After Six

Friends, I wrote this poem after a conference at The Six Nations of the Grand River Nation this summer. Here is a recently edited version.

They awe me, these suffering
ones, enduring

our colonial slips,

our empire eyes.

Oogling their land, and
straightening their circles, like

gluttons we grab and ignore and then

we fetishize and tokenize them

for our justification

for our failure

just to be.

They have much to teach us – when

our fists finally loosen

our eyes softly open

our hearts beat still –

when our voices find silence.

4 thoughts on “After Six

  1. LC Mueller says:

    Wow, totally nailed it in every way, as seen through my empire eyes. Just amazing and so beautiful. Thanks.

  2. shoreacres says:

    There is real truth here, for any number of contexts. Still, it leaves me pondering, and just a little uneasy. Those “we’s” and “our’s” suggest collective guilt — part of the OT, of course, but in the NT? I’m not so sure. I need to refresh myself on those issues. It’s surely possible to acknowledge errors (and worse) of the past without accepting responsibility for them.

    • agjorgenson says:

      Thanks Linda for your thoughts. Some of my thoughts in response! I think that we can find both collective and individual sin and guilt in both testaments, although emphasis might vary across and within both. Good point about responsibility, but I might add that we need to distinguish between an individual taking responsibility for individual errors and worse, and a community doing the same for communal errors; but more importantly (and I think this gets to your point) we cannot expect individuals to be accountable for corporate or communal infractions. And so, to use another example, Hans is not responsible for the Holocaust: Germany is, even while Hans is responsible for berating his Jewish neighbour. Hans cannot blame Germany for his actions.

      Also, some of the experiences that led to my poem were not reflections on historic grievances but contemporary experiences by native folk over the last few months: experiences that replicate in smaller fashions patterns of injustices that have left devastation on reserves etc.

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