This piece talks about the legacies of Residential School, of fractured communities, of a culture that is still here despite concerted attempts to destroy it.
We see the effects of colonization on our women, our children, and the toll it has taken, the waste of life and potential.
But sometimes we forget our men.
In many cases they are thriving, healing. This is not about those men.
In many other cases they are imprisoned in jails of concrete and steel.
They are also in a prison of the past, of the cycles of violence, abuse and addiction.
We blame them for being poor fathers, for not being there.
They’re not there, neither physically nor in spirit. Their spirit is a pained thing, a maimed thing, trying to fly.
I spend a lot of time focused on the issues faced by indigenous women and children because they’re the most vulnerable and sometimes forget that the men can be the most lost of all (while expected to be the strongest of all – and derided when they are not).
Details of the work:
The light of the Creator above has been replaced by manufactured light. The white bird of peace sits above, a raven for these times, a symbol of coming change.
The city ever looms in the background, beckoning in a promise of a better life, but those yellow lights can also contain rejection and the brutal reality of life on the streets.
A symbol of the cross stands haphazardly to the side. It waits as it has, lo, these many years, for the man to take his place – to finally die and allow himself to be sacrificed for Progress.
And yet the man has found something, perhaps.
A way to live in two worlds.
A way to honour the Land and stand naked, vulnerable, open. He is transformed into a creature of many places and maybe, just maybe, he will find a path for us all.
This piece is for all the lost fathers who are on lonely roads. This piece is for those who are so hurt and broken that they break everything they touch, like Midas in reverse, never being able to hold and gently cherish before the curse rises once more and it all turns to ash.
This piece is for the men who are monsters.
There is redemption for us all, somewhere along the line. I can’t say when and where for you. I can’t say how.
For some it will never be in this life, I realize that.
But for others, you can find it if you can find that small bit of light you know is there and hold to it. Hold fast.
Let the light of the Creator in.
I know it’s risky. I know it feels weak, like giving up.
I know it might not stick.
But stick with it.
That’s true strength and in your deepest place you know it.
It’s okay. You’re not alone.
And come back.