Growing up in the watershed of Northern Ontario, Moosonee, James Bay to be precise,
Growing up I recall moments in time of standing quiet among tall reeds, feeling wind caresses out at the bay,
Growing up I knew no turmoils except for home and community filled with various emotions both good and bad,
Growing up as a teen invaded by puitarity activity changing my views as boys, parties and thrill-seeking entice.
Turtle Island, the land of the free, little did I know we were Who I Am,
Turtle Island, no idea then of North America’s Indigenous name,
Turtle Island, whose pace so slow for change is impeded now by greed,
Turtle Island, as children spoke gently to us through Mother Nature, did you hear her whispers in the wind?
Growing up my family moved around our neighbouring communities, three times we had to rise,
Growing up my relatives close were we as life unfolded our dreams became nightmares, bright skies turned to grey,
Growing up responsibilities as careers, families separated us from each other forgetting what we had,
Growing up alcohol and drugs’ destructive powers engulfed my people of James Bay, disempowered by vice.
Turtle Island, in High School, I learned was the land of the free,
Turtle Island, why then do I feel restraint, confined and treated with contempt?
Turtle Island, this anger deep in me from cyclone to tornado and now a hurricane,
Turtle Island, the government throwing money to our leaders and they fight over it like dogs over bones.
Growing up an educator I became, in rural and urban settings my career seemed concise,
Growing up deep thoughts torment each year as students graduate and each I know by name,
Growing up have I given them the best of Who I Am and have I helped them not to become prey,
Growing up as teacher love of language and cultural history, my true desire communicate with this computer device.
Turtle Island, our beloved Mother groans and moans as I from age and rage as resources deminish,
Turtle Island, formed over a billion years, destroyed by ‘economics’ in a few centuries,
Turtle Island, our four directions need to clasp hands and in the Circle of Life help Mother with her fight for Her Life,
Turtle Island, together shed our grieves, our resentments and with forgiveness become free.