I keep having the same dream. In it, I am running. My bare-feet are lightly falling upon the earth. Each step I take, in sync with the drum of my own heart. Only, it is not just my heart that I am hearing. It is the heart of an entire people. I can feel it in my bones and in my very being. The beat is loud, it is all around me, but I am not scared. I feel warm. I feel protected. I know, because, I am smiling.
I am six years old in this dream. My long, dark hair is braided, loosely, down my back. A wild Labrador flower is tucked in lightly behind my ear.
I reach up with my light brown hand to touch it. And then I stop and I glance back. My mother is lifting her basket to her hip, staring out at me, a seriousness in her stare.
She is telling me with her thoughtful eyes that it is okay for me to go on. She rests a hand on her swollen belly. A brother, father says. I continue on, glancing back only once more.
She is becoming smaller and smaller in the distance now and I run further and further across this empty field. I can feel her there with me but I can no longer see her. The sound of her heart is now in tune with all the others.
But I can feel her beat most closely connected to my own. In this dream, my mother is always there. In this dream, she never leaves me.
As I am running, I can feel it as my braid begins falling out of place. Loose strands of my hair are coming undone. In this dream, I am always chasing the sun. I keep running towards it.
But then, suddenly the clouds come out and it begins to rain. I like the rain, but I am getting wet. I want to turn back, and although, I know this land, I do not know where I am. I do not know in which direction I came from. How can this be? I stop. How can this be?
I can no longer hear the drum. I do not recall when I stopped being able to hear it. Did it get fainter and fainter? Did the sound all of a sudden stop? I can hear only my own heart. And now it is racing. My hair is soaking wet. I am dripping. I feel cold.
My hair is now black with wetness, and I watch as the flower falls to the ground. I move my hand to pick it up but it resists, becoming the weight of a thousand moons.
The flower still belongs to the earth, but I feel as though I do not. I watch in horror as my own brown hand slowly changes. I hold it out, staring at it. I am no longer the color of my people. My right hand is turning pale. I scream. I realize, once and for all that I have been lost.
And then I wake up. And I am living on a reserve. The water quality is poor. But what’s worse? I no longer hear my language.
And I feel instead a broken spirit forced upon us by the white hand of colonization.