NATIONAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY

National Indigenous Peoples Day is a day recognizing and celebrating the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Indigenous peoples of Canada. Novalis author Greg Kennedy, SJ penned this poem for today’s occasion.

Canadian Indian Act III scene v

bison bones on Ezekiel’s plain

wait white as bleached piety

and happier-than-thou civilized sorrow

out the window of a train

gunpowder policies vie for starvation

Western Expansion gets executed

by prim and properly narrowed minds

criminal and more common than papercuts

got from handling dagger-edged treaties

ENTER the displaced 

the annihilated

the earthquake to shake the dry bones,

like wild music medicine,

together to sinews and to flesh

ENTER the spirit and the bison,

reborn, stampede across Ezekiel’s plain

each dragging his iron-will plow

turning over/filling up

future dust bowls with unbreachable

free nations of native prairie grasses

Greg Kennedy, SJ is a Jesuit priest working as a spiritual director at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre in Guelph, Ontario. His prayer often takes the form of poetry. Care of creation is central to his vocation. His recent publications include Joyful, Mournful Noises and The Hard Road Up to Hallelujah, volume 2 and volume 3, respectively, in the Reupholstered Psalms series.

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