There is a quiet power—riverine, deep, unstoppable—that flows through these words, as Rita Bouvier takes us paddling on the Churchill River, or on snowshoes across a frozen lake, or shows us quiet intimacies between family members. A few of the poems are like invocations, speaking directly to her people, to Louis Riel’s descendants, the men and women and children who must make the best of their lives, often under difficult circumstances. Rita Bouvier asks that we honour the tragedies that have befallen her ancestors but also take heart at this generation’s achievements—and celebrate their knowledge and strength and resilience.
The poems address the kind of losses we all suffer when the world of our childhoods has altered irrevocably, yet they also reveal the pain of residential school survivors, and despair at the lack of progress in social justice and self-determination. These poems are intimate and insightful, written in inviting, open-hearted language that includes many Cree and Michif phrases and their translation.