Beginning and Beginning and Beginning


Today, they took the statue down

in Kjipuktuk, or Halifax town

in Mi’kmaki, mapped as Nova Scotia

along the stormy Atlantic Ocean


Where did it begin? This need

to raise up monuments to men

who call for deaths of other men

and women and children and ways

and lay a bounty on our scalps


Where did it begin? The tale

that Indians Take Scalps, when

all the while, Cornwallis

and his English colonial thugs

paid silver for our lives, small change

traitors to humanity, and to treaties


Where did it begin? the notion

that people from beyond the ocean

should be welcomed here, and given

Treaties of Peace and Friendship, under which

they were granted a place for cod houses, a place

to land, to work the sea, to prosper in their way

in trust that we had more to gain, by such

alliance than by destroying them, as was done

the old stories say, when those other people

came over the sea, and made settlements


Perhaps the ghosts of L’Anse aux Meadows

swayed, in spiritual prayer among the mists

reminding those who pondered those

who came this time, that there is always

a chance that, this time, we can find a way

to abide together, in mutual respect, give up

the urge to conquer, and embrace instead

the will to use our arms as circles

and draw near to another, in peace

in dawning wonder, in delight.


Where does it begin? the will to stand

despite the smallpox blankets, military

incursions, police actions, broken terms

despite the generations of abrogations

to stand, in peace and friendship and declare

that here, in Kjipuktuk that was, and that remains

in Halifax town, that statue must come down

that you and i may, together

walk in more open light, not denying history

but accepting that some glints of glory

are fool’s gold, covering a greater guilt

over the plunder of great treasure, needlessly.


Where does it begin? The history that could become

the history we share from this day onward, the fulfilment

of that dream laid down in law so long ago.


If this is possible, this beginning, then it is possible

to begin to choose to value women, all women

to begin to choose to consider seven generations

not just of our kind, but of our relations

with furred and feathered, plant and mineral

make our peace with Life, in the splendours

obscured at present by our many statues to vainglory

of many kinds. Pull it down.


Today they pulled one such statue down, in Kjipuktuk

now Halifax town, and let the light that graces now

an opened space, grace us with hope, that this is how

history keeps writing us, as beginning, and beginning and beginning.


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