Neil Stonechild Went Out With His Summer Shoes On by Ronald Shields

I am not a silent poet

They are called Starlight Tours.
Given on the coldest nights in Saskatoon.
Police pick up a drunk
First Nations People mostly,
maybe throw an elbow,
or the butt of a club in the gut,
then he is handcuffed,
thrown into the backseat.
Driven out past the power station
maybe knocked around a little more
depends on how much he protests.
Then left to find his way back to town
in the dark, in the cold, in the snow
sometimes with shoes and a jacket,
sometimes not.

Later when the body is found
stiff, frozen to the ground
lips frostbite black, nose split,
a broken lump on his purple swollen face
we are told just another drunk Indian
who couldn’t find his way home
so he froze to death.
That’s what the official explanation –
accidental death actually means.
Neil Stonechild was not an ignorant person.
Oh for sure he was…

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