On Respecting Mushkego Ogitchidaakwe’s Path

by waaseyaa'sin christine sy

much has been written on

good intentions,

much has been done with

good intentions,

from that place of

caring

charity

civilization

religion

education

job creation

telling women

how to dress

how to act

how to wear

     our hair,

for our own

    good

who to love

how to love

and

much has been taught about Anishinaabe law

has been spoken about Respect

for personal autonomy

for non-interference

for the spiritual responsibilities

that come to us

in song

dream

ceremony

names,

personal autonomy

that is bound to

community.

much has been said

about telling

Mushkego Ogitchidaakwe

to end her hunger strike,

for caring, good intention

reasons,

little has been said

about respecting

her decision

and standing beside

her and her family

and her community,

little has been said

about holding

our own fears

and respecting her decision,

trusting it.

little has been said

on this by us,

us with our

full bellies,

our neighbours

who are not living

in sheds,

our young mothers

who can feed their babies,

men who are living with dignity,

Elders who are comfortable

in their changing bodies.

we do not

have to witness

genocide of those

we live with,

work with,

and love

everyday

and yet

we would

tell Ogitchidaakwe to

end her hunger strike,

go home

and witness that

which we do not

have to.

we would tell her to

end her hunger strike

instead of saying

“This is how I will

try to

ease the pain

your people

are enduring

and you are

enduring

watching them.

I will

_______.”

Her People.

the beautifully awesome

People

her Mushkego land

grew up into

beautifully awesome

People.

as Indigenous women

who starve ourselves

in all the ways we do

in our homelands,

we know what

we are doing

and why

we are doing it.

we have thought

it through.

ceremonied

the thing too.

Elder’ed about it.

listened to our Dreams.

we have bound

ourselves to our

families

our ancestors

our children

our nation

our land

and we are

not

afraid.

we are

not

afraid

to do the things

we do.

we are Indigenous

women in our

homeland

and we know

what we are doing.

we know what

is best for our Selves,

Our Children,

Our Communities,

Our Nations.

that is why we do

what we do,

as strange

or scary

of awful

as it seems.

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