Indigeneity, Language and Authenticity

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Gïelebiesie

We are the generation that pulls our ancestors
from the depths to find ourselves again.

The youngest one is six years old;
after the hare escapes the yoiked shot-gun
she tells me that she’s found a pair of reindeer boots
once worn by her father, then hidden away
until the day she started each day with a vuelie.

On the other side of the table, the ten-year-old
writes down every word I say
and repeats it three times, determined to not forget
what has been denied her by the state –
then she excuses herself
– this broken language we barely share,
echoing like gun-shots through the room.

There’s a cold bitterness in the joke
when we try to figure out how much fabric
we’re going to need for 52 skopmehkh –
“let’s begin this day with a re-enactment of our history”
this tape measurer
fastened like a cursed echo of the past
around the skulls of our children.

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