Mr. Speaker, poetry preserves the memory of our society. More than just a historical record, poetry preserves the feelings of those who live through historical events.
From the 1950s to the 1970s the Sayisi Dene of northern Manitoba were the victims of shameful treatment at the hands of the department of Indian affairs. Fully one-third of their people died from their forced relocation, an entire generation lost.
The poetry of Ila Bussidor captures the pain and loss of the Dene but also the strength and hope for healing. Today Ila Bussidor is the chief of the Sayisi Dene. She is leading her people in their fight for compensation. Her poetry speaks of night spirits, the spirits of those who died.
I dream of an eagle Forever coming to me with messages of strength Always in friendship and kindness. I touch the great sacred bird of spirit. He cares for me, each time I vision him. He lets me carry him. He gives me his sacred feathers. He walks with me. I am not afraid of him. I believe he is my guardian. The spirits of my father and mother Beside me in my times of pain.