• Nisha


Presented to City of Edmonton Council on May 17, 2021.

Poetry is political because it is preoccupied with people. – Amanda Gorman

Sir Winston Churchill wrote of my Indian ancestors that

we were “a beastly people”

after his government looted my motherland’s wealth,

the Queen still wears her stolen jewels.

Churchill engineered concentration camps in South Africa and called it “great fun”

he swore there would “not be a Japanese left on the face of the earth”

he crushed resistance in the Irish and stole land from Kenyans

he had an insatiable appetite for “glorious, delicious war”

for 12 years of public school I swore on a true North

free of influence or intimidation

and yet on paper we are subjects of a historical and present empire

continually committing genocide in the name of dominion

your Worship, today is my 29th birthday

and I have lived through hatred, racism, and discrimination.

but at the end of my life, my children will know what I stood for and what I faced

they will fight for no one to endure historical and present denigration

at the age of 29, Lillian Shirt raised a tipi in view of the Mayor’s Office

on Treaty land and lived there for 12 whole days.

she protested anti-Indigenous prejudice in the very place

we hold candlelight vigils that should burn in an endless blaze.

Winston wrote that he did “not admit,

that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians”

to Churchill we gave sainthood and Nobel Laureateship

and to Lillian we denied housing and cemented meridians