Tag Archives: First Nations

Pelican Project Salute

In July 2000 New Dance Horizons in Regina Saskatchewan put together a presentation for “Dance and the Child International”.  It consisted of dance, song and poetry performed by about thirty young people many from Canada’s First Nations. I had the privilege of coaching and guiding them as they wrote their own poems.

This is the story of the teachers and young people involved.

You are the pelican warriors

You are the pelicans who do not run away
you are the pelicans that stay and fight
you are the pelicans that defend your nests
you are the pelicans that defend your tribe


You are the pelicans
who fly from your homes to find a new lake

You are the pelicans
brave enough to fly near people
(it can be dangerous to fly near people)

You are the pelicans
brave enough to fly through your fears
You are the pelicans
who know some people are your friends
who know some people need your gifts

You are the pelicans
who teach pelicans and people
how to care for their young
how to live for their tribe

How to fly and dance and swim
and fish together again

I dip my ink tipped wing
in praise of you

Qu’Appelle and ESL

This poem references the experience of First Nations children who were systematically stripped of their culture and language in Canada’s residential schools. Today is set aside in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation and marked by the wearing of orange shirts in memory of one young girl’s experience.

https://www.orangeshirtday.org/phyllis-story.html

https://www.techlifetoday.ca/articles/2020/why-we-wear-orange-on-orange-shirt-day-nait

Sioux Death Song

Bronze statue “SanTee Death Song” by Dave Buffington 1977
overlay on prairie image by hosynth from Pixabay 

When someone passes away, many Native people say that they do not die, but instead “walk on.” This implies a continuation of a journey rather than an endpoint on a linear path.

Dakota (Sioux) Memorial – 1862 in Mankato, Minnesota …

https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/2340627/dakota-(sioux)-memorial—1862 After listening to the bishop and personally reviewing the trial records, Lincoln commuted the death sentence for all but thirty-eight prisoners. At 10 am on December 26, 1862, the condemned men, chanting the Dakota deathsong, marched in single file to a scaffold guarded by 1,400 troops in full battle dress.