Poem by the Parliamentary Poet Laureate

Louise Bernice Halfe – Sky Dancer, Parliamentary Poet Laureate, composed the poem “Mary Simon / Ningiukudluk” in honour of Canada’s first Indigenous Governor General.

This poem is also available in:

  1. Cree

Mary Simon / Ningiukudluk

When she arrived from the womb
her father wrapped a seal-skin bracelet
on her small wrist. Her mother
sang softly into her ear her unfolding story
how she would walk through the storms
to bring life to her people.

Yester-year and today Mary Simon
has never forgotten the Arctic terrain
where she stumbled over boulders but
never fell. The inuksuks constant companions.
Her umiak rolled with the waves
while she paddled with a steady stroke.

She covered many territories
navigating with the stars
her ancestors beside her.
They have taught her reconciliation,
reciprocity, revitalization, restoration,
resurgence, resolution, resilience
and relationship.

The Governor General
has never forgotten.

In Cree, we say: ki ma mi hcih in an
You have made us so very proud.
We stand with you.

© Louise B. Halfe – Sky Dancer

Cree

Mary Simon / Ningiukudluk

kā-takosihk okosisimāwihk ohci,
ohtāwiya kī-wēwēkinamāk āhkikwayāni-kispison
ospiconisihk. okāwiya ohtawakāhk
kī-nistomik tānisi ta-isi-pimācihot
tānisi ta-isi-sāpohtēt itē kā-wāninākwaniyik
pimātisiwin ta-pētamawāt otayisiyinīma.

kayās ēkwa anohc, Mary Simon,
namōya wīhkāc wanihkēw kīwētin-askiy
itē kā-pāh-pisoskawāt mistasiniya, māka
mōya wīhkāc kī-pahkisin. iyinīhkāna māna wīcēwik.
otōt kāh-koskoskwāyiw
ē-mēkwā-sāh-sōhki-pimiskāt.

itahtwayak kī-āh-āsowiskāw
ē-natotamawāt acāhkosa ta-kiskinohtahikot,
otāniskotāpana ē-wīcēkot.
kī-kiskinwahamāk kwayaskastāwin
nīsōhkamātowin, waskawīnikēwin, kīwēnamākēwin
āpahkawisiwin, maskawēyihtamowin, sāsīpisiwin
ēkwa miyo-wīcēhtowin.

namōya wīhkāc ohci-wanikiskisiw
awa Governor General.

‘kimamihcihinān’ nititwānān māna kā-nēhiyawēhk,
mētoni mistahi kimamihcihinān.
kiwīci-nīpawimitinān.

© Louise B. Halfe – Sky Dancer

Cree translation: Jean Okimāsis and Arok Wolvengrey (with Louise B. Halfe)

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