By Name…

13c9a-6a011571fbffc1970b0120a503572d970b-piI woke up this morning to Brooke Fraser’s “Crows and Locusts”. I don’t know why but whenever I hear it, I think of all the women who were murdered by Robert Pickton. I see a farm in my mind, and ghosts of women moving among the ruins and disappearing into the trees. It might sound gruesome to you, but when you begin to understand the level of violence against women in the sex industry, particularly indigenous women, songs that resonate cries from the ground begin to speak the grief that can’t be spoken out loud.

I think the line that haunts me the most is:

“…The rumble is low and the heat is high
Got a feeling that there’s rain out in the oil black sky
Gonna chase away the devil when that song does rise
Gonna (drum, drum, drum, drum) plead the blood, gonna (drum, drum, drum, drum) plead the blood…”

If you have ever seen a drumming circle, you’ll know how powerful it is. Maybe that’s the call to come and see… to have my eyes wide open… to know, acknowledge, believe and affirm that First Nations, Metis and Inuit women in Canada face highers rates of violence, abuse, and the reality of murder. Kerry Clare writes:

“But for many Indigenous people, as troubling as the vicious slaying was, the news was all too familiar. It was just one more tragedy among close to 1200 Indigenous women documented as murdered or missing in Canada—a disturbing pattern spanning decades.”

Angela Sterritt: The Legacy of Violence Against Indigenous Women in Canada

She lists the names of 977 missing or murdered indigenous women.

977.

No charts or graphs. Names. Beautiful, proud names. Names that need not only to be remembered, but be given justice and peace. Too long has their humanity been denied them, and too long has this legacy of violence been silently approved of. Racial dialogue leading to reconciliation is difficult (understatement of the year), but for long term healing, we must hear the voices of these names, listen to the voices speaking out now, and listen more still about how to lay down our violence against our indigenous sisters.

“Crows and Locusts” – Brooke Fraser, copyright 2010

It was the year the crows and the locusts came
The fields drank dry the rain
The fields are bleeding

“Daddy don’t cry, it’ll be alright”
She puts some water on the wound
And hums a little tune
While her courage puddles on the ground
Pooling, pooling

See the murder and the swarm descend
And the night is getting thick
The moon turning her tricks
She’ll betray you every time

It was the year the crows and the locusts came
The fields drank dry the rain
The fields are bleeding

It was the age the foxes came for the fields
We were bleeding as we bowed to kneel
And pray for mercy, pray for mercy

The rumble is low and the heat is high
Got a feeling that there’s rain out in the oil black sky
Gonna chase away the devil when that song does rise
Gonna plead the blood, gonna plead the blood

It was the year the crows and the locusts came
The fields drained dry the rain
The fields are bleeding

It was the age the foxes came for the fields
We were bleeding as we bowed to kneel
And pray for mercy, pray for mercy

She limps on up to the top of a mound
Looks at the faltered harvest
Feels her sweat in the ground and the burn in her nose
And the knowing in her guts something’s still gonna grow
She ain’t leaving ’till it does

What can wash away my sin
Nothing but the blood…
What can make me whole again
Nothing but the blood…

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