April is National Poetry Month. This year’s theme is ‘Time’… Join us, every school day throughout the month of April, for a feature poem on the theme.
Our poem of the day for today is: Saskatchewan Indians Were Dancing by Canadian poet Marie Annharte Baker.
60s pulled us from starvation into government jobs
antiquated Indians in Saskatchewan danced for rain
Manitoba Indian doings were hidden for a jealous me
all I had was a 50s rock’n’roll step to copy from
not shy you danced for strangers from deep defiance
full regalia hid other dangerous rope dancing kicks
Crees got out of line on the scaffold teaching Cree
readiness to enter the earth at the exact spot left
following a song trail maybe even a we want a chant
chant after teasing hey boy you first boy first one
dancing in the air show them how to teach us lesson
a public display of rationed revenge serves nothing
show example to culture clashed passive politicians
Crees hit them notes higher boys cover up ear drums
let other drums beat out natural powwow exhibitions
boys in the pen idle for a time listen up flag song
Cree hit parade will release some traditional lives
dancing not allowed behind bars then songs bring us
back to good times Saskatchewan Indians danced free
Read the rest of the poem at the ESA Library Daily Blog
Marie Annharte Baker is an Anishinabe poet originally from Little Saskatchewan First Nation, Manitoba. She confronts the overlapping oppressions faced by Canada’s First Nations people in her writing, often by playing with Standard English and symbols from First Nations culture.