am I

smiling underneath streetlights
as we progressive step like
chessmen across the board to
greet each other upon the hesitation steps.
Pausing in this happy valley,
this rocking cradle asway
at the end of worlds.

I will remember,
qungagusiit, the way you’d smile
a wondrous hook into my heart.
Pulling me



Emma-Leigh Snow

Tan’si Emma nitisîyihkâson I’m a Métis student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Majoring in Sociology, minoring in Native Studies. Along side school I volunteer with the Indigenous Students Union on campus as their VP finance. Outside of school I work as an outdoor tour guide for Painted Warriors and Mahikan Trails. Through this work I am able to connect and build stronger relationships with the land and all relations. Along with poetry I participate in my art community as a beader, digital designer and performer.


When I wrote this poem, the plan was never to share it. Frustrated by my experience in the Canadian justice system, searching for safety, only to be retraumatized. This poem was a release of my emotions, validating my experience. Most days, these days, the past feels like another life separate from this one, but things happened, and it changed me. Life today is evidence of growth, a reminder that even through concrete, flowers grow. 

Time Does Not Heal All Wounds

I count the years
But it makes no difference

I cry my tears
But nobody listens

Is what I am missing

Falling back down the same hole
I’m tripping

I mean it’s no wonder why
The images are replaying

Every detail i practiced line by line
I’m relaying

For every court day
I kept saying

Over and over




Because she said he said doesn’t make a difference

What do you mean my voice is conflicting

I was almost a missing

This stand is a prison

The lawyers are guards 

The judge a warden

Court is adjourned 

But no verdict was reached

They said one more court day

And your sentence is complete

4 years later no justice impeached

Over and over




I didn’t ask to be in this position

It was my lack of suspicion

Or maybe it was my predisposition

Too nice is a demolition

Of a life with no intuition

Agar Haineault


Agar Haineault, also known as K.$TONE is an esteemed artist from Clearwater River & La Loche. Drawing from his Denesuline heritage, K.$TONE evokes strong emotion with his raw writing style.


I was born in the sky of a dying language


From The shiver of cold basements


Broken love from a family’s embrace


I’m from the savory taste of steaks off paper plates


From deafening silence of placements from incarceration


Results from a culture of gypsies living under sanctions



I left,


But still hear the roaring quads in the distance


pumping hot monster truck pistons


The deep rooted cry of a assimilated Christians


Whispers from a system tryna convince me


False depictions All my people wrongfully convicted



I’m from the drunken sizzle of bacon and eggs at 4 in the morning


I’ve befriended lost change in the cushions from couch surfing,



I’m from where the cops are the biggest gangster’s


Beat you in the cells with hatred on they’re racist faces


Assuming every native is affiliated and dangerous,



I’m from TV’s
Telling me criminals are everything they’re perceiving,


But I could tell you
Bout a couple killers who had the decency to feed me.

D.A. Lockhart

D.A. Lockhart is the author of multiple collections of poetry and short fiction. His work has been shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award, Raymond Souster Award, Indiana Author’s Awards, First Nations Communities READ Award, and has been a finalist for the ReLit Award. His work has appeared widely throughout Turtle Island including, The Malahat Review, Grain, CV2, TriQuarterly, The Fiddlehead, ARC Poetry Magazine, Best Canadian Poetry, Best New Poetry from the Midwest, and Belt. Along the way his work has garnered numerous Pushcart Prize nominations, National Magazine Award nominations, and Best of the Net nominations. He is a graduate of the Indiana University – Bloomington MFA in Creative Writing program where he held a Neal-Marshall Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing. He is pùkuwànkoamimëns of the Moravian of the Thames First Nation. Lockhart currently resides at Waawiiyaatanong and Pelee Island.

Waterwolves Restless,
Stir Silt into the Stillness of Morning

This land, these waters that touch it, they shelter itinerant shadows, Al.


All waters shall inundate the land, floods are inevitable whether upon a turtle’s back or upon an ocean sphere, we must know those bubbles of darkness shall one day glide against us.


Today they are restless, growing.


Across the bay, the Nation murmurs to outsiders that the waters know and trust only them, treaty holders.


And land thieves and their apologists are the reason that the ancient ones return.


For treaty, for the salvation of the earth from the worst monsters.


Kwekonkale lurk among shadow pools.


Hungry for those willing to prod at deeper waters, challenge the monsters who once stood in lieu of unnatural laws, They long for a Prince Edward before loyalists, before forests, drumlines, dunes, and winding parkways.


They are the opening melody that will not leave.


