Marilyn Dumont

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Marilyn Dumont’s poetry has won provincial and national awards. She has been the writer-in-residence at five Canadian universities and the Edmonton Public Library as well as an advisor in the Aboriginal Emerging Writers Program at the Banff Centre. She teaches creative writing for Athabasca University and Native studies and English for the University of Alberta. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta.


Fiddle bids us

the first high call of the fiddle bids us dance
baits with its first pluck and saw of the bow
reels us, feet flick – fins to its lure and line
steady second fiddle stoking the fire below
our Red River jig and step-dance will witness
that we long kissed this earth with our feet

that we long kissed this earth with our feet
before the surveyors executed their dance
of lines and stakes at the corners to witness
the Dominion’s decree to leave just fiddle and bow
and no quarter sections to bury our relatives below
because we resisted the government’s line

because we resisted the government’s line
we will now dance and speak with our feet
our provisional council will guide us from below
their suffering and sacrifice renewed our dance
our single-minded celebration of the fiddle and bow
will contine for generations to be our witness

will continue for generations to be our witness
when politics and greed try to twist our lines
we’ll commence to jig to fiddle and bow
when the fiddler arrives we’ll vote with our feet
we, the improvident ones, proclaim our dance
to the ministers and lords who tried to set us below

to the ministers and lords who tried to set us below
our well documented petitions will be our witness
when Imperial powers elect to perform their dance
the “greasy rebels” and “unhung felons” will not fall in line

because the Métis forevermore will vote with their feet
now that the Dominion has left us with fiddle and bow

now that the Dominion has left us with fiddle and bow
who will call the dance, but our ancestors below
who have directed us to vote with our feet
drops of brandy and the Reel of Eight will witness
how we generated our own steps and lines
without permission from the National dance

dance bow line below witness feet