gishpin, dr. suess gii anishnaabe // if, dr. seuss was a skin

in, in, in
oh, the indigenous skin that you’re in

in, in, in
indigenous skin is in

in, in, in
indigenous? you’re in, skin

bling, bling, bling across akiing
sha, taa, haa! those beads can sing

anishnaabeg akiing
those anishnaabeg can sing
with the wey hey ya hey yo’s
miinwaa, hey ya hey yo’s
miinwaa ya ha wey yo’s

in, in, in
love the indigenous skin you’re in
shine like giizis, anishnaabe kin
giizis hangs high in the sky
where those feathered friends fly
miinwaa dbikid giizis?
ookoomis transforms
no, she’s not shy

in, in, in
indigenous kin sure can grin
a wigwam full of lip-pointers
chaas, holas, and not evens
echo across akiing

in, in, in
oh, the indigenous skin that you’re in
it sure is fantastic to be in, in, in
this indigenous skin


This poem was performed at the launch of Wrist, an Indigenous monster story by Nathan Niigan Noodin Adler at Gallery 101 in Ottawa, ON, August 2016. It’s a participatory poem where I had the audience say with me: in, in, in. Sha taa haa it was fun! Please visit the link above to find more about Nathan’s new book!

translations:

anishnaabe – a good person
anishnaabeg – the good people
gishpin – if
giizis – sun
dbikid giizis – night sun
wigwam – house
akiing – the land
shaa taa haa – an exclamation response
miinwaa – and (can also mean – again. in this poem it’s – and)
ookoomis – grandmother (anishnaabeg refer to the moon as grandmother as she is ancient and offers many teachings)