Talk of Treaties in Passing

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I often wonder

If there was another group

In some far off place

Struggling for acknowledgement

Of treaties and agreements

Signed on some gone and passed day

If people here would get behind it

If it would be the work of NGOs

be the talk of lunchrooms, be in print,

With the majority agreeing

That the right thing is obvious

Or would they say

Don’t let them pay for their ancestors sins?

Would they say in passing

I hope they solve their Indigenous problem?

Never mind the outdated agreements

Honouring them will never calm them!

I often wonder

Now that “we know” the genocidal past

Ought never to be repeated

Why do we struggle with concept

Of staying true to historical agreements?

Because I live today

Does not mean I haven’t felt the

Ramifications of the past

Because I breathe in the present

Doesn’t mean I do not know my own history

Or have not heard the stories of my land

Because school history books did not

Form my only knowledge

I know

The validity of our voices

And I cannot undo what I know

I will not undo it

In the face of your distaste

I will not undo it

In the face of your policies

I will not undo it

Because you cannot understand it

I often wonder

When you speak about the political rightness

Of my people,

Have you heard the stories?

Have you been on the land?

Do you even know the name of my people?

Or are we all under umbrella terms

For our own protection from the storms you’ve created?

I often wonder

If I am not trying to make you pay for what your ancestors did

But trying to only honour the work of mine

do I threaten your existence

and thereby lose the right to mine?

Helen K

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