Tag Archives: Canada

Niagra Falls from Canada

a photograph by Sonja Bingen, our daughter

Niagra Falls Sonja

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Makwa Fits You Good

by Thomas Davis

To Trevor Moeke

Makwa fits you good:

He wanders around the grounds,
Rolling like a meadow rolls,
Growling here and there
With the song of who he is
And greeting morning and evening skies
With the power of his presence.

His earth spirit
Speaks languages
Gathered from earth, wind, water, sky.

Walking in sunshine
Between startling whiteness
Of tepees that point poles
Toward a startling blue sky,
He smiles with white teeth
And laughs with a deepness
That shakes aspen leaves
And sets them to dancing
Even though there is no wind.

Note: Trevor Moeke is a Maori leader who is the current Co-Chair of the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (www.win-hec.org). Makwa, in Anishinabe, means bear. This poem was written on the Shoney Reserve in Canada immediately after the meeting that formed WINHEC.

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Brother William, Maori Singer

by Thomas Davis

Twelve hawks soar in a circle,
Each wheeling interlocking into the next.

They soar higher and higher,
Dark wings part of summer blue sky,
Growing smaller as they climb
Above valley grasses,
Pines, and fluttering aspen leaves
Covering sides of hills,
Rising into symphony
Of ever lighter blue distance,
Ever climbing mountains.

Then, in a splinter of light,
Bird wing flashes white.
The world changes
While sky, mountains, trees
Live inside their own sense of time.

On the stage, wooden, outside,
Before a crowd of brown faces,
Maori laughed and sang
A storm of life
And eyes dancing in faces.

In the midst of song and laughter,
A slim, aging man stood in front of the singers.
He spoke of birds wheeling high in the distance of sky.

Note: This happened on the Stoney Reserve in Canada on the day that the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium was formed.

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At the Founding of the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC) on the Stoney Reserve in Canada, 8/7/02

Rock mountains thrown down out of sky
Into the green girdle of pine and spruce
That fall into white trunks of aspen
Fluttering with leaves in the valley
Beside the sometimes molten turquoise of a river.

In this place,
Beside a lake alive with small waves,
Below mountains,
The tall aborigine puts his lips to digeridoo,
Brown hollow log,
And blows out earthsongs
Into humming bones,
His mother’s voice soaring above deepness,
Voices of cultures
From mountains, hills, valleys, ocean shores, forests, swamps, lakes, steppes, deserts
Spilling languages alive
Into the ecology of peoples,
The digeridoo inside heartsong
Of generations backward and forward
From this time, this place.

Words flowed around tables.
Voices became people
As songs sought the spirit
Of prayer, of humility, of hope.
Words and people
Circled inside each other
As agreement approached, a field mouse
Twitching at wind’s breath on blades of grasses.

And then unity,
Past, present, future bound
Into voices and words,

The language of peoples
Become a single language.

Inside the world of cars, airplanes, computers,
People original to places
Feel their deserts, steppes, lakes, swamps, forests, ocean shores, valleys, hills, mountains
Rise from the low color of digeridoo’s sounds.

In education,
In belonging,
In wisdom
Is the sustainability of the world.

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