Colten

Today I grieve for my country.
I grieve for a family
that has not yet seen justice
from the moment a handgunned farmer
pulled the trigger and killed their son.
(why does a farmer need such a gun?)

I grieve for a mother
who saw the police
arrive at her house as though on a raid
and treat her like a criminal
and not like the victim she really was.

I grieve for those mothers
with empty arms
who think of their loss
at the hands of such others.
and the lack of the answers
that haunt them still.

I grieve for the youth
who now see no hope,
and whose hunger for justice
gives rise to an anger
that more and more turns
from a dangling rope
to a violence directed at them.

I grieve for the children
whose lives have embraced
an unwanted, dangerous, jeopardy.

I grieve for the elders
who’ve seen this before.
And whose wisdom will not be enough
to get all of us through this evenly.

I may grieve for some time to come.

But then to be true…
we have all been in grieving a very long time.
So long, it is part of our DNA

And so, this is why
No matter how hard we might try
we can’t “just get over it and move on”.
We all can easily say:
“My country won’t let me.”

About Senator Murray Sinclair

Ojibway Anishinaabe Inini Mizhanagheezhik (n’dizhinikaaz) Namiigoonse (n’dodem) Lawyer, Mediator, Public Speaker Currently Canadian Senator for Manitoba Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba (2001-2016) Associate Chief Judge off the Manitoba Provincial Court) (1988-2001) Co-Commissioner of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba) (1988-91) Paediatric Cardiac Surgery Inquiry Judge (1997-2000) Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2009-2015) Thinker, poet, writer, philosopher, speaker.
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54 Responses to Colten

  1. Restorative Justice Through a Sawbonna Lens.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Restorative Justice via a Sawbonna Lens.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lynda Younghusband says:

    A beautiful poem. We are grieving with you and Colton’s family too.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. elizabeth amer says:

    Many thanks for you beautiful and thoughtful poem. Liz Amer

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Terry Kelly says:

    Thank you for saying so eloquently, what so many of us are feeling. I am non-indigenous and feel shame. Sadness. Outrage.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Jeannette Roque says:

    So well said. I feel shame, sadness, anger and outrage.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Abdul Juma says:

    There are many that grieve with you today. As we have for such a long time now. It almost feels like all those promises made to you over the decades to ‘mend the fence’ have been just hollow words. To buy more time and to push justice further away. Sad, oh so sad indeed.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. agjorgenson says:

    Thank you for this lament and for the vision for a more beautiful and just world that is a seed within these words.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Doni Gratton says:

    Thank you for your usual calm, firm tone. I deeply respect the work you do, and appreciate how you lead by your actions and what you say.

    When I first heard about this tragedy on the radio a year and a half ago I was shocked, scared and very sad.
    Were all farmers like that? It didn’t sound like a safe place to be.
    Later, when I heard the police went to Colten’s home to question his mother and search for something I felt angry. What could they possibly find that would help solve this crime? His poor family, how disrespectful.
    I assumed his murderer would go to jail.

    What concerns me is that this sets a precedent for future altercations. Actually what concerns me more is that the precedent was set about 400 years ago. I just didn’t get the extent of it until now.

    I think since the TRC came out, and changes to education (in BC) were made, there are a lot more Indigenous friends and allies. With knowledge comes understanding.
    This verdict cannot go unchallenged.
    Reconciliation means moving forward together. Please accept my solidarity as I stand with you on this.