And the song of their flesh against warming and spreading waters, is the music that will not end, no matter that speed boats, no matter the tourist traffic jams.

Alexander Ernest Allary


loudvoice is a champion slam poet and hip hop musician. His work centers around his nêhiyawak existence, love, the dark, integration, recovery and spirituality.

Day ain't Break yet

A lot of the paths and choices that fate placed for me to make have been so tragic, so toxic, so inherently loaded

I am so existentially exhausted and lonely I want to shave some life off and live inside of a bottle but my liver can no longer afford the rent there

Peace, serenity, joy

.. someday

It’s been 38 years of free climbing up a mountain face with no instructions
Just my crucible childhood C-PTSD

So maybe a lil breather at a plateau is worth it
Or maybe I’ll fall off the edge of the cliff for being too nervous

I need to achieve exemplary status as a high achiever in capitalism .. I GUESS?

I need to get the fuck out of the trenches

The indigenous assimilation agenda that is still very insidiously active looks like all the violence, ODs and poverty just outside my door

I wonder if the ones I get asked to call the ambulance for survive and make it

Do they have children, partners or parents?

So what if all they know is street lifer kinship
And how to add to or decrease it’s merits

The other night someone came skulking towards me with a collapsable baton in hand

But something unseen knocked the weapon out of his grip

Someone prayed for me in a lodge, offered tobacco and tied broadcloth around a tree somewhere out there on the land

Something pads and eases my landings when I trip

I am born of the abyss

Spirit world umbilical cords, deep sea research centres, and interstellar drifts

I am not acclimated to driven focus and goals, baby step checklists, direction nor domestic bliss

But there is something so gratifying and validating about a butterfly seeing my still body and finding a place to sit

Nicholas Old Shoes

Donny Sage

Nicholas old shoes, also know as Donny Sage is a Blackfoot artist whom uses his past traumas to write music and inspire others who grew up in similar circumstances.

Im lost, Im Five.

The definition of my insanity

Repeating the same cycle

and expecting a different outcome…..

Im tired Of running in circles

Trying so hard Just get to the end

The feeling is claustrophobic …

Like im 5 years old Being trapped in a

Closet by my brother


Saved by an angel

For a split second

Everything is fine


Reality sets in

Im hungry




Im five years old

And ive already experienced

So much …..


Im lost…

Im five…



Lice infested

Hear my message

Times are different

now but i was effected


Runt of the family

Whats expected

Of me


Years neglected

By the woman who made me

Why do you hate me

I just want acceptance

I dont want to learn the hard way

Mom whats my lesson

In the future

You will say

That i was always meant for greatness

I hate this sentence

Im five

And please Kill me now


I hate the present

Its the past

And im lost

Moms sauced

Im sitting criss crossed

Waiting for her by the door

Like im a freaking! dog!

She called us puppies

And drank the money

Bottled trauma

Youngest out of six

Joeseph please quit hitting

Your baby momma

Im sleeping

With my shoes on

And im five

My feet are infected

Because i dont know how to take a bath

Its been weeks

I havent ate in a couple of day

I feel weak

Im tired of being abused

When i speak

The truth i know it hurts

But why me

Why me

Why me.

Mike "O'dah ziibing" Ashkewe

Mike “O’dah ziibing / Heart of the river” Ashkewe is from Neyaashiinigmiing, Ont. Mike is a disability and Indigenous activist in the city of Guelph. Mike has had a career in the media since 2007 in a variety of different roles, such as commentator, reporter and podcaster.


Gentle winds carry ancient whispers of knowledge from Creator

Rivers and lakes sing songs that blood remembers and lulls us into loving slumber

Fluttering of leaves of ageless trees calls to the wild beautiful magic infused into our spirits.

Memories of starry nights bathed in celestial magnificence fill the heart with wonder

Bonfires lit with grandfather’s spirit warm us and cradle us as we listen eagerly to tales of the ancestors who came before us within the crackling of flames

Soothing sounds of the wild inspire us from the smallest of creatures to the most majestic of Creator’s animal friends.

We are the first people gifted with bravery, love and immeasurable knowledge and wills that will never be broken.

I am thankful to be taught by ancestors of the past, the inheritors of a future yet to come and beauty of the life that i breathe everyday.

January Rogers

January Rogers is Mohawk/Tuscarora, living on Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Ontario. The poem was written while on holiday in Miami Florida for her 61st birthday in January 2024. January travels alone most times as travel always inspires her to write. January is an established poet with seven published poetry titles and one published play. January often mentors other Indigenous writers and manages a very small publishing label supporting writers from her Six Nations community.

