The sound of deep breaths as the wind is whistling softly beneath her feet
She listens to the sound of her calm heartbeat
The waves send a shiver down her spine as they reach the shore
She inhales softly and lets out the words no more
Resilience is the path that she wants to take
To be able to determine her community's fate
Her feet sink into the wet sand
She thinks of how to reclaim this land
The sun starts to shine ever so brightly
It is difficult for her to take the pain lightly
Resilience may lead us the right way
But it cannot change the light of day
The sun hides behind the clouds crying for help
For no one understands the way that they felt
Her ancestors hoped to create trust
But white settlers left them buried in the dust
Resilience is the way to rebuild the roots
As taking away Indigenous land has no excuse.
I wrote this poem to capture the importance of the land to Indigenous communities. Throughout this course, I learned that resilience is about standing up for what is right and connecting with our feelings to strive for just futures. It is crucial to state that I am a white woman. I cannot connect to the experiences that Indigenous peoples face. I recognize my privilege and position while writing a piece that discusses oppression in Indigenous communities. The importance of the language protectors instead of protestors that we reflected on from the film “Dakota Access Pipeline: Protectors not Protesters” with Kandi Mossett (2016) allowed me to gain knowledge of why protecting the land is crucial to Indigenous communities (Fusion, 2016). I understood the word protectors as a way of reframing the idea of fighting back and instead preserving the right to the land. Privilege is prevalent through society failing to recognize how Indigenous people connect to the land and how the stolen land from colonization has impacted Indigenous communities. By writing this poem, I reflected on the discomforts of acknowledging privilege.
I experience discomfort in sharing a piece that presents how my ancestors have harmed Indigenous peoples and how society continues to discriminate against Indigenous peoples today. Although there are discomforts in sharing this poem, I think it is crucial to begin the conversation of how to help advocate for Indigenous rights. Throughout this course, I have been able to reflect on how my privileges impact the position that I have in activism. Learning more about Indigenous knowledge has helped me to understand that reflection and connecting to the land is a great way to begin activism.
This course shows that tiny forms of activism can contribute to a broader understanding of a social issue and has allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of what activism means. Resilience is not giving up, protecting what is right, and reflecting deeply in connection with ourselves. While I am still discovering the answers to whether or not I can be considered an activist and what it means to be an activist, I am hopeful that someday I can confidently say that I have advocated for just futures.
Works Cited Fusion. (2016). Dakota Access Pipeline: Protectors not Protesters. Standing Rock. Retrieved March 31, 2023, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8Uwo6ZAEG4