o canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

this land rich with resources

oil, the blood, extracted

gold, the treasure, extracted

diamonds, a girl’s best friend, extracted

 

people came from far and wide

to disgrace you

 

O Canada

 

your rivers once ran free

your lakes once ran clear

your oceans once ran with the mighty salmon

 

now, the water is brown

backed up with waste

nuclear and sewage,

 

O Canada

 

people rise up

together they stand, united

like the many strands of hair

braided they are one

 

people cry out in protest

a plea to use reason

and common sense

 

to stop the clear-cutting

to stop the destruction of sacred land

to stop the extracting of oil

to stop the contamination of the water

 

O Canada

 

the people are protesting

and are targeted by the police

who attack from horse back

and from behind black shields they pepper spray

and drag them down to prison

in plastic hand cuffs

because they are standing up for their human rights

 

the people are protesting

in grassy narrows,

the tar sands in Alberta,

the streets in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal

Ottawa and all the places in between

 

O Canada

 

men are taken for a ride

by the RCMP

in police cruisers

in the middle of the night

they are left on the side of the road

in the middle of winter

anyone who knows you

O Canada

knows that the winters are cold

frost bite freezes beneath the skin

and the men are carved in snow

 

O Canada

women are missing

across the land

no one sees them

they are shadows that disappear

in the first ray of light

 

no one hears them

screaming, yelling, pleading for help

from busy streets

aunties, sisters, mothers, daughters

and grandmothers

are missing

are murdered

on your land

 

O Canada

the water is contaminated

in Kashechewan

and the people broke out in a severe rash

like a wild fire spread across the community

and this happens in many first nations

water is a human right

and a treaty right

 

O Canada

there is a grandmother walking

around the great lakes

the rivers, the creeks

and people are joining her

from the four directions

they are praying

they are protecting the rights of Water

and this human right for everyone

 

and when grandmother Josephine walks

with many women, men and children

they are in danger

because people do not understand how important this is

some of the people are ignorant

 

O Canada

yet the people are gathering

they are here to listen, to share, to witness stories

of many living here

 

at a school on the Westside

women gather offering their time

to prepare food for the healthy snack program

 

in a little room they share lives, stories and cultures

from across the great seas

one woman can’t sleep

since she found out that the army

went into her sister’s home in lybia

and took her brother-in-law

with many other men

and they don’t know where they are

it’s been over two weeks

 

and she can’t sleep

but comes to the school

and we comfort her

because we all know what it means

to have someone who is missing

who is taken

 

 

O Canada

will you hear these words?

these stories?

this living history?

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