How Do We Speak of This?




Inyan Woslata – Standing Rock - 2016

Inyan Woslata – Standing Rock – 2016

This poem was written in the midst of the historic show of support for land, water and indigenous life and culture. We all need to raise our voices and be heard. We need to integrate awareness of the rights of nature into our lives, now as we stand with Standing Rock and long after this crisis when the cycles of industrial capitalism continue to place profit before lives.

The poem is written in one of the languages of the Three Fires Confederacy in honor of the members of the Seven Fires Council. The Ojibwe, Dakota and Lakota people have been warriors together for many centuries and this time they are clearly greeting this new dawn together.

The image by the poet’s daughter reminds us there is strength and memory in the stones placed as grave markers beneath the stars and in all the lives who sustain the ecosystem of the prairie.

 
Aaniin Idamang? How Do We Speak of This?

Poem by Margaret Noodin
Illustration by Shannon Noori

standing-rock-poem

Aaniin idamang gaa ezhiwebag
mashkodeng gii mashkawiziwag
be-bezhig okoshimaawaad asiniig
endaazhi-mashkosiikaa?

How do we speak of what has happened
in the prairie where they were strong
one by one piling stones
in the long grass?

Minogizhebawagad. Anpétu kin dé wasté. It is a good day.

Aaniin idamang ezhiwebag waasa
bimide aanjitoowaad zhooniyaan
ziinibiizhaawaad bibagasiiniig
miskwiiwan ode’akiing

How do we speak of what happens from a distance
turning oil into money
squeezing stone layers
bleeding the heart of the earth?

Minogizhebawagad. Anpétu kin dé wasté. It is a good day.

Aaniin idamang ezhiwebag besho ganawenimaawaad
mashkode-bizhiikiwag
mashkode-akakojiishagan niimiwaad
Ojig Anong madogaananing Ogimaan?

How do we speak of what happens nearby
where buffalos watch over
prairie dogs dancing
on the Chief’s constellation?

Minogizhebawagad. Anpétu kin dé wasté. It is a good day.

Aaniin idamang waa ezhiwebag
giishpin gaawiin nisidotawaasiiwaan
Chimookimanag Oceti Sakowin-an?
Gaawiin de aatesiinoon o’o biidaaban.

How do we speak of what will happen
if there is no understanding between
the Long Knives and the Seven Fires?
This dawn cannot be extinguished.

Minogizhebawagad. Anpétu kin dé wasté. It is a good day.