sâkihitowin maskihkiy

nehi katawasisiw

tart & sweet
               purple                  sunrise
morning             moonlight
               places masquerading

inside stilted words     i will make for your feet            
               leather slippers
i will sew my heart                     
               into the seams
with drops of blood
like beads
to seal it


dark earth             in the outline of your jaw
generations          of Rotinonshón:ni
carved into the shape of the sounds
that slip           
from the curve
of your

i will fold myself into the creases of your slippers
i will pray medicine into their soles
& smudge the sun
into the marriage
of sinew & hide
that will cradle your feet
like the purple thunder
of my heart

nehi katawasisiw
nehi katawasisiw

nehi katawasisiw is muskego/anishinaabe on her mother's side (Opaskwayak Cree Nation) and nehiyawak on her father's side (Pihpikisis Cree Nation). She was born in Snow Lake, Manitoba and has lived in many places in the US and Canada. She dropped out of school in Grade Eight and later received her GED, which allowed her to enlist in the Canadian Armed Forces as a Gunner with the 18th Air Defence Regiment for three years. She was sentenced to four months at the Lethbridge Correctional Centre in 1995 where she was struck by the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the prison system. This experience helped shape her professional aspirations and personal politics. katawasisiw holds an AA degree in Creative Writing and Studio Arts from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) and an AB from Smith College where she double-majored in Sociology and Anthropology and minored in International Relations. She also served as a Congressional Intern in Washington, DC for the Department of Interior with the Office of Management and Budget and the Bureau of Indian Affairs--Tribal Relations. She is the recipient of a 2007 Grant for Emerging Aboriginal Writers from the Canada Council of the Arts. In 2010, she studied under Professor Patricia Monture at the University of Saskatchewan in the Department of Sociology. After Professor Monture's passing in 2011, she transferred to Native Studies where she is currently studying for her MA with the intention of defending in the fall. Future plans include a JD and, eventually, a PhD.