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LETTER TO SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD

LETTER TO SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD

Poetry from the author of A Really Good Brown Girl.

Dear John: I’m still here and halfbreed,
after all these years
you’re dead, funny thing,
that railway you wanted so badly,
there was talk a year ago
of shutting it down
and part of it was shut down,
the dayliner at least,
‘from sea to shining sea,’
and you know, John,
after all that shuffling us around to suit the settlers,
we’re still here and Metis.

We’re still here
after Meech Lake and
one no-good-for-nothing-Indian
holdin-up-the-train,
stalling the ‘Cabin syllables / Nouns of settlement,
/…steel syntax [and] / The long sentence of its exploitation’
and John, that goddamned railroad never made this a great nation,
cause the railway shut down
and this country is still quarreling over unity,
and Riel is dead
but he just keeps coming back
in all the Bill Wilsons yet to speak out of turn or favour
because you know as well as I
that we were railroaded
by some steel tracks that didn’t last
and some settlers who wouldn’t settle
and it’s funny we’re still here and callin ourselves halfbreed.

From: A Really Good Brown Girl, Brick Books, 1996.

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About The Author

Marilyn Dumont

An award-winning writer of Cree/Metis ancestry, Marilyn Dumont's work has been widely published in literary journals around the world. Marilyn's first collection, A Really Good Brown Girl, won the 1997 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award presented by the League of Canadian Poets. This collection is now in its 11th printing, and selections from it are widely anthologized. Her second collection, Green Girl Dreams Mountains, won the 2001 Stephan G. Stephansson Award from the Writer's Guild of Alberta. That Tongued Belonging, her third collection, was awarded the 2007 Anskohk Aboriginal Poetry Book of the Year, and the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year. Marilyn has held several positions as Writer-in-Residence at academic institutions and currently teaches Creative Writing at Athabasca University. In 2008, she was Writer-in-Residence at Edmonton Public Library. Marilyn is currently working on her fourth manuscript in which she explores Metis history, politics and identity through her ancestral descendant, Gabriel Dumont.

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