Lifting Hearts Off the Ground

Lifting Hearts Off the Ground: Declaring Indigenous Rights in Poetry by Lyla June Johnston & Joy De Vito.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples  is a powerful proclamation of the principles that should guide Indigenous-Settler relations around the world. Some call it a blueprint for reconciliation. Some say that, if taken seriously, it could help states and Settler societies repair significant historic injustices and reject present colonialism. Yet as a legal text, it’s not the easiest document to read or to imagine into action. In Lifting Hearts Off the Ground, two poets — one Indigenous, one Settler — come together to breathe life into the seemingly dry bones of the Declaration. And as we contemplate, wrestle with, and pray their words, we discover an invitation to renewed relationships with each other, the land, and Spirit.” (Goodreads) This was a very powerful book! Wonderfully written poetry from two different poets, each working from the same document as inspiration and as a guide to bring some ease to the understanding of the Declaration document. Always working towards recognizing the past and reconciling in the here and now…in the present.

Many of the poems struck a chord in me as I read them; only one will I share here:

The manifestations of many cultures

sit behind glass in museums.

Intricate beadwork woven with care

now labelled an artefact,

identified only by the

name of the Settler collector.

Fragments of ceremonies

separated from purpose

to act as teaching tools of the colonizer.

Viewers rush to the next exhibit,

learning their history.

Poem by Joy DeVito.

*My progress for this challenge is 12/13!!

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