My Response to Mary Black’s ‘I Will Not Be Quiet’
My heart aches when I listen to Mary Black’s poem I Will Not Be Quiet. There isn’t much I can say to do it justice. It’s much better if you take a few minutes to listen to what she has to say. I urge you to give it the time it warrants.
Canada’s historical treatment of First Nations people is tragic. Mary Black gives us a glimpse into the nightmare it’s created for so many. Her poem won’t let us escape the reality of our shameful past and the injustices that still need to be addressed. Whether it’s the violence against women and children, the inadequate access to water and equal healthcare, poverty, the painful legacy from residential schools, land issues, the unresolved cases of missing aboriginal women, or the myriad of other valid problems facing First Nations people we cannot underestimate the scope of all that needs to be done to bring healing and restitution.
I hope Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission findings will prove to be a landmark development that brings healing to our aboriginal brothers and sisters. I’m encouraged by the positive changes in the approach of our new federal government towards addressing First Nations issues. But ultimately, change and healing will only take place if the people of our great nation refuse to be quiet. We must listen to the voices like Mary Black’s. We cannot pretend that all is well. The First Nations voices need to be heard, and we need to join them in crying out for justice.
When you have an opportunity to echo the cries coming from our First Nations people do so. Take the time to share the stories you hear about. Take the time to write your member of parliament. Take the time to sit with a First Nation person to listen to their story.
Thank you Mary Black for not being quiet. May we honour your voice with our own.