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  • Kim Senklip Harvey

the present truth


The complications of making peace with how each Indigenous person has arrived to the present moment is complex, punishing, exceptional and personal.

It is so personal.

It's inconvenient for non-Indigenous folx to comprehend that for every Indigenous person, there is a unique story as to how we got here.

The government and those upholding the state want a singular story, a formula to wash the violence away but the mess they created will not dissipate. The violence acted upon Indigenous peoples will never go away, it is here for the rest of our lives and generations to come.

That is the truth.

Dealing with non-Indigenous peoples understanding of this sometimes feels like dealing with an impetulant child where they think if they whine or cry enough it will just go away. 

Look around canadians, look to the other countries who have enacted genocide - it doesn't go away.

It's insulting to believe that in your lifetime by reading enough books, attending enough Indigenous events or sharing enough posts, the continued acts of Indigenous dispossession will somehow be assuaged from the reality of colonial existence.  

Non-Indigenous folx this is your inheritance, how you receive it and what you do with it is the opportunity of the present moment. 

I think about this concept of what we inherit all the time. As a Salish womxn this inter-generational journey of stewardship and community based living is deeply tied to my spirit. It's how I know if I'm living a life my Ancestors are proud of. 

Am I making decisions that give the next generation a more supportive environment than the one I've inherited. Living this way, I find it actually nourishes my spirit. When I neglect to bear witness to the truth, it starves my spirit and ultimately the strength of my people and our community.

There is a list of the government genocide programs that my Ancestors and family have battled, known ones like residential schools, the smallpox chemical warfare and the divide and conquer war tactic reflected in the creation of the reservation detention systems but there are so many detailed phases of how these genocide programs continue to impact me that not enough people know about.

It makes me feel quite hopeless with the amount of education the majority of non-Indigenous peoples have to do to get to the present moment with me, all of me and all the Indigenous peoples who have endured so much.

This duty, this responsibility to understand the complex and exceptional journeys of Indigenous peoples is a lot of work and I don't see enough of it happening. I don't.

I know this because when I'm in it, when I'm feeling like I could tear time through the heart with my hands and blast into a battle when settlers started arriving - there are not many people who I can turn to.

Not many that have done The Work.

There is nothing more disheartening than having to take an emotional time out to educate someone in the midst of trying to honour the truth of your feelings.

Could there be anything more isolating. 

I know many Indigenous peoples who stop turning to outside folx because it's just too much work. It's why a lot of Indigenous folx turn to each other and the conscious divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples keeps getting more vast. It's why the pendulum swings - it's why racism is on the rise in canada. 

Racism is on the rise.

Get to know the details of policies and systems like,

Bill C 31

the violent and continued history of the Ministries of Children and Family apprehending our children

the state run incarceration genocide program

the euro-centric centered pedagogy of white health care systems that refuse to care for the wellbeing of Indigenous peoples

Indigenous dispossession

the minutia of inter-generational trauma as an embodiment - not just a term.

You've got to get knowing.

Please.

When I look at what I've inherited and it is a many of things, I try to figure out what needs to be honoured and then transformed.

It is a power we all have and I want to say this:

To those out there feeling alone, know we have the abilities to transform the pain into energy and then healing power. It's been something that I've been deliberately working on for the past 4 years and I will be for the rest of my life but know it's transformative. 

I wrote this last night when I was in it.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

the pain an Indigenous person feels when we experience the impacts of colonialism from our own peoples

is an in-fathomable mix of rage, torture and grief

the misguided shots fuelled by sorrow

fired by and against our own peoples

inflict the battles most brutal wounds

but up we get

for rising is the healing action

peace harnessed in our eyes

we walk to the weaponized relation

shot after shot

again and

again and

again

they try to separate us

but our desire to bear witness

to belong to our blood

will make us battle through the fields of all the eternities

we know

rage transformed is the healing action.

so bring it on,

I transform it,

for I am Indigenous continuance

and these shots

of energy

compel me back to my people

my blood

my blood

is the healing medicine

my act of peace

is the fearless voyage of Indigenous love

I see you slaxts

I come back to you deeply

always

with love for my people

always.

Tales of a displaced indian.

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kim.

 My Ancestors.