Angels: 215 >, 1820 – 1979 “The Past is Always Our Present”


Photo: [File:Lakota moccasins, c. 1890 - Bata Shoe Museum - DSC00580.JPG|Lakota_moccasins,_c._1890_-_Bata_Shoe_Museum_-_DSC00580]

A cradle board hangs from a tree

A beaded moss bag is folded in a small chest

A child’s moccasin is tucked

Into a skunk Pipe bag

Children’s shoes in a ghost dance.

A mother clutches these

Palms held against her face

A river runs between her fingers.


A small boy covered in soot

On all fours a naked toddler

Plays in the water, while her Kokom’s skirt

Is wet to her calves.


“How tall are you now?” she asked.

“I’m bigger than the blueberry shrub,

Oh, as tall as an Aspen

Where my birth was buried.

See my belly-button?”


Each have dragged a rabbit to the tent, a tipi

Watched expert hands

Skin, butcher, make berry soup for dinner.

Boy falls a robin with a slingshot

He is shown how to skewer the breast

Roast the bird on hot coals.

He will not kill

Without purpose, again.


The tipi, tent, the log-shack are empty

Trees crane their heads through

The tipi flaps, the tent door

Through the cracks of the mud-shack.


A mother’s long wail from 1890

Carried in the wind. A grandparent

Pokes embers, a sprinkle of tobacco,

Cedar, sweetgrass, fungus, sage

Swirls upward.


Children’s creeks

Trickle in their sleep.

A blanket of deep earth

Covered fingers entwined

Arms around each other.


We have been



It is time to release

This storm

That consumes all this nation.

Awasis, this spirit-light, these angels

Dance in the flame.


The bones

Will share their stories.


Listen. Act.

These children are ours.

Could be……………………..Yours.


Copyright: Louise B. Halfe-Sky Dancer

Louise Bernice Halfe, is a Cree poet and social worker appointed as the new Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate in 2021







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