Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

LRC Themed Issues

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The Literary Review of Canada recently announced that beginning in the new year, their submission policy will be of themed issues. Some of these themes will be poems on the elements—e.g. fire, earth, water, air, wood, poems inspired by food , among others. One of the first theme will be, poems from the margins, e.g. pieces from/about our prisons, reserves, North, rural areas, etc. When I saw this I began to wonder why it is that Canadians equate reserves with prisons (and perhaps even Indians with prisoners).

Places of confinement. Recently while watching CBC’s Power & Politics, where a discussion was taking place among the usual pundits on the Harper government’s new policy on crime and punishment, not detailed in the omnibus bill. And during that discussion by the talking heads, there had to be mention of Aboriginal people and their over-representation in the criminal justice system.

Reserves are places of segregation, that what they were created for and that’s what they continue to maintain. To keep two peoples apart. It is Canada’s version of Apartheid An archaic system leftover from when social Darwinism was accepted as sound science. Although during the fight to end Apartheid in South Africa, Canada seemed to led the way and yet here we are with our own system of Apartheid still in existence, reserves are Canada’s islands of desperation and poverty stricken past. Canada’s imagination, continues to see Native people in such a way. Along with reserves Canada gave the Indians religion, because it was cheaper than giving them an education, Canada gave the Indians reserves, because it was cheaper than giving them opportunity. Canada treated the Indian inhuman, because it believed that this was cheaper than treating them like human beings. I hope this LRC theme, poems from the margins, e.g. pieces from/about our prisons, reserves, North, rural areas, etc. will open our eyes to reserves that are an eyesore to this nation’s past. And I think that until we end the existence of reserves, Canadians will never really shake the shackles of colonialism.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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David Groulx

Award-winning poet David Groulx's most recent poetry collection, Rising with a Distant Dawn, is published by BookLand Press. David’s poetry has also appeared in over a hundred periodicals in Canada, England, Australia, Germany, Austria, Turkey and the USA. He lives in Ottawa.

Go to David Groulx’s Author Page