Photo taken at Manitou Lake, Saskatchewan, Cree Territory
Written in honor of Niwiciwakan
[Words in brackets below are in Cree.]
Long ago, crying for a vision,
A Hawk landed on a tree
At arms length from my Fasting Place
Flew off to Sakastenohk [East]
I heard a voice,
“Now you are like this young Hawk
But soon you will be like us
And there were two large Hawks
Flying high above the snow peaks.
They spoke to my Soul,
My Ahcahk [Soul], which like them
Is both within and above
With the Ahcahkosak [Stars].
Did I ever become that Hawk?
I don’t know, but the vision has guided me
And the responsibility remains:
Live in a way the honors
The trust bestowed by
Nimosômak, Nôhkomak [My Grandfathers, My Grandmothers]
Of Many Nations,
Okâwîmâwaskiy [Mother Earth],
And my Nêhiyaw [Cree] family.
I grew under the light of Sâwanohk [South]
A tree with twists and turns
Some beautiful, some ugly.
Pahksimotahk [West] encouraged me
To release the old day
To sink into the dark unknown
Like the setting sun,
And there, like Maskwa [Bear],
To find my dreams.
I used to worry that Kiwetinohk [North] would notice me;
Life had brought enough tests,
Cold winds that froze my limbs
Though never my heart or spirit.
But now that my white hair matches his
Kiwetinohk and I will are old friends
And I don’t mind his gaze at all!