Sh … Sh … don’t cry … your father will be back soon … I am hungry too … today is the day they will sign the Gah hala’s treaty … today the pipe will be smoked and everything will change … there will no longer be emptiness in our bellies. They say they will protect the buffalo if we agree. They made the promise the police will help us … they will look after the women and children and keep us safe. Things are going to change soon. Everything will be plentiful again and we will walk together with the newcomers. We will share the land with them and we will teach them our stories and our songs and they will teach us theirs. We cannot stop this change. Sh … please don’t cry … you are going to grow up to be a strong warrior and you will speak of the days when the change began. We will always be here, my son … we will always be here … don’t cry … the change is coming and we will always be here …

I’m still here … I’m still hungry … I need change … do you have any change? I don’t want your pity, I want your change. What? What are you looking at? Just acting right good. Don’t you look down on me … I know who I am!! My great grandfather signed the treaty of this land! Do you know who you are? I don’t need this. I don’t need anything. I just need … I just need my babies … my babies … where are my babies!! You!! You took my babies you son of a bitch! My babies … I just need a light … you got a light? What, do you want me to dance for you? I’ll dance for you!! Ahhhh, just kidding. Please … give me some change.

So that you know … the history of this land. Hear the songs that are held deep in this land. Ask me questions about who I am, about who my parents and grandparents are. I want to mean something to you … something more than western movies and alarming
statistics you read in your newspapers. Our young people are rising up … now is the time for them to feel proud of exactly who they are. They will stand up and use their voices. Education is the new buffalo. Let go of any stereotypes you may have held about my people. I don’t want you to be afraid of me … I don’t want to be afraid of you. I want to feel protected by the police. I do not want broken promises. I want the truth. I need for us to talk. I need you to hear me. I am survival … I am connected to this land by the very being of who I am, by the songs that flow through my veins as long as the sun shines and the grass grows and the water flows. I am respect, and I am here. You are here and we will always be here. I want you and me to see each other as human beings. I want change.

~ Michelle Thrush

Michelle Thrush is a Gemini award winning screen actress (Blackstone), who has also appeared in Arctic Air and North of 60. She is a tireless supporter of youth education and arts, a promoter of First Nations rights and culture, and the proud mother of two daughters.

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