Symbolism and Expression Additional Reading

Marilyn Dumont

Marilyn Dumont, a Cree-Métis poet who was born in Olds, Alberta is a descendant of Gabriel Dumont, a Métis leader during the 1885 resistance. In her prose poem, "It Crosses My Mind," she asks where Métis people fit within Canadian Culture. She questions whether it is only a matter of time before young Métis people become assimilated into non-Aboriginal cultures.

It Crosses My Mind

It crosses my mind to wonder where we fit in this "vertical mosaic," this color colony; the urban pariah, the displaced and surrendered to apartment blocks, shopping malls, superstores, and giant screens, are we distinct survivors of the "white" noise, or merely hostages in the enemy camp and the job application asks if I am a Canadian citizen and am I expected to mindlessly check "yes," indifferent to skin color and the deaths of 1885, or am I actually free to check "no," like the true north strong and free and what will I know of my own kin in my old age, will they still welcome me, share their stew and tea, pass me the bannock like it's mine, will they continue to greet me in the old way, hand me their babies as my own and send me away with gifts when I leave and what name will I know them by in these multi-cultural intentions, how will I know other than by shape of nose and cheekbone, color of eyes and hair, and will it matter that we call ourselves Metis, Metisse, Mixed blood or Aboriginal, will sovereignty matter or will we just slide off the level playing field turned on its side while the provincial flags slap confidently before me,  echoing their self-absorbed anthem in the wind, and what is this game we've played long enough, finders keepers/losers weepers, so how loud and how long can the losers weep and the-the "white noise" infiltrates my day as easily as the alarm, headlines and "Morningside" but "Are you a  Canadian citizen?" I sometimes think to answer, yes, by coercion, yes,

but no....there's more, but no space provided to write my historical interpretation here, that yes but no, really only means yes because there are no lines for the stories between yes and no and what of the future of my eight year old niece, whose mother is Métis but only half as Metis as her grandmother, what will she name herself and will there come a time and can it be measured or predicted when she will stop naming herself and crossing her own mind.