lit up right (a poem inspired by Oshkimaadziig Camp)

by waaseyaa'sin christine sy

oshkimaadziig agenda at



ain’t happenin’

under the cover of


we’re all lit up

right bright

with seven fires

never tire

gunna light us into eight

the shkode way

this camp starts out

in coldwater, ontario

where some be playin’, so

much settler and farmers

from history,


their story

of white supremacy

from what i can see

no room for nee-chies

only settlers and farmers

museum b.o.d. & a.r.t. charmers

they don’t even listen

to their own

educated ones,

their own

beating-heart people

who come

and visit

and they say Oshkiimaadziig

trespasses on private property

play nice guy and then the heavy

trespassing on private property?

but how can that be

when Canada did say

“we’ll pay”

and the end of that sentence goes like this:

we’ll pay

to stay

on land we’re occupyin’

through the delusion and fraud

of private property

and don’t tell our citizens we’ve been lying

about the generations of their labour and trying

working and saving

to buy a bungalow

to grow

canadian family

and history


our story

white supremacy

no don’t tell them we’ve been lying

that our citizens our occupyin’

Your Land

and pay us to do it;

just take the big pay

and let it all go away

chiefs and councils too


what educated young

beating heart people

wanna do,

and friends, enemies

old lovers, frenemies,

some old ones and teachers say

take the pay

we need to eat

for another day

see no other way

            want to

ease the pain

feed the yearning

that’s been nurtured

through 400 years

of canada’s colonization

of us

our old people

our babies

(our future?)

the yearning

for more

the yearning

to feel good enough

or better

to have

what consuming canadians

who occupy our lands


flat screen tvs, walt disney,

the latest technology,

what their government

tells them they have

but here’s the thing:

this round of Oshkimaadziig,

Kai Kai Kons




know the pay-day will

“make it all go away”

into a new day

where we’ve sold

all our relatives

the plants

the bees

the water, even in the trees

the wind that’s moves it all

the deer, the crow

whitefish and minnow

erase the land

where we ceremony

asemaa memory


Our Places

and the spaces

we need to


and re-emerge

our walk,


our sounds


our ways,


our knowledges

and ways of knowing,


oshkimaadziig agenda at



ain’t happening

under the cover

of dark,

we’re all lit up

right bright

with fire

we’re all lit up

right bright

with fire

lit up with the light

of a seven fire


and the light of


making eighth fire


and we just want to say,

we’re not going away

cuz we’re lit up

just right.

by waaseyaa’sin christine sy

minokimii nogojowanong


(late spring in Peterborough)


shko-day –  fire

b.o.d. – board of directors

a.r.t. –  aboriginal relations team aka police

asemaa – lead medicine, tobacco