Our Name

oski-pimohtahtamwak otayisīniwiwaw (Nehiyawak)
oski pima ci-owat ici ki-kay-dam-o-win-ing (Nakawē)
wana oicimani tecawosdodyē uncumpi (Dakota)
they are into their new journey to knowledge (English)

Friday, January 19, 2018

I Hear You and I'm Here to Help You

I Hear You and I’m Here to Help You
by Michael Starr-Desnomie
The day that Meredith Newman came to visit BFCHS, it was an honor to meet her finally. She was Corey O’Soup’s assistant and she came all the way from Saskatoon. She came a long way to meet us. When I first met her I thought she was going to be short, but when I looked up, she was taller than me. I felt short. My classmates and I shook her hand and said our names.

I spoke with her on the phone about two or three weeks before. I had told Miss.Koops when I was reading the book’  Shhh… Listen We Have Something to Say Youth voices From the North that I couldn’t get through the first four pages because of reading and learning a lot of indigenous kids are needing help.

Young kids committing suicide had a lot of impact on my heart. I was shaking. I was hearing all of those kids’ voices saying, “Michael help me.” I couldn’t sit down, not even for a minute. I needed to talk to somebody about it ASAP.

When I went to tell my teacher she said, “You want me to call somebody for you?” Because of what I had read in the book I wanted to take action as soon as possible. Miss. Koops phoned Meredith, so that I could talk to her and say what I really needed to say.

When I was talking on the phone with Meredith I told her that mostly, what I really want to do, is to help every single kid and youth from the north. I heard their voices and I’m willing to help them until the day that they cremate me.

I will be watching over them and telling the creator to send his best warriors down to earth to help our people. When Meredith came to see us I told her that I have some ideas that can help the kids from the north to make them go on the right path not the dark path, because the creator made us for a reason. He gave us all gifts that we don’t know about, that we have to find out for ourselves.

They have to remember what runs through their veins. Their ancestors are always here to help as well. They can go to sweats to speak to an elder, to tell them what’s going on, so they can help them heal and make them better. They can go to ceremonies to make them who they really are on the inside and find who they can really be.

These kids need our help. I will do everything and anything to help out the kids from the north even if it takes my last breath. When I was talking to Meredith in the culture room I was telling her about the time I read my poem.

The very first time on Orange Shirt Day and that I got invited to the Saskatchewan School Board Association (SSBA) and told her that it went viral, but I was mostly talking about the book, that I wanted to help with and help every single kid. I told her that kids don’t deserve the things they’re going through. I know how they feel and I know their pain.

I’ve been through it as well. I battled my demons. I tried to fight it alone, but I couldn’t do it by myself. I needed help. I told my family and my parents, but I didn’t tell them in the first 3 to 4 years it was happening, and each year it got worse and worse. My mom asked my moshum if she, my mom, could make a sweat and she did. She went to get cloths and tobacco for it. My mom did a lot for me and I’m very thankful for that.

I told Meredith that I went through the same things like those kids and that’s why I wanted to take action as soon as possible. No kid deserves to be left out when they need help and I will always be here for them because I’m not going anywhere. I take good care of my people and will always always be there for them. I’m not going to let any kid be left out and I will help them until the end.

I hear their voices and I’m willing to do anything for them. I am telling everything that was in my heart to Meredith. It was a good feeling to tell her what I can do to help even just telling stories that I heard from an elder. I told her about the animals’ nature, things she hadn’t heard of. She was surprised. She helped me by hearing every single word that I was saying that can help with this book and for the kids from the north.

When Meredith was about to leave I gave her tobacco that I used to bless the food with. I gave it to her and told her, “I want to give you this tobacco for you to return to your home fire and loved ones.” She was almost crying because she hadn’t got something as special as that before.

When she went out the door I prayed for her and for a safe trip back home. I also prayed to my thunderbird brothers to guide her safely back to her home fire. It was an honor meeting her and speaking heart to heart with her.

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