it’s 2007 and our city
has fielded a committee
which has won a competition
we will have our year as
canada’s cultural capital
with all the project money this entails.
since, she said, the committee
couldn’t find any indigenous artists
they went ahead and decided
what to write, since they all agreed
your community had to be included.
i read what they wrote, it’s open
enough that i can feel genuine
thanking her and the committee
despite my dismay that
a committee of colleagues
couldn’t find me, marilyn, tanya
darlene, trevor, christine, ryan, daniel
sheldon, joanne, the rest of us…
she then takes the committee’s vague
and spins it to mean ‘youth’
and this, i must rise to – isn’t it time
to stop discovering our youth?
encounter, instead, peers.
of course, she then offers me
the project, since i bother
to bother her so. i decline.
counter-propose to assemble a team
marilyn, tanya and i spend months
collaborating with community artists
building shawls, poems, a whole tent city
installed in city hall. we shake and stretch
that little fund until she
offers us more, for devising
theatre, song, dance, art
craft and installation
these honour songs, still too slight for
all those indigenous women
founding mothers of our city
and all we have done since then.
she and i have our accolades
but still, the work of women lives
often unmarked, not inconsiderable
gardens, wild and household both
with their yield of bloom and fruit
still unfurling toward