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Misaskwatomina – Kevin Wesaquate

June 16, 2020
Stew Coles
A freshly planted Saskatoon sapling


a spoken word poem by Kevin wesaquate

Your words are powerful and my words are said. Your words are dancing to the new notes in my head. My words are like trees of autumn days like leaves that leave me in so different ways, while your words trickle out like a spring run-off. Your words bring new meaning and life, while my words have been sustaining me all these winter nights. Your words usher in summer heat and are vibrant and new, while mine still sit reflecting the cold days of a grey hue. I imagine your future an open land untouched by man while I harvest my own and try to understand. I envision a day when we could all speak your two languages.

The way of the nehiyawak poet naturally speaking naturally living naturally sharing metaphors and similes on hand drums near urban street corners. A place where nehiyawak own homes on side streets by nehiyawak owned businesses on main streets. And poetry is taught in native schools on Native tongues. Because your future is bright and nature has been known to change, because we would all be beyond prejudice and hate we would too busy trying our latest traditional fashions all up and down the block from ribbon skirts to ribbon shirts.

I imagine place where we trade in protein bars for pemmican where we could pick wild berries in our communities. Where diabetes doesn’t exist thanks to the medicine keepers and paleo diets, a place where our children could run free of gangs and crime, a place where young men let their hair out like warriors of the past in suits and ties, where beadwork is valuable and honored over gold and diamonds.

Where instead of our elders begging for change and suffering from homelessness we house them in the best of places. If a child only speaks their NEHIYAW tongue they are regarded as Royalty on these prairies.  I’m referring to you young Native poets I am honored to have been your teacher poetry. I am glad to know that you can go on practicing your new poetry skills in two languages as I only know one.

My belly is full and yours has yet to taste this world. Your spoken words fancy dance near my inner ear drum and swift to my heartbeat. Let your spoken words lead you, into the open wild. Don’t be afraid and don’t look back young native poets, because this is where I’ve made my stand.

Read about Kevin’s Misaskwatomina project here.

Watch a live performance of Misaskwatomina here.

Kevin ‘POETIK’ Wesaquate

Kevin is a spoken word poet and visual artist and is currently employed as a Multi-Disciplinary Indigenous Arts Leader at SCYAP. Kevin is the founder of Indigenous Poetry Society with hopes of building a larger community of spoken word artists. Kevin represented Saskatoon at the Canadian Individual Slam in Vancouver in April 2018 and once again in 2020, as well as representing “Tonight It’s Poetry” for the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in 2017 and 2018. He recently finished the Indigenous Fine Arts Residency in Banff Centre for the Arts, called ‘Ghost Days, Making Art for Spirit 2019’. 

‘His work has led to community initiatives like planting misaskwatomina (Saskatoon berry) shrubs by the river near downtown Saskatoon with a group known as Locals Only. This is an ongoing initiative which will see the continuation of 500 more plants being planted in July 2020. Moving towards a healthier community for Indigenous and all of Saskatoon Residents.

With many public speaking engagements, his aim is to always inspire the next upcoming artists, like the 1st Indigenous Poets Society Team who have competed at CFSW 2019. A collection of paintings that where created by Kevin Wesaquate still hang at the Saskatchewan Polytechnique Adult 10 & 12 building. Becoming community leader in Saskatoon he is from Piapot First Nation where he learned the value of a community. Sahkihitok (love one another).