granny braids


we sit at granny’s kitchen table

me, when i was much younger

and granny, 
when she was alive


we sip redrose tea

a true indian drink

and tear apart day-old bannock

dip it into a tub of lard

these are hard times,

so they tell us on that transistor radio

but we just like the taste 
left on our tongues

it makes our words slippery


granny props me up on pillows

pulls on my hair

runs her fingers through knots

and begins to braid


granny braids stories into my hair

this, she says, is my memory

we braid our hair to remember

and to honour our ancestors

it’s us, three sisters

three strands of hair

into braids we become whole

me, you, and them


granny’s braids
 are long and silver

mine, are not.

granny settles her old body
 on a stool

by the kitchen table

taps wrinkly fingers to some old ditty

tiny fingers wrap around her baby finger

and i make a wish

to remember her

granny braids.


Produced as a short video poem and screened at ImagiNative Film Festival 2003 and ImageNative Film Festival 2003. Those who helped me with this are Leena Minifie, Cosmo Johnson, Quentin Rogers, and board and staff at Indigenous Media Arts Group. And special thanks to my nokimisuk who always inspires me to write. They are my muses.


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