Posts tagged ‘aboriginal literature in Canada’

Mi’kmaq Legends Project

Mi`kmaq Legends

This amazing play had the opening show in October 2011 at the Murphy’s Centre in Charlottetown!!

 

“I enjoyed it so much!!! I think, what a wonderful opportunity for the youth!! I think we have future “Oscar” winners.. And the set was the most awesome creation I have see in a long time!!! Well done and Thank you to everyone involved!! “Chief Darlene Bernard

Mi’kmaq Legends is a theatrical experience comprised of music, poetry, dance, visual arts and theatre which entwines the rich Aboriginal history with a modern-day influence.  This production has eight Mi’kmaq Legends and these are the basis of the eight stories that the actors play out.  In my opinion it has created a way to preserve our oral history  that is not just a presentation or workshop, it is eight stories that the audience will watch play out in front of them.  The best part of the play is that people have the opportunty to learn of our past in a fun way and they can take what teachings they need from each of them.

This project was exciting for me,  to see my poetry come alive right in front of me was amazing.  We had a cast of 11 people, myself included that took on this project and with the great work of Sean Ferris, who created the powerful music, and Cathy Elliot who took the eight poems and created a perfect script and Julie Sauve who showed the cast what looked best at each stage of production.. we created something special something that I hope will outlast me!!

We are applying for funding everywhere for this production so that it will not just fade away so fingers crossed that soon it will be in a theater near you!!

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The Young Company 2011 -The Talking Stick production!

Very exciting times when one of your poems is used in a production that goes beyond pen and paper.  I would very much like to thank Cathy Elliott for using my poem in her production this year!!   The young performers act out the poem I wrote on making a basket! As well as many many more wonderful First Nation stories and legends!!   So very exciting!  One of the young actors is my son, Richard Pellissier-Lush. 3 more come from PEI, Dion Bernard and Jessica Francis come from Abegweit First Nations, and Mikey Santiago.  The rest of the wonderful group come from all over Canada, Dillan Chiblow, Rylee Currie, Jacob MacInnis, Mike St. Amant, and Morgan Varis.  They perform every Monday-Saturday at the Confederation Centre of the Arts here in Charlottetown, PEI from 12-1.  Tomorrow they are performing their play in front of the Royal Couple while they are on tour here… so in turn they Royal Couple will be seeing my poem performed.  So excited for the young people!!  What a celebration of First Nations Culture here in PEI!!!    So check out the Young Company 2011 and my poem, “The Sounds of Making a Basket” already here in this blog!  Good luck Young Company!!! 

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POST 28 – The Four Elements

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POST 28 – The Four Elements

This is my last original poem in this series, I hope you enjoyed this experience with me.  I will post my other poems that I have written, once and a while.  So you will come back and visit my blog a few more times.    My first poems made me realize I could express myself this way, and I really do enjoy it.  Those I will put on, but they were not originally written for this and these 28 were.  Each day I would think and think until I saw a story I needed to express.  Thank you so much for reading, and coming with me on this incredible journey!!  I hope you enjoy the last one.

Post 28 – The Four Elements

By Julie Pellissier-Lush

Wind, fire, water and earth

We need these things since the birth

Of man and animal, bugs and birds

You must know this, you must have heard

Sacred elements we need everyday

We need these elements to always stay

Earth is underneath us all around

It is one of our elements that is all over, it’s the ground

It is our Mother Earth that gives us the soil of dark red

When we pray to her she hears what we’ve always said

She is the womb of all our plants and trees

That feeds us and the animals the birds and the bees

We need to give you love, and protect you from harm

When things can’t grow any more it is cause for alarm

Water comes to us in our lakes oceans and the soft falling rain

It feeds our hearts minds and can help a soul in pain

To keep our babies safe inside the their mother’s womb

To bath our elders and keep them clean so they can bloom

It cleans our bodies and gives animals and crops a drink

It is so sensitive to what we do we can lose it in a blink

Air is the element that we can’t do without

Without it we cannot breathe, or fly or shout

Some of the air is already getting bad

Children who cannot breathe without medicine it’s sad

How could we do this to the air that’s all around

Soon there will be no noise because there won’t be a sound

Your power is there over all the other elements we know

You move the water you shape the earth and fire without you will not grow

Since I took my first breathe as a baby I always knew

How much we needed this element that much is oh so true

Fire is the last of the four sacred elements we say

You keep us warm and energize us each and every day

Your flames go through us and give a meaning to life

How cold and dark it would it be without you so much strife

You purify us and everything we need

You help everything grow even us just from a seed

Four elements we have and we need them all today

We give thanks for each and hope they’re here to stay

The creator gave them all to us to be the caretaker to all

We lost our way, but from today we know this is our call

Four elements that make us strong and keep us all alive

Four elements that give us life and help us to grow and thrive

Think of them as you wake up for the day

Think of them as the sun slowly goes away

The youth will always be the first to see

The elders will always remind me

To take a care to watch the signs that is dire

So there will be no day without water, earth, air and fire

POST 27 – Why We Take a Stand

POST 27 – Why We Take a Stand

I was doing some thinking on the Day of Action coming up… and I came up with some of the base issues I see that are ongoing and unfortunately the solutions seem so far away.  This isn’t a poem with answers… just maybe some of the questions that need to be asked.

