I did not begin to be when I was born,
      but much earlier,
      when my parents' generation began to dream of children
          and I was one of their dreams

      and when their parents' generation
      began to dream of grand children
          and I was one of their dreams

      and when their grandparents' generation
      began to dream of great grandchildren
          and I was one of their dreams

      and so on back in time
      each generation emerging in a birch-bark canoe
      from the soft mist of the North Saskatchewan River
      at dawn

      and so on it will go
      each generation disappearing in a birch-bark canoe
      around the next bend in the life-giving river
      at sunset.

      I honour the ancestors who took their turns
      preserving the decorations on the canoes and tepees
          so I can be who I am
      I honour the ancestors who took their turns
      preserving the dances and costumes and drum-songs
          so I can be who I am
      I honour the ancestors' dreams
        one of which is my child
          one of which is my grandchild
            one of which is my great grandchild

      and so on for as long as the waters flow
      from the mist to the bend in the river
       
      and though the ancestors' view is blocked
           (for a while)
      by bridges and buildings
      and their peace disturbed
           (for a while)
      by the roar and stink of traffic and ball games
      and a power plant

      if we respect ourselves
      we will respect their sacred burial place

      beneath the bluffs beside the river

      looking upstream in time
      and downstream in time

      and preserve this place for
      those we create in our dreams-
      those for whom we are the ancestors.

      August 2000

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