From Time Immemorial

Ashley Hynd

                           The time is now

crisis: a time of great difficulty trouble or danger a time
when a difficult or important decision must be made
the turning point of a disease when an important
change takes place indicating either recovery or death

                             we are here

the moment when the white and black cars roll in the
body vests the bullets the shields the blood as it runs
the depths of the St. Lawrence Kaniatarowanenneh
Kahnawáʼkye Wedzinkwa Wa Dzun Kwuh and we have
been here and we have been here and we have been
here and

                         we are here again

injunction unceded while they are dancing words
on broken tongues drummed language of history
new face new government new words new lies
Oka Gustafsen Ipperwash Caledoni Clayoquot Burnt
Church Elsipogtog Muskrat Falls Gidumt’en we have
been here and we have been here and we have been
here and

                         we are here again

complaining for nothing getting everything for free
living the life while the rest of you work yourself to the
bone so we can be here and be here and here and be
here and

                       always end up here

at the difficult troubled danger screaming help us
decide if we all live or die because we have been here
and we have been here and we have been here and
we are

                          here again


Author Statement:

I wrote this poem the day Gidimt’en was taken by RCMP. My daughter was home ill from school, so we watched it all as it unfolded, including seeing painful ill-informed options and backlash spread across social media.

I was taught by my mother as she was taught by her mother and her mother before her, that we are only ever as good as our support, and that we must make space in our hearts for others, to support them so they can be in a good way. This is what the water protectors at Gidimt’en are doing, making space in their hearts to support canada in making better choices for all our children.

I am not from the Wet’suwet’en Nation, I am part of canada’s legacy, left nationless by this country’s history. Still, I have a responsibility to all my relations, settler and Indigenous alike, and all my relations are involved in this.

We are at the tipping point of history, within the seventh fire, and all of humanity needs to wake up, speak up, and do their part. We all have a responsibility to Wet’suwet’n and countless other nations because they protect life for all of us. We cannot sit by and say nothing anymore, do nothing anymore. We have to support the people who protect the water, protect the land, because we all need them to win this fight. We all need water and land to live.

Water is sacred. Water is life.

Ashley Hynd is a poet with mixed ancestry who lives on the Haldimand Tract and respects the Attawandron, Anishnawbe, and Haudenosaunee relationships with the land. Like many people with mixed heritage, she knows little about her history. Her writing grapples with the erasure of her history and is as much an act of reclamation as a call of accountability for what has been lost. She was longlisted for CBC Poetry Prize (2018), shortlisted for Arc Poem of the Year (2018), and won the Pacific Spirit Poetry Prize (2017). Her poetry has appeared in Arc Poetry magazine, Canthius, Room, Prism International, SubTerrain, and Grain, and is forthcoming in CV2

The contributor fee for this poem was donated to the Wet'suwet'en legal fund.

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