Sunday, December 28, 2014


I heard this poem this year and I was struck by it. Growing up in Northern BC I knew about residential schools. I knew they were unhappy places, I saw the unhappy results of them on the streets of the town where I spent my childhood. During a recent trip home I was astounded at how separate the two cultures were, ours and theirs. Hearing the voices of First Nations men and women during this time of truth and reconciliation I feel there is so much work to do to. As westerners we cherish our heritage, going to great lengths to preserve pieces of the past in an effort to stay connected to it. We don't seem to offer the First Nations the same regard and they are fighting against the strong current of time that threatens to wash away many of their traditional ways. Maybe it is paternalist to suggest they need our help but I feel we can't stand by and let the culture collapse any further. I give you this.

MONSTER POEM – Dennis Saddleman

I hate you residential school, I hate you,
You're a monster,
A huge hungry monster,
Built with steel bones. Built with cement flesh,
You're a monster,
Built to devour innocent native children,
You’re a cold-hearted monster,
Cold as cement floors,
You have no love, no gentle atmosphere,
Your ugly face, your monster eyes glare from grimy windows,
Monster eyes through evil, monster eyes watch and terrify children, who cower with shame.

I hate you residential school, I hate you.
You’re a slimy monster, go away you’re following me wherever I go,
You’re in my dreams, in my memories, go away, monster, go away,

I hate you, residential school, I hate you.
You’re a monster with huge watery mouth, mouth of double doors,
Your wide mouth took me, your yellow-stained teeth chewed the Indian out of me,
Your teeth crunched my language, grinded my rituals and my traditions,
Your taste buds became bitter when you tasted my red skin,
You swallowed me with disgust, your face wrinkled when you tasted my
strong pride,

I hate you residential school, I hate you.
You’re a monster.  Your throat muscles forced me down to your stomach,
Your throat muscles squeezed my happiness, squeezed my native ways,
And you throat became clawed with my sacred spirit,
You coughed and you choked and could not stand my spiritual songs and dances,

I hate you, residential school, I hate you.
You’re a monster,  your stomach upset every time I wet my bed,
Your stomach rumbled with anger ever time I fell asleep,
Your stomach growled at me very time I broke the school rules,
You didn’t care how you ate up my native culture,
Your veins clotted with cruelty and torture,
Your blood poisoned with loneliness and despair, your heart was cold,
You put fear into me,

I hate you residential school, I hate you.
You sqeezed my confidence, squeezed my self-respect,
Your anals squeezed me and then you dumped without parental support,
Without life skills, without any moral character, without individual talents, without a hope of success,

I hate you, residential school, I hate you.
You’re a monster.
You dumped me in the toilet and you flushed out my good nature,
My personality, I hate you, residential school, I hate you.
You’re a monster.
I hate, hate, hate you.

Listen to Dennis read this poem.
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