We ALL Hurt

Crystal Smith, Salish territory
April 14, 2017

In the Autumn of 2016, Musagetes collaborated with Alessandra Pomarico and a number of community partners in Vancouver to host Italian actor, director, and teacher Ippolito Chiarello at Simon Fraser University’s theatre school. Ippolito’s experience with what he calls “homeless theatre” — an intimate street performance that actively engages passersby — informed his work with the students at SFU over the course of the two week residency. In Vancouver the focus was on the history of the place and the stories of its residents, shared right where relationships are happening — not to create a spectacle, but as a forum for self-representation, a way to draw attention to what is important for this community and to share its knowledge, and to bring together two solitudes: that of the students who work in the midst of this community every day, and the residents who actually live there.

The following poem, written by participant Crystal Smith, came out of the performative inquiry process of the workshops.


We ALL Hurt

by Crystal Smith

The truth is I can’t do this
I can’t stand here and say
my home is your home
that this will be our home
My ancestors have done that
and now look at us
look around you
we are not sharing
we are not equal
we’ve been pushed out
pushed into crammed quarters
then when our crammed quarters look appealing
we are pushed out once again
It is here where gentrification is happening
it is here where segregation is happening
it is here
My ancestors welcomed yours
your ancestors were pushed out
they were kicked out
they arrived to new lands
and began the same cycle
they pushed us onto reserves
they kicked us off the land
they hurt us
tore at us
us…
Us is collective
us
we here
we now know this
we can now ask of this
we can study and learn
see the faults
the cracks
the instigators of destruction
the fuel of this fire
is capitalism
like snake
it wraps its lengthy body around the world
squishing it
trying to suck the most out of this earth
in which we exist
only because the earth allows us to
we are hurting
we are hurting
the pain is visible
and it is washing over all of us
we will drown if we don’t change
My ancestors knew this
they knew the relationship between everything mattered
they acknowledge the land as a being
and honoured the land as such
they acknowledged the four legged, the winged, the swimmers and those around them
they honoured the 7 generations
7 generations back
7 generations forward
they thought of us today
we were with them
just as our great grandchildren are here
my great grandchild is speaking through me
they stand here beside me
just as yours does
are your grandchildren proud?
are they home?
How does their home feel?
Will they be pushed out?
Do they continue to carry our hurt?
how have you shaped their home?

Crystal Smith

Crystal Smith

Crystal Smith is a Tsimshian, Haisla and Heiltsuk warrior mother. She is living as guest on Unceded Coast Salish Territory and is currently a Graduate student at UBC. She is also an accomplished poet and spoken word performer. Using poetry and spoken word she hopes to uncover the oppression Indigenous people face and the pain inflicted on our earth to ignite a wave of hope which can travel throughout different generations.

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