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?

You must have a valid Digital or Premium subscription to access this content

Subscribe to Esse now to read the full text!

Subscribe
This article also appears in the issue 97 - Appropriation
Discover

Suggested Reading