Aboriginal Poets: Vera Wabegijig

Aboriginal poet Vera Wabegijig shares her poem, Hunting, a poem about overcoming obstacles encountered in life. Watch this inspiring poet combine her thoughts and personal experiences in verse.

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Transcript: Aboriginal Poets, Vera Wabegijig

(Music)

- Aaniin, Vera Wabegijig ndizhnaakaa.. Mkwa dode.. Mississauga minwaa Wikwemikong ndoojibaa.

Vera Wabegijig

- My name is Vera Wabegijig. I'm from Wikwemikong and Mississauga. I live here in Ottawa with my family. What I do in Ottawa is that I'm a writer, and also an artist and I work as a cultural programmer at Minwaashin Lodge.

Which poem are you sharing today?

- It's called Hunting. It has a lot to do with resilience and resistance and the reason why I wrote it was because I was thinking a lot about salmon how the salmon will teach, will give us teaching to help us, will give us insights or give us a way to overcome and to persevere, to live.

(Music)

- No matter what comes your way, no matter what the obstacles are, that you're still, the salmon will teach me to just overcome, and to keep on going no matter what the obstacles are and to also learn from those obstacles and to integrate them into my life and to just move forward.

Why did you become a poet?

- I started writing because I felt this urge inside of me and then the only time that I could satisfy that urge was when I sat down to actually put words on paper and then I felt a release, like something coming out of me so then I would just allow it to happen. After that I knew that that's what I … I don't want to say "should", but I felt like that was something that I needed to fulfill and to give back.

Hunting

A raven flies, wings with long blue-black feathers drifting on the wind

Currents under body and hovers in the air

Raven dives into the creek below that brims with sockeye.

A salmon leaps out of the water, with reds and silver arcs

Back fins wag and build a momentum, ascending further upstream

Bears with pigeon-pawed trot over with a swaying, heavy head, climb on top of rocks

Where the water flows and falls with mouth wide open

They bite the springing salmon, canine teeth pierce into the silver belly

Eagles swoop, massive wings slow the body down with talons wide open

Preying in the creek, rising with salmon in its golden grip

Yet the salmon move, push, and endure, through broken skin and hanging entrails

This gathering place is encoded in memory, bringing salmon home

This long journey that nothing can stop, not even eagles, ravens or bears

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