    Doni

    Liked by 3 people

    • Marie says:

      In October 2016 in Saskatchewan, two indigenous people murdered a white farmer, Alfred Wagner, and stole his truck from the garage on Wagner’s farm. It took the RCMP 24 hours to respond to Alfred Wagner’s murder. This is why farmers in rural Saskatchewan are scared.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you for your thought. It sounds like you don’t believe Gerald Stanley either when he says this was an accident, and that you condone the fact that he shot Colten Boushie in the back of the head at point blank range. It also sounds like you believe the two young people accused in the Wagner case are guilty even though they have not yet been convicted and await trial. Truth be known, farmers in Saskatchewan have lived in fear of local Indigenous people since before Saskatchewan’s entry into Confederation. That is why a Saskatchewan jury tried convicted and allowed the hanging of over half a dozen innocent Indigenous men for murders they had not committed in Canada’s largest mass hanging in the 1880s. That is why the Ku Klux Klan flourished there for so long and why white supremacists like Carny Nerland could literally get away with murdering Leo Lachance, an unarmed Indigenous man, by shooting him in the back. What happened to Carny? He gets RCMP protection and is whisked away. That is why Saskatoon police felt they could get away with their “twilight tours” (and did) for so long. It sometimes seems that Northern Saskatchewan is in the throes of an undeclared and invisible race war.
        I do not condone what happened to Mr Wagner, just as I do not condone what happened to Mr Boushie. What I like even less however is injustice, and the fact that the justice system in all its elements in Saskatchewan appears to deal unjustly where Indigenous people are concerned.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. susan sutherland says:

    The most moving and eloquent response I can imagine.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Gregg Hanson says:

    I am so very saddened when I read how disallusioned you are with our system. You have and are contributing so much to our country I am sorry when our country lets you down. I see so much good happening in the reconciliation process, but there are also disappointments. I think in terms of accepting the things I cannot change and trying to change the things I have control over or can influence.
    May the creator bless you and give you strength and courage for the difference you are making, in spite of many setbacks.
    Regards,

    Gregg Hanson
    Proud Manitoban and Canadian
    hansong24@outlook.com
    (204)889-7374

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Joanne Chambers says:

    Thank you for a beautiful poem in a very sad time.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. John Brennand says:

    Migwich (sp?)
    I have talked talked to your Honorary Witness, Ms Rogers a couple of times about the work of your Commission. The hope and promise of that work is dimmed, though not extinguished, by betrayals like this.
    When I heard of the events surrounding the death of Colten Boushie, my gut reaction was that Stanley would walk away from this. I was so hoping I was wrong. We, as a country, need to recognize our own failings and we all must be accountable. This miscarriage of justice shames is all, though all too many will happily portray as vindication. I only hope it doesn’t unleash a surge of violence directed toward all people of colour, particularly First Nations.
    Thank you for this. For all you have done. For all you will do in the future.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. D. Kagan says:

    I also feel very sorry for the Stanley family who have been under extreme pressure & probably spent a fortune to a defence lawyer. I really hope he did not mean to kill anybody – he was just sitting in his home minding his own business when a car load of teens with a tire so badly ripped up they were driving on the rim came onto his farm & perhaps (or maybe not) started up his ATV. In any event, there is no question they went onto another farm earlier in the evening intending to commit robbery. Our jury selection process needs some fine tuning but I am not as certain as one others that Mr. Stanley was the only person at fault here.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Monica Chavez says:

    Dear Senator Sinclair, I am glad that you will request changes to the justice system. What has happened in the case of Colten was an injustice. I sincerely hope you are successful in your demand.
    Monica Chavez

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Jackie Timothy says:

    Wow no truer words have been spoken. When they say get over it they should realize they say it was not my fault I didn’t do that but they have realize they benefited from what their ancestors have done for their benefit and our loss

    Liked by 3 people

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  21. Honey8 says:

    Salute to the writer! 🙌 That’s really an ideal poem. So true!

    Liked by 1 person

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  27. Jane Fritz says:

    Reblogged this on Robby Robin's Journey and commented:
    From the personal blog of Canadian Senator Murray Sinclair, former Chair of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a poem that speaks to the pain felt as we face the failings of our justice system with respect to the acquittal of the farmer who killed Colten Boushie. Everyone should read this poem and reflect on the many inequities in our society. How do we, the “grassroots”, help effect change?

