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rivers like when you know their real names, it’s only polite

  the northern pike laugh when you say saskatchewan

     but appreciate the effort

       of the girls living on the banks.

as kids, our parents drove my sister and i up to the columbia icefield,

  told us to fill a water bottle straight from the source,

   showed us the signposts of the receding hairline of ice

i can’t bring myself to visit now, to face the glacial m

e

l

t

i

n

g

in the treaty negotiations, we told them this agreement was to last

as long as the rivers flow

that the mountains were too sacred to be included in this treaty

  as was the water (obviously)

we have been warned!

that glaciers that feed the arteries of our territory will vanish one day,

and then what will happen?

i used to panic about this particular treaty clause

     i still panic thinking about our river no longer flowing

i was full of despair the summer the TMX pipeline was quietly

doubled underneath it,

while another plague hits the people,

who live along one of the rowdiest parts of the river

there was a small comfort to be savoured when i was told...

    the rivers flowing references the fluid of nêhiyawak who give birth

(not just women)

   this is one of the ways in which i am connected to treaty in perpetuity,

     a demonstration of diplomacy, aqueous intentions, fluid continuity

today, the ndn sisters who drink glacial water surrounded by tourists

with their mom

    (who would cut a bitch if anyone tried to steal them, as she was)

are just as much the flow, as the droplets from the mountains

Icy Futures

Emily Riddle

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