The Indian in the Child

by Sandra Sutter/Jim Peace
June/July 2014

6 years old on his first day of school, and emotions are running high

Mom and dad are left home alone, as he bids his parents goodbye

The shiny white building in a far away place holds promise and a yet unknown fear

The footsteps this young boy will take on his own, should have been taken with family near

The weather here is changing, and dark clouds are closing in

The boy can’t withstand them for long, they remind him his skin is sin

They are sinister like the weather and like a storm that brews within

They wash away childlike innocence trying to kill the Indian in him

They tried to kill the Indian, kill the Indian in the child

They thought he was a savage, untameable and wild

They could not see the Creator’s plan for him was the same for you and me

We are meant to walk together, on the good red road of (in) beauty

Kill the Indian in the child they said and to be sure those teachers tried

No language, no family, no culture, every night he cried

A forced haircut and a cruel bath, bleaching brown skin into white

Though they tried to kill the Indian, the Indian survived

Their methods were born of ignorance, along the way the road got twisted

The boy could not do a single thing right, no matter how hard he listened

The lessons that he learned were not about writing, literature or math

What will it take before graduation for him to discover a welcoming path

They tried to kill the Indian, kill the Indian in the child

They thought he was a savage, untameable and wild

They could not see the Creator’s plan for him was the same for you and me

We are meant to walk together, on the good red road of (in) beauty

Oh Canada you failed your People, where did you go wrong?

Underneath that National Anthem, You were not true, free or strong

You built a railroad to unite this nation and sent your beautiful children to jail

They were beaten, starved and tortured, and their future was derailed

 

You get 9 years for rape and drug deals, 9 years for a major crime

Or 9 years in residential school to kill the Indian in the child

Generations have been affected and had to remember how to pray

To rediscover a sacred culture and find forgiveness along the way

For years he spent nights searching for a love (grace) he couldn’t find

In the walls within his prison, (and in eyes) in the eyes that had gone blind

As he found the path to forgiveness, he could leave the pain behind

The grace he knew would save him was in his heart and not his mind

Once punished for sins like laughing, jailed in chicken coops by powers that were

We are walking again on the good red road, and creating a new future

We thank the Creator for giving us life and reminding us every day

That the enemy who destroyed us once is now the friend with whom we pray

The Indian in that child is the Chief of his People today

He is leading his community, showing them grace along the way

They walk towards a new future, In this country we all share

So that his 6 year old grandchild, will have no reason to be scared

They tried to kill the Indian, kill the Indian in the child

They thought he was a savage, untameable and wild

They could not see the Creator’s plan for him was the same for you and me

We are meant to walk together, on the good red road of (in) beauty

Last time

Thank you Creator, for the grace that allowed the People to survive

You can never kill the Indian, the Indian in the child

Thank you Creator, for the grace that allowed the People to survive

You can never kill the Indian, the Indian in the child