    Liked by 1 person

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  32. Jatin Nanda says:

    Very well written 💫💫📌🎈

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Pingback: Colten — Mizana Gheezhik (Sen. Murray Sinclair) – Fash

  34. minoname says:

    Thank you for a beautiful poem

    Liked by 2 people

  35. colette renaud says:

    I cannot find the words.. so.frustratung. So sad. So familiar

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Lucky#28 says:

    I am very said about everything in this case … I am sad for Colton (may he rip), his family, and his friends. I am sad for the farmer who shot him – he will have to live with this for the rest of his life. I am also sad for main stream media and Canadian politicians for painting a picture that fits them best. May be public deserves more details on this … why Colton and his friends were there and what they were doing? Was he posing any danger to anyone? What is the official explanation for court ruling?
    It’s a touching poem, but what’s your point? Does race have anything to do here? People get shot and killed every day, it’s just not sexy enough to wrote poems about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In Saskatchewan, race and injustice are bedmates. In case you haven’t seen it, what I said to another reply was this:

      “… farmers in Saskatchewan have lived in fear of local Indigenous people since before Saskatchewan’s entry into Confederation. That is why a Saskatchewan jury tried convicted and allowed the hanging of over half a dozen innocent Indigenous men for murders they had not committed in Canada’s largest mass hanging in the 1880s. That is why the Ku Klux Klan flourished there for so long and why white supremacists like Carny Nerland could literally get away with murdering Leo Lachance, an unarmed Indigenous man, by shooting him in the back. What happened to Carny? He gets RCMP protection and is whisked away. That is why Saskatoon police felt they could get away with their “twilight tours” (and did) for so long. It sometimes seems that Northern Saskatchewan is in the throes of an undeclared and invisible race war.
      I do not condone what happened to Mr Wagner, just as I do not condone what happened to Mr Boushie. What I like even less however is injustice, and the fact that the justice system in all its elements in Saskatchewan appears to deal unjustly where Indigenous people are concerned.”

      So yes, this is all about race.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lucky#28 says:

        Thank you for your response. I am aware of mass genocide of Indigenous people that goes way back to Columbus days, and it goes far beyond Saskatchewan.
        I think everyone has a right to protect themselves and their families no matter what colour your skin is.
        What bothers me is that stories where race is involved are highlighted by main stream media. What for? To make a change? I don’t think so. I think it just starts racial wars. If they wanted to help, they should invest in to communities (build schools, help with job placement, or something like that) so that people have opportunities in their lives and don’t have to go into crime to support their families and themselves.
        All those stories sure sell papers, but talk is cheap.
        Speaking of racism … why is no one asking about Canada being a safe haven for former German Nazi soldiers? … why is Canada supporting a neo-nazi government in Ukraine? Are these topics not sexy enough to talk about?

        Liked by 1 person

  37. mayunga says:

    Justice shall prevail.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. This is so true and so heartbreaking ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  39. I am deeply touched by your powerful poem. You call all of us into community with your Spirit, your courage, your wisdom and your heart-embracing words of universal truth.I would like permission to re-post this on our blog at Heartspace, Transformative Life Writing http://www.write-away.net.
    With gratitude, Joanne Klassen

    Liked by 1 person

  40. one nation says:

    senator God will empower you and give you the strength to fight to justice
    thanks Mr senator

    Liked by 1 person

  41. cool I really enjoyed the poem

    Liked by 2 people

  42. Pingback: Colten — Mizana Gheezhik (Sen. Murray Sinclair) – Um Instante até a Lua

  43. annika says:

    Beautifully written. As a Canadian, I am sad and ashamed. I don’t like self-promoting like this but know that you are not alone. You can read my poem here: https://coniferesetfeuillus.com/2018/02/19/root-soup-for-a-tough-canadian-winter/

    Liked by 1 person

  44. stword4 says:

    US13/3987013 in jail too . who will have the future, if not the past that clutters us? We must make a useful choice.

    Liked by 1 person

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