Legacy by Sylvia Teaves

Second place honours in the poetry category, Mensa Canada 2017 Literary Contest

We came in arrogance and greed.

We raped the land
and the people who lived in harmony with the land.

In the name of our own self-righteousness
we tore children from their parents, their homes, their culture
– mistreated and abandoned them.

We brought our European ills – syphilis, smallpox, pollution –
and the people died.

Yet no-one cared.
For centuries no-one cared.

Today we recognize the shame
inherent in the legacy on which this nation was built.
And our leaders stand beside the people and say
“We’re sorry”.

But still young aboriginal women die
And their children have no clean water to drink.