Arts & Récits Autochtones - Push


2014 - Lauréat de récits

Suddenly, all the doubt he had Began to fade away The days of his hidden self Would have to stop today

Lisez l’histoire de Simone Blais

Simone Blais

Toronto, ON
Metis Nation of Ontario
Âge 17

Une note d'auteur

One re-occurring theme in metis history is hidden identities. I have witnessed it in my own family and in the many other metis families that I’ve come to know. Often, we find a distance between what we look like, what we feel like, and what’s in our blood.

For generations now, so many of the metis have looked white. And many of them chose to pass because it made life easier. I will never blame any of those who chose to pass because I can’t imagine the difficulty of the choice they had to make. For many metis, hiding their identity meant avoiding residential school. For others, it meant getting a job or living without discrimination.

But hiding who you are can come with a heavy price. There is a burden you must carry in knowing that generations of culture and wisdom will not be passed on. And there is a certain sorrow in having to lift up layers of shame and denial in order to find out who your ancestors were.

My story attempts to deal with this difficult choice. I am sure it is the story of many. It is the story of the inner conflict between who we feel like we are, what we look like we are, what our blood tells us we are.

Lisez la suite


Along the wide highway,

Push made his way home

His empty pockets sagging

A hidden burden making him moan


Somewhere in the darkness

He heard the sirens blare

The ring was fast approaching

But this time he didn’t care


He wouldn’t hide in the bushes

He wouldn’t even run

He knew this was as dangerous

As sticking out a thumb


As the car pulled up beside him

The young boy didn’t blink

The way the cop looked at him

He didn’t know what to think.


The cop smiled warmly

With a smile white and bright

“Let me take you home, son.

Looks like you’ve had a long night.”


He stepped into the car

And out of the piercing cold

“Where you headed?” the cop asked

With no intention to scold


The rez up the road, push answered

And the silence became heavy

The cop didn’t say a word

But he suddenly seemed unsteady


The wheels began to slow

As his heart began to quicken

The cop was pulling over

As Push’s stomach started to sicken


The cop turned around in his seat

And fed Push the words

Which he would have to eat


“Get out of my car, Indian.”

Said the man behind the wheel

Get out of my car, Indian.

Each word felt like a whole meal.


As a metis native he knew

That he could pass as white

But erasing his peoples history

Didn’t feel entirely right


Push remembered the first time

That he had been defined

Choose who you are, his teacher had said:

The savage or the kind?


How can I choose to be only half of my blood?

The young Push had asked

Without it I would probably die,

Fall to the ground with a thud!


The problem was that Push felt white

And Indian at the same time

He could not seem to understand

The colonizer’s paradigm


Now, ten years later

His teachers are not the same

But the choices that they left him with

Incessantly remain


Push remembered how he had searched

In the lake for a different perception

But instead, all he found in the water

Was his own reflection


Skin; as pale as a white rabbit’s fur


Hair; blonde like a wheat field


Blue eyes as sharp as the morning sky


“You could be white,” his reflection told him

European as can be

Forget about the other half

Your secret will be safe with me


As Push stumbled out of the car that night

He tried to remember what it meant

To be an Indian in this world

Without the constant torment


He put his hand to his soft cheek

And closed his eyes in pain

The shame of hiding one half inside

The other demon would always remain


He remembered the way his mother whispered to him

When she was scared he would be taken away

But as he began to recall her words,

They were whispered in ojibwe


What was the benefit

In being native today

It seemed to only get you disrespect

And fines you couldn’t pay


Why should I take pride

if it will only bring me pain?

When I say I’m native

It always seems to rain


Push continued to walk along,

Making his way back home

But he saw a girl up ahead

Who was sitting all alone


He came up to see

if she was doing alright

But her fearful eyes reminded him

That his appearance was male and white


Baakishin, he said

Open up to me, it’s alright

Although the language was familiar tongue

She looked like a house without a light


Anishinaabe kwe! he said

Claim this as your place

Stand up tall for who you are

Although you might be displaced!


Suddenly, all the doubt he had

Began to fade away

The days of his hidden self

Would have to stop today


Don’t you know who you are? He said

You’re a beautiful Indian girl

Don’t you know what that really means?

You’re an important part of this world


We protect the land and people

Extremely proud and strong

I don’t care what percentage I am

Ill be a metis lifelong


Hold your head up high! he said

Do not hide your face

Wear your colours on your shoulder

The blood you cannot erase


My blood does not divide itself

Like Moses parted the seas

Inside of me is a culture, strong

More than the eyes can see


Push took the girl’s hand

Who looked uncertain but intrigued

Then they stood up tall together

And together they believed

I come from a line of strong warrior men

And I will protect my people

But I can balance my love for the powwow

With my love for the church and the steeple


We cannot change the things

Which have been done and said

But we can change the future

And the things which lie up ahead


Although she was still quite shy

The girl began to sing

Soft at first, then growing

Like pushes on a swing


Waaay heya

Way heya heyo

Waaay heya

Waay heya hey hiyo


The strong woman song mingled

With the roar of the cars going by

And Push found in his throat

An ancient warrior cry


He would fight to be who he was

Although he looked so white

He would always hold his head up high

Singing the songs of his ancestors’ fight