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I’ve learned

How to not be afraid of the dark


That to speak in our mother tongue is to speak among ancestors


That a language is connected to the land and loss of language is a loss of roots to those lands  


That language can connect us but also be used against us


That as much as we have gained from the English language, it has taken so much from us  


That English is not ancient


That a few syllables of our mother tongue shared outside the home is precious


That my roots as a first-generation Chinese diasporic settler are not deep


That my roots are rhizomatic and so lead me on how to be on this land


That poetry is healing and a way to talk to the land, to ancestors, and even to each other  


That a land acknowledgment is a way to get directions  


That a land acknowledgment for a settler is also a way to get lost


That a land acknowledgment is particularly complicated in a virtual setting


That a land acknowledgement is not a replacement for a relationship or an act of reciprocity


That a land acknowledge does not mean much if there is no intention for land back


That prior to Fort Calgary, the land of Mohkinstsis was sacred and where the Tsuut’ina nation often camped


That that land is still sacred


That Mohkinstsis means Elbow in Blackfoot and refers to the river


That the river and land are sisters.


That challenging the commemoration of white faces in Chinatown is a six-year project that will lead to a lifetime commitment. [1]  


That Chinatown could have been the marketplace for the Tsuut’ina people when they came to the city


That it takes exceptional courage to move slow, be tender, and kind to yourself as much as to others because the way of everyday colonization will try its best to rob us of that way or life


That there is no turtle without a tail


That our mental health is intrinsically connected to our cultural history on colonized land


That all the trees in the city are male


That there are not enough safe spaces


That money is often meaningless.


That a lifetime of volunteering will lead you to a lifetime of friendships


That it takes generations of making friends to create safe spaces for the future


That a 2 spirited way of life is organic and needs to be fostered by the community with the strength and love of a mother


That sometimes witnessing the strength of others is enough to affirm it


That we each have our own dance


That it takes years to tell a story


That a story is full of knowledge


That a life can be given to telling stories


That we don’t always have to connect on similarities but can come together to witness our differences


That there is a willingness to share as much as to listen


That so much of our joy comes from sharing.

The video clip is of Annie's apartment and the view beyond her computer screen during the workshops on zoom.


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