Post 27 – Why we take a Stand

By Julie Pellissier-Lush

As First Nations People all over this land

What things make us act and take a strong stand?

Is it lack of education, poverty or abuse?

Is it programs created that we can never use?

Put in isolation away from the urban places

House next to house running out of spaces

This can be where relationships get stressed and sad

People get angry and they start acting bad

Some take drugs or drink booze to take away the pain

Looking for where their pride has gone when only the hurts remain

Useless fighting where blood is spilt

Sometimes people are even killed

Loved ones are always left to grieve

Only a few go away only a few ever leave

Women hurt badly by familiar faces

Having to still hang out in the same places

Pretending the pain isn’t really there

Bruises hidden under the clothes that they wear

Why is there this pain for this generation?

The elders are hurt with this information

What can they do to help heal these wounds?

Can we find the answers locked inside an empty room?

The government comes in to consult

Over and over and over, it’s an insult

Taking our words down and then they go

What happens to these words I really don’t know?

Nothing is ever done, the troubles never end

But we can always smile and try to pretend

Who can save us from these complicated things?

Give us solutions and give us back our wings

The government with their policies

The elders with their ability to see

The little children who need things to change

The people who are damaged and act all strange?

Is it with each and every community member?

Spending an hour or two just being together?

I wish I had the answers now

I wish I had an idea how

To help all the people in isolation

Regenerate with love and not degradation

What these problems can’t take away

It is our heart for each other and the respect that we pay

We share what we have no matter how many

We will always give to those who don’t have any

These problems are not new they are just mountains we must climb

We need some answers now so we can fix it again this time

Communities are who we are all across this land

Isolated and lost sometimes, but that is why we take a stand

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POST 26 – The House that was a Home

POST 26 – The House that was a Home

 This is the a Poem of the Green house, the place I feel where I was close to my Mom.  Everyone has a place that they can think of in their mind, the place that is the whole vision of themselves when they were little.  This is mine.. I hope you can see your house that became your home, and you have one or two people who love you so much they will take you there whenever you need!!

Post 26 – The House that was a Home

By Julie Pellissier-Lush

There once was a house right by the beach hidden in some trees

There lived a Mi’kmaq mother, a father and a baby that was me

The walls outside were painted a dark forest green

It really was the biggest house that I had ever seen

Two stories high with an attic way up at the top

During the summer the flowers grew up here there and everywhere

We were always so busy playing in the sun and smelling the calm sea air

An apple tree grew just outside the house real wild and tall

We’d pick all the apples before they could have a chance to fall

Picking clams on the beach for a big clam bake

Eating up so many that my belly would sometimes ache

This house was a home full of so much laughter

Full of joy love and hope for a happily ever after

People came to visit, people came and went

There was so much time visiting so much time spent

One day that Mi’kmaq Mother got sick down deep inside

It was cancer and from that there was no place for us to hide

She got sicker and sicker each week and month that went by

After that the time spent in that beautiful house went as fast as time could fly

When she passed away on that cold dark morning in March

The house became for us like a ugly broken arch

So soon it was sold and we moved far away

The people that bought it only came there to play

In the summers when the sun was high in the sky

When the winter came they’d say goodbye

A few years came and went and that house just sat so still

Things started to go and the family had got their fill

Soon people came and tore that old house down

They cleared out all the debris that was left all over the ground

Now all that remains are the trees standing tall

It is like there was never a happy family there at all

The house that was a home is gone but not forgotten my me

I stop by and look sometimes at that old apple tree

The laugher and love that came from that place

Is not totally gone without a trace

I am here with the memory in my head

The house that was green and the soil that was red

It was my house that became my home

Someday I will come back when I stop wanting to roam

For now like the special people and places that are gone

I think of them when I need strength to  carry on.

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POST 25 – The Drummer

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POST 25 – The Drummer

Last weekend was an amazing Pow wow held by the Native Council of PEI.  They had lots of dancers and drummers.  It made me think and on the way home I started this poem, The Drummer.  They fill our events with music and some of them are also amazing teachers.   I have been very fortunate to be able to sit with a few and hear their stories and why they drum.  Post 25 is for all the drummers out there and all of those who will start drumming.  You have a gift, and everyone thanks you for sharing.

