Holy Beings

on the day the chief of kâ-awâsis announces they have confirmed 751

bodies in unmarked graves outside the residential “school” in their

community, i google things like:


when will the sun run out of fuel?


at what point will we run out of drinkable water?


is a nation without a language spiritually stateless?


next week, jason kenney is fully “post-pandemic” reopening the prov-

ince for july 1, so i call a bakery and ask them to write “êkîsâkihitakok”

on a fifty-dollar cake and book myself a massage covered by my city

health benefits.


    the matriarchal line of my family tree reads like: prairie bourgeois,

   smallpox, residential school, day school, child welfare, middle class


i wear an orange shirt to work as some kind of balm to my being,


                       but i’ve sat in the sun enough this summer,

          that i get sympathetic looks from settlers that walk by me

                  they are bombarded by the reality they maintain


consider this:


         i can see right through your entire bodily facade and i know

             the difference between white guilt and you pitying me

                                          for being a prairie ndn


i am so blessed to be born who i am and

i want every urban nêhiyaw baby to feel that too, to know that they are


                                                   holy beings


                                   walking on land full of prayers for their well-being

and it is not their fault they

                                                                                               don’t know that

Bibliographical info

Emily Riddle’s “Holy Beings” Copyright © 2022 by Emily Riddle. Source "Holy Beings” from The Big Melt (Nightwood Editions, 2022). Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

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