Kanata: Appropriation or Erasure?

Caroline Nepton Hotte
One word resembles you
Two words speak to you
You are silence
Mute, you have so much to say
I listen to you
You tell
Of the drum
My heart
Is uneasy

Let us talk
— Joséphine Bacon, A Tea in the Tundra: Nipishapui Nete Mushuat.1 1 - A Tea in the Tundra: Nipishapui Nete Mushuat, trans. Donald Winkler (Markham, ON: Bookland Press, 2017), 72.

There is tension in this short poem by Joséphine Bacon. Listening and being heard. Speaking or being condemned to silence. “Mute, you have so much to say.” The silence evoked in the poem, to my mind, echoes a set of colonization processes ingrained in the societies of Canada and Québec, within politics and institutions such as schools, the media, healthcare, and child welfare services — processes that impact Indigenous women, in particular. An invitation to talk has been issued by Bacon. But has it been heard?

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This article also appears in the issue 97 - Appropriation

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