First published in Rungh. Used with permission. http://rungh.org/primary-colours/
And we continue to walk. Taking time to go to our medicines. To speak to our teachers. We do our ceremonies. And we continue to walk. We see the medicine, but we don’t touch them. But we know they are there. We see the ceremonies. But we don’t go to gather. We just continue to walk. To go. Knowing that all the medicines and teaching are there. Have I taken the medicine for granted?
I get tired. I forget to go to medicines. I forget about the bear and I lose track. I lose faith. I go back in the dark place. A haunting place where I forget everything that I should be grateful for.
And I enter…with an aching belly, a sick creature who was created by unnatural beings. I do not know who I am when I am in this place.
I am in a bathtub not wanting to live in a time in my life that I thought I was ok. That I was strong. Be careful the bear says. Why am I here in this bathtub, in the darkness, feeling numb and thinking about hurting myself?
I am tired-I want to sleep. I am tired just thinking about how hard it is going to be to dig myself out of this place again. Let me sleep. Take me to the stars. Take me.
No! No! No! Stop…Stop….
Momo, meme (Grandparents), my family, all you that watch me. Who can see behind closed doors. My struggles. You see me fighting. Momo, Meme, all that see my dreams. Help me. I need help. I need your help. I am so tired. I am so scared right now. This dark place changing my heart. The dark place is making me weak. But I feel stronger… because if I am praying to you. So, there’s got to be some will for me to be here. Tell me my purpose why I am here. If you told me before I am sorry- but I have forgot and I need to be told again. Please tell me my purpose. My family. The spirits around me. I am listening. Please tell me why I am here and I am not with you. Please tell me what I need to do here to be there with you. Please tell me, I will try my best to do the work that I am meant to do. I will try my best. I am ready. I am ready. I am ready…
.(Ancestor whispers possibly overlapping song)
Story from : Scene 14: Taking medicine for granted
Finding Wolastoq Voice, Playwrite by Natalie Sappier (Samaqani Cocahq)
She came to me down from the ancestoral sky. My teacher. Powerful as ever,Sagatay. “You are living your purpose.” She said. “You have been doing the work you need to do all this time. Continue to share the stories in anyway that you can. You have to learn from the teachers of the lands. This land you were born from. Share them through storytelling many people can learn from. Share these stories through painting, writing, speaking, song and dance and travel with them. We have stories we need to share with our brother and sisters from all directions of the earth. And they have stories to share with you. You need to bring their stories back to the people. You see, our earth is hurting. We are hurting. Our spirits are hurting. We need to save the human spirit.
I am afraid to fail you I said. I am afraid this is to much for me. No, she said. Just be around your teachers. Keep doing what you are doing. Keep care of your heart and spirit. Eat well. Take care of your body. Be around your teachers and the like minded. Continue doing what you are doing.
My talk with Sagatay 2012
This is a powerful circle. Look at all these beautiful people. The languages. The beautiful languages. I’m not sure what is to come out of this gathering but so honored I am to be invited my dear friends France and Chris. I know that I am in a safe circle. I know that there will be new knowledge offered to me to put in my spirit bundle. My spirit bundle. Write or draw something on a stone and wrap in this bundle they told us. Wolastoq (My people) is what I wrote. Wrapped it up and placed in the center of the circle where the other bundles kept warm together for the next few days.
The chants. The laughter. The cries of joy. The prayers. I am still not sure why I am here. I have a hard time sitting for so long. My feet keep moving. I am restless. Be present I say to myself. Be present. My eyes closed while the drum played the opening song. I felt a light hit my face and I opened my eyes and I seen a white bear dancing above us. Roaming in the circle. And I smiled. Sagatay. She comes in as white bear, she brought me here. I smiled. My heart warmed with comfort. I am here. I made it to the place of human spirit. I am in a circle with people from all directions of earth. The stories are here in spirit and in heart. I didn’t have to pack my bags and travel country to country. The stories are here within these lands and waters across the nation. I am here!
I felt home. I saw home within everyone and that feeling-freed me from thinking that I wasn’t doing enough. That my stories and our language were not being heard enough. My voice was not loud enough. It humbled me. The gathering opened my heart. Opened love. My thoughts changed. My words changed. Our language is being lost -The languages are being lost. Our traditional ways of our people are being lost-The traditional ways of many people are being lost. People are not listening to what my Indigenous People have to say-People are not listening to what my Indigenous Families need to say.
On the last day of the gathering they asked us to pick a bundle from the middle of the circle and bring it home. I reached for the bundle and I held it close. Looking around at all the beautiful I have met. How I am going to miss them. So grateful in knowing them. I opened the cloth bundle where the stone was keeping warm. Unity. Unity is what was written on the stone with an image representing all directions of earth. I smiled. I cried. I home. The stories are here.
Natalie grew up in Tobique First Nation, New Brunswick. She began as a visual artist, inspired by ceremonial teachings, language and surroundings. The roots of her painting and designs came from the traditional motifs that she would see on regalia and birch bark etching as a child. Painting is a way of waking up sleeping teachings of her Wolastoq People that she felt needed to be heard-but now she feels that the stories need be louder than her painting can speak. Natalie is currently finished her first play “Finding Wolastoq Voice” which will also include original music created by the artist and will is part of Theatre New Brunswick’s touring season with a visit to Toronto’s Native Earth Performing arts centre. Although today, Natalie is exploring with performance based art she will always continue to paint and navigate creativity through other mediums of expression. She has a passion for sharing stories and engaging with people through sharing of public works and workshops. Natalie is a storyteller, and she believes her purpose is to share the stories of First People of the lands and waters of New Brunswick for the history to be remembered-for the tradition and culture to continue and for the relationship with all we share lands hope to grow in unity.