Post 25 – The Drummer

By Julie Pellissier-Lush

The Honour Song is floating in the air around me

I see the group drumming together singing so free

Words of their history through drumming and song

The words they do echo so loud and so strong

One young man stands out and I look over and see him

Eyes are closed, head is tilted up and his mouth has a grin

Hitting the drum with a regular beat

I see his Mom looking at him so proud in her seat

The music, the drumming and song floats up to the sky

I look to the heavens and start wondering why

Why is this music so special to us every time?

Why does it get in our hearts and our minds?

After the drumming was done for a while

That drummer came over and sat with a smile

If you want I can tell you what makes this song great

Why when you hear it you want to celebrate

The beat is the sound that we hear

When Mama’s heart beat is very near

When we are a baby in the womb

It is the sounds that we hear that little room

When we are children adults and teens

We hear the drum and somehow it cleans

Our hearts, our minds and our souls

No matter if we are young or old

The sound of the drum goes deep inside of me

Thank you drummer for helping me to see

What the drum really means and why

The first time I heard it, it made me want to cry

It is the sounds of our people our mothers, our fathers

It is the sounds of our people our sisters and brothers

I can hear it in the Mi’kmaq words you sing under the sun

I can hear it in pulsating beat of the drum

To ground us to our history, and give us wings to soar

Into the future, as a Nation who could ask more

Please drum some more for all of us gathered here today

Come back into the circle once more and play

POST 24 – The Baby Within

POST 24 – The Baby Within 

This poem is for the pregnant women out there.  It is not about the people around them, but the new life within them.  Having a new life inside your womb is the most amazing experience, and if I had my time back would definitely have done it more than three times.  But my calling was for something different, and I accept that with a smile.  For all the Moms out there, poem 24 is for you!

Post 24 – The Baby Within

For the little life inside of me today

There are so many emotions I cannot say

The joy of knowing you are safe and warm

Nervous because I know soon you will be born

I know I’ve never felt so complete

Since the first time I felt your body move

Wiggle and kick inside, of me you must approve

Your little way of letting me know you were there

When you’re pregnant I found people just don’t stare

They rub your belly and pretend that it is catching

You’re just like a little egg getting ready for hatching

I picture your tiny hands and tiny feet sometimes

I would never hurt you baby, that would be a crime

I love you little one and can’t wait to hold you tight

I look forward to you waking me up at night

These little sounds will soon become music to my ears

I love you baby, with all my heart my dear

I will do what I can to be the best Mom I can be

It is all so new it won’t be easy for me

To grow so fast, nine months is not that long

I just need to love, to plan and be strong

You will always be my number one

Be you a beautiful daughter or a handsome son

I hope what I do for you today deep within me

Will help you grow up strong and proud for me to see

Will you be a dancer, singer or drummer when you grow up?

No matter what you will always be my little buttercup

I ponder these thoughts as I lay in bed at night

Baby my hope is that your future be bright

One last thing as I give my tummy a rub

I give you this poem, dear baby with all my love

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POST 23 – Lost Mi’kmaq Graves in PEI

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POST 23 – Lost Mi’kmaq Graves in PEI

This poem is written about an unknown group of about 6-8 graves of Mi’kmaq people up in the Eastern part of PEI.  It was just by chance that I heard this story and went up to investigate.  In a small grove of trees these graves have been kept safe and undisturbed by a family for several generations.  I give lots of thanks to this family, and now I really want to know more of the story.  The pictures are from the actual site, I hope anyone out there who loves to hear out the past enjoys this poem. 

Post 23 – Lost Mi’kmaq Graves in PEI

By Julie Pellissier-Lush

I drove up East in PEI

Someone told me a story passing by

About some hidden Mi’kmaq graves upon his land

He sat down and told me how this story had began

The farmer was very young when this father told him how

When he was a little boy, this story put sweat upon his brow

A little glen of moss and trees

Is where these Mi’kmaq people fell to their knees

So they could bury the ones they loved

And say their prayers to the creator above

Sandstone is what they marked the place

Now this family is gone with barely a trace

Who were they and what were their names?

Maybe back then we were considered all the same

As I stepped into the glen I saw the world get darker

It was not too long that I saw the first red sandstone marker

The wind started to whisper

The trees began a dance

Had I really found some of my relatives at last?

The farmers family had protected them generation after generation

From plowing and cutting but not the isolation

What has to happen is to bring the people in now

Who have machines and all their know how

To look under the earth and see

Who these people were and set them free

What is the story of the lost lonely graves?

Were you a family that caught a plague?

Were you  just a few friends or a whole clan?

Were you hiding in the woods when everyone ran?

