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Poets & Storytellers 2021

Julie Pellissier-Lush, Prince Edward Island

Julie Pellissier-Lush is an actress, and bestselling author of My Mi’kmaq Mother and Mi’kmaq Campfire Stories of Prince Edward Island.  She is the Poet Laureate for PEI, recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2013, the Meritorious Service Medal recipient in 2017, and the Senators 150 Medal in April 2019.  Julie currently works as a Knowledge Keeper for L'nuey, the Epekwitk Mi'kmaq-rights initiative and is on the Board of Directors for the Native Council of PEI.  She writes, acts, and does photography to preserve the history and culture of the Mi’kmaq for future generations. Julie wrote the poems for the play Mi’kmaq Legends which has been performed throughout the Atlantic region. Julie lives in PEI with her husband Rick, her five children, and her granddaughter Miah.


Poem: The Apple Trees

In the wind I hear their voices:
Look for us now so we are not alone
It is time for us all to finally go home

Children taken from our families and homes
We had no choice but to cry goodbye and go  
These places were always dark, scary, and bad
Whatever we did, someone always got mad

At night, our soft crying began without end
All of us children just needed a friend
We were not seen as human, so easy to be hurt
When we died we were buried deep in the dirt

They ended the lives of us little one’s time and again
There was no sadness when our bodies shut down
They buried us always late, late at night
There was no one to tell them this was not right.

An elder told me what he learned as a boy
Something that slowly took away all his joy—
Apple trees they planted on those sad little graves
Those trees hid their crimes, no need to be afraid

Look for the trees full of apples near the schools
These helped those monsters break all of their rules
The tree roots run so deep in the ground
They hide all those bodies, so they wouldn’t be found

Indigenous people all over this land
All know the stories. We have taken a stand—
It is now, it is time, come listen to our truths
Bring all our children home from beneath those chokings roots 

Creator help us, let the winds of change blow
This is our living history, not long ago
Listen for the little voice screaming, “Please remember me.”
We must now go and look for those sad old apple trees

For those children who never made it home
My Heart shatters that you were so alone
For those children full of trauma, who are still alive
Please don’t ever feel guilty for being able to survive

It is the time to sit with our survivors now
And if they need help do not be afraid to ask them how—
They hold the truths they would much rather hide
Of all those other children who did not survive

In the wind I hear their voices,
“Look for us now so we are not alone
It is time for us all to finally go home”

Contact: srinka@canlitscape.com