Precious Human Interactions

Even steam engines
Passing through
Are themselves
Sovereign spaces
With station and domain
And most definitely
Holding protocol
People of transience
Claim they too
Have rules without
Roots moving
From here to there


What does it take
To come to terms
And bare witness
One must maintain
A casual yet alert
Godd Bless
Suggested in passing
A finger kiss blown
In exchange
This is human interaction
As deep and authentic
As the mighty Atlantic


We are all in a boat
In the middle of nowhere
How does it feel
To be landless
Forget the coordinates
you are in the right place
Wherever you are
Just mind your manners
Acknowledge yourself
I acknowledge we are gathered here
Nowhere in particular
But in a place called time
And that time is called
true connectedness
A place we’ll recall as memory
Make the memory with me
Make the memory


the tiny cerebral
in between places
where our visions
get born is
you guessed it
territory too
love your thought babies
name them don’t doubt them
when inspiration
brings them


here, we have zero tolerance
for neglected motivations
if you know what to do
then you must do it
the voices aren’t
going to hang around forever
they’ve got places to go
other doorbells to ring
so answer yours
we are boundless
beautiful turtles
carrying etiquettes everywhere with us
sharing by showing
not telling just knowing
we are here, helping each other
with precious
human interactions

Kaleigh River


Kaleigh River Aramenko is from Ile a la Crosse, SK on Treaty 10 Territory. She is adopted with family ties in Sturgeon Lake and Wahpeton Dakota Nation. She is a Nēhiyaw Iskwēw. She is a mother, poet, writer, and Intimate partner violence Survivor who uses her poetry and social media platform to heal & raise awareness.


I swear that I can remember
when the sweet grass burns
and the skies clear
my Capan speaking to me
telling me in Cree
that it’s okay for me to breathe deeply
of who I’ve been
they’re fleeting
coming into my mind
when I choose to sit still
trusting in the knowing
they never left
we can never forget
for as long as the sun shines
They said
we would be here
the rivers still flow
the sweetgrass still grows
revealing themselves
when we are ready
and not before
never too late
open your eyes
allow yourself to cry more
to release that hurt when you need to
don’t let the grief get stuck
move and create
it’s never too late
to get up and try again
to be who you were born to be
You are the good medicine
that we so desperately need
so keep showing up
my Capan said it’s time to wake up

Connor Lafortune

G’chi Waabshka Mukwa

Connor Lafortune is from Dokis First Nation on Robinson Huron Treaty territory of 1850 in Northeastern Ontario. He works primarily in Life Promotion, harm-reduction, mental health, and Indigenous education. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree at Nipissing University with a Double Honors Major in Indigenous Studies and Gender Equality and Social Justice. He is currently in the Masters in Indigenous Relations at Laurentian University. Connor is Anishinaabek, Queer, and Francophone; he uses his understanding of the world to shape his creations as a writer, spoken word poet, and musician. Connor often combines the written word with traditional Indigenous beadwork and sewing to recreate the stories of colonization, showcase resilience, and imagine a new future. He recently released a single in collaboration with Juno Award winner G.R. Gritt titled “Qui crie au loup ? ft. Connor Lafortune.” Above all else, Connor is an activist, a shkaabewis (helper), and a compassionate human being.


the day the earth broke open
our braids untangled
our bodies shut down


‘cut down’ the trees they said
we’ll sell all the lumber
we were not afforded the luxury of crumbling


we rebraided our hair
pinned it down tight this time
they could no longer undo it


‘cut down’ their power
put them into bite-size pieces
we can sell them in parts


the day the earth broke open
we put away our comfort foods
and never found them again


‘cut down’ each strand
we can sell their stories
we were careful and loud


letting only the earth
reverb our sadness
we built whole lakes with our tears
we never made a sound


the day the earth broke open
my auntie put away her flair
she placed it in a box
titled it ‘survival’


she put herself in that box too
said ‘open me when it’s safe’
it was never safe


we opened it anyway

and when we did,
it smelt of home,
of the burnt taste of fire leaves on your clothes.


it was safety,
a blanket sheltering us from the cold,
the soothing sensation of a cup of cedar tea on winter days.


it was big,
bigger than the weight it carried,
whole Nations gathered to hear the crackle in her voice.


it was black and burnt and smokey.
hints of maroon filled the air,
the sweetest candy i’ve ever tasted.


sage and tobacco,
sweetgrass and cedar,


dancing in the darkness of her flame.
we danced too,
found ourselves singing,


put it back into the box,
said ‘open me when you want to find home,’


titled it ‘knowledge,’


never closed it again.

Thank you for reading.