Tamara Willems

aftermath of all this…

When after a brief but somewhat ferocious storm 
we are left with  
the aftermath and destruction,
when the fallen and snapped off portions 
have been cut, chipped and carted 
away 
the disfigured remainder  
left standing  
now added to the terminal list, 
how sad one feels 
at the inevitability of losing 
one more 
beloved  
tree 

and again, everything that gets trampled underfoot
and demolished 
in the  
meantime 
as well, great disappointment in just what we have done 
to our earth 
and also
to its people…

One hundred and fifty thousand Indigenous people, children  
were taken
from families 
not just uprooted 
but ripped, limb from limb 
150,000
thousands never ever returned
thousands
simply
vanished

 
stories for some only now beginning to surface
as numbers and young body counts 
mount

the last residential school was still open in 1996 
we have had this truth 
yet, it is we 
who have not been listening 
it is we 
it IS we who believe that indigenous people live ‘on reserves’  
of their choosing, as ‘their own land’ 
instead of the very real facts of indigenous people being forced, pushed  
and confined to restricted areas 
systematic attempts of control 
and degradation 
often little access to clean drinking water, poor medical care
simple basic needs, let alone 
rights and  
freedoms
as a nation of perpetrators we should indeed be
ashamed 
 
it is our responsibility to listen 
to the earth 
and to its people 
to ALL its people 
 
we need a deep open-hearted listening 
to heal 
we need less noise, less shame, less anger, less 
disassociation, less greed, less self-centred bravado 
less  
complacency  
we need more compassion, more empathy 
more  
kindness 
we need atonement,  honour and  
dignity 
we need understanding, possibility and Love 
Above all
we need Love
 
we, ourselves  
will again plant a tree here
as a kindness to the earth,
and to a healing
we will open our hearts 
we will learn
and we will listen 
 
as the very, very least we can do 
is listen 

where once again,
we Are
our only hope ♥

“If we can raise a generation of non-Indigenous kids who don’t normalize discrimination, and have the tools to peacefully and respectfully advocate for the end of this kind of apartheid system, then we’ll be in a position where First Nations children never have to recover from their childhoods again, and non-Indigenous children never have to say they’re sorry.” 
 ~ Cindy Blackstock

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