The stories will come back to us I hope someday

Of these people buried in a little glen so far away

I pray your souls are all at peace tonight

I hope finding you now helps make things right

POST 22 – Children Lost

POST 22 – Children Lost

Now this one as I said came to me yesterday when I was working on my pine cone poem, it is about the children in the last few decades that were adopted out under duress.  Many stories I’ve heard about this are heart wrenching, with the young Mothers being told the child would be better off with a different family.  So many Mom’s left the hospitals without their babies during this time, many of these babies are starting to coming back now.  A couple of these ladies I talked to  said they would light a candle and say a prayer for the child they lost every day on their birthday.  In my mind I wondered if subconsciously their prayers went out to their babies.  Now in this poem, things do not go well, and there are a lot of the stories you hear that turn out this way.  Once Mom and baby are reunited there is so much heart breaking work to help these lost children.  That being said, there are some good stories, but not always and that is not how I decided to write this!  It is a mixture of several  stories I have heard and it is my statement on the events we have not really seen about in the news, but we all  know that it happened.  We are still trying to mend this broken generation.

Post 22 – Children Lost

By Julie Pellissier-Lush

My baby, my baby

Where are you tonight?

I left the hospital real late by car

I’m not sure where but we are going far

My baby, my baby

Where are you tonight?

Learning to say Mommy and walk

I think my parents love me because they smile when they talk

My baby, my baby

Where are you tonight?

I am still tiny and I’m turning two today

Sometimes I can get angry and do not want to play

My baby, my baby

Where are you tonight?

I am three now and go to preschool

 Today I had to  go to the corner and sit on a stool

My baby, my baby

Where are you tonight?

I am six today and I feel like a fool

I was called a wagon burner today in school

My baby, my baby

Where are you tonight?

I am ten today  and I don’t really feel the same

The kids won’t let me play in their fun and games

My baby, my baby

Where are you tonight?

I am twelve today Mom and I heard my parents say

It’s not our fault, she isn’t ours let’s send her on her way

My baby, my baby

Where are you tonight?

I am thirteen now and I have a friend who is nineteen

He says he loves me and he is everything I’ve dreamed

My baby, my baby

Where are you tonight?

Fourteen Mama and I am going to have a baby

I am not sure why everyone is calling me crazy?

My baby, my baby

Where are you tonight?

I am fifteen today  and they took away my baby

I am taking drugs sometimes that make my days all  hazy

My baby, my baby

Where are you tonight?

I am fifteen today and need money all the time

The police know me, but that part is not a crime

My baby, my baby

Where are you tonight?

I thought of looking for you today

Not sure why, I know that you gave me away

My baby, my baby

Where are you tonight?

Mommy oh mommy I am 19 right now

Trying to get better I just need help to learn how

My baby, my baby

Where are you tonight?

On a plane coming to you in PEI tonight

To find my roots and  try and make everything all right

My baby, my baby

I can’t believe I’m holding you tonight

Here I am Mom, and I think that now I will be alright

Now sit with me pretty  please, and just hold me tight 

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POST 21 – The Pine Cone

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POST 21 – The Pine Cone

Today the kids came in with a little pine cone and asked me what it was.  I took them outside and showed them the big Pine Tree in our yard and started thinking… wow like this wee little pine cone, these kids are going to grow and grow and be big strong men.  Then I thought what if this pine cone had fallen on the road?  Would it still grow and I thought some pretty deep thoughts and wrote two poems.. one for today and one for tomorrow.   I hope you enjoy Post 21, it is for all the little children with a hope they land in a wonderful healthy environment that they can grow in.  Just like the pine cone.

Post 21 – The Pine Cone

By, Julie Pellissier-Lush

The kids brought me a pretty pine cone today

It smelled of Christmas I just had to say

What is it Mom they asked me

I could tell they really wanted to see

A pine cone is just like you

Tiny and small right now it’s true

And if you bury it in the ground

Very soon a treasure can be found

In a few years you be see

The beginning of a huge pine tree

For you little boys it is not just soil and sun

It is a lot of hugs and joy and fun

To help you grow just like that tree

Be a vision of beauty that I can see

The tree will grow branches

Your arms and legs will grow long

And as they grow they will get strong

Little pine needles will start to grow

You will get bigger ears and toes

You are like the pine cone children of mine

I know you will grow up and be just fine

You  will grow up to the sky

If you were given wings I bet you would fly

For the tree to be planted in a little glen

For you a house with lots of friends

With sun and rain and bright red earth

For you little boys, love and hugs right from your birth

My little ones, you are like the pine cone you found

I know this when I glance around

You will grow up so strong and fast

Being so little just doesn’t last

Because I know you were planted in the right place

Just like that pine cone we now call Grace

To grow and grow up from a seed

My little ones, love is all you need

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