inspired by Cree Girl Explodes the Necropolis of Ottawa—Billy Ray Belcourt
If I were to write a novel about a Cree girl, people would probably think it was autobiographical even though the book will clearly state fiction. My first instincts will tell me to send her back in time and write her into a murderer, a savior, a hero for all the future NDN girls who would someday lose the battle of their lives to white men employed by the ideologies of the settler state. But then I would think about all the times I wished and prayed to be soft. I would be reminded of how the world never granted me access to softer parts of myself. I would be reminded that history tried to condition me to look at the world in a lacklustre way and make me believe I was just a resilient NDN. But Cree girls are so much more than resilient. We are all worth so much more than our resilience. I want Cree girls to know fighting does not have to be their destiny. If you want to fight, I want you to fight, I will help you fight. But Cree girls also need to know that it is not their duty to harden themselves. Being born shouldn't burden us with healing the scars left by a country that does not care if we live or die. The violence we experience, the trauma we inherited, should not dictate our lives. But I am not naive. I know many of us have spent years fixated on how to save the world, how to save our people, how to be unscathed by the fuckery. We try to walk through the world without letting them see us wipe away our tears because god forbid us be anything other than resilient. We are allowed to be fragile; we are allowed to be soft; we are allowed to lean on the shoulders of our loved ones when the world becomes too heavy to carry. I need us to remember that. I wish someone would have told me that when I was a child. So that's why I'm writing you this poem. If I were to write a novel about a Cree girl, I would write her into an NDN utopia 500 years from now. I wouldn't burden her with saving the world or her people. I would grant her access to all her states of being and give her the agency to choose whether she wanted to be resilient or soft.