Aboriginal Poets: Albert Dumont

Poetry allows writers to express their deepest and most intimate thoughts. After overcoming personal struggles, Aboriginal poet Albert Dumont decided to put his optimism and joy on paper. Watch this short video to listen to his story.

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Transcript: Aboriginal Poets, Albert Dumont

Albert Dumont ("South wind")

- My name is Albert Dumont and some people know me as South Wind.

(Music)

Which poem are you sharing today?

- It's called "The Path My Children Would Travel"

It's the first poem I ever wrote. It was 5 years after my sobriety began.

Where did the poetry come from?

- We come from a people who were poetic in their way. Like that's how they converse. It was natural for them to speak poetically. And they weren't trying to outdo each other as poets; I don't think there was even a word for poetry in the language of my ancestors. But just to give you an example, Chief Crowfoot for instance on his deathbed said

Life is the flash of a firefly in the night

The breath of the buffalo in the winter time

It's that little shadow that races across the grass

And loses itself in the sunlight

- So Crowfoot wasn't trying to be a poet. He was dying and that was just a statement that he made, but I'm using that as an example of how our people spoke. So poetry like that comes naturally to us. That's what I really believe. They really inspired me, the quotations of my ancestors and those old chiefs.

"The Path My Children Would Travel"

- This is the first poem that I wrote, in 1993. It was to acknowledge 5 years of sobriety. I put my tobacco down and I made a request to my ancestors to help me find the right words. And so the poem is called "The Path My Children Would Travel".

Year by year

I walked my trail of tears

My spirit slept

During my drinking years

Then one day

When I stood barefoot

On a road of gravel

It came to me

That I make the path

My children would travel

I asked myself:

Who has a life to be thrown away?

Who would want the hearts of their children to hurt some day?

The examples we set deserve no cries of cheer

When our spirit sleeps

Year by year

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