"Warrior Women" by Jen Ten Bears

Woman with sign supporting chief Teresa Spence
Image: thestar.com

In writting about Idle No More movement I found this poem to be fitting. Chief Teresa did a hunger-strike in protest to the new legistlation that passed in Canada concerning the First Nations people.  Her hunger-strike lasted 6 weeks and came to an end with the meeting of Canada's prime minister to discuss the honoring of ancient treaty rights.  This beautifully written poem is in dedication of Chief Teresa Spence. This poem is co-titled: In Her Honor: Chief Teresa Spence. I was given permission from Jen Ten Bears to publish her work here. For more information about Chief Teresa try visitng:

http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/01/23/chief-theresa-spence-announces-end-fast-147192

http://colorlines.com/archives/2013/01/first_nation_chief_theresa_spence_hospitalized_ends_fast.html

WarriorWomen

Who will take a stand and walk with me?

Who will know this meaning of true sacrifice for that which we love?

What discipline shall I  leave for my grandchildren and their grandchildren?

How will I be remember when I walk into the sunset?

I shall walk with my head held high.

I am a daughter of the earth mother and a voice for my people.

I will walk my walk with dignity and truth that lives deep within me.

I will not be intimidated by guns, tanks, and harsh words.

I shall stand like the elders at the timber roadblock.

They knew the danger thay were in by sitting there protecting the forest.

And the elder women said we have a plan...

We will go first and then, you will folow our lead.

Can I offer you a cigarette? A blanket? A meal? A shoulder to lean on?

I will come find you where you are in the city streets.

I am a sister that loves you and is looking out for you.

I will offer you a cup of coffee, a meal, or words of comfort.

You didn't get here by yourself, all the trauma and dysfunction.

This took years and years of oppression and abuse.

No shame dear sister for being where you are right now.

All this can change, we just need to work on ourselves.

There is a memory that lives deep in your blood.

We need to remember where we came from and where we are going.

Can you hear the songs of old as we sit in silence?

The songs that tell us of our strength, our beauty, our courage and wisdom.

We have existed and have persevered through the wind and the rain.

This journey has been the longest walk through time and space.

And we have cried: We're walking home. We're walking home.

This is our land and the land of our ancestors.

We are the Warrior Women that walk in beauty and strength.

The Warrior Women of yesterday, today, and tomorrow...

We Are The Warrior Women.

 

Misha Averill is a senior at the University of Washington, majoring in American Indian Studies with a minor in Diversity. Her future aspirations include helping Native American communities through preservation of traditions, culture, language, and human rights. Misha has a special interest in Indigenous Rights and cross-culture interactions, and she hopes to attend law school for tribal government and Indian law.