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Published by sunkosi.maya, 2022-07-11 17:58:05

Remembering Mothertongue Zine

Collected works on the bloodlines of land, language + craft

Keywords: zine,BIPOC,poetry,art,music,land,language,craft,bloodlines,mothertongue,Indigenous Futurisms,Afro Futurisms,hide tanning,ancestral knowledge,ancestral crafts

Remembering Mothertongue

collected works on the bloodlines of Land, Language + Craft

Remembering Mothertongue
was edited and published by
Sunkosi Galay-Tamang in July 2022

with the support of
The Only Animal
&

Black Youth Initiative









Find it online at dreamriver.ca/zine

Remembering Mothertongue



Land, language and craft are strands woven into our DNA ; Ceremony is the weaving together
again. How can we allow ourselves to extend from and be woven further by them?

I once sat in circle in the Downtown Eastside with brown and black women and femmes
from around the world. I felt deep compassion and love from the faces of the Indigenous
Grandmothers who gently held us in the space. When it was my turn to share, they beamed
back at me as I cried through my history of feeling like a bratty daughter and cowardly
granddaughter, rebelliously seeking love and freedom. They looked at me with a pure and
unconditional love; they said it was what Grandmotherly love was made of. It was
something I remembered feeling as a child.

When I spoke of how difficult it is for me to learn my mother tongue, that each word just
evaporates from my mind and I can’t even remember to remember to practice it,
xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm Elder Doris Fox turned to me and said

“That’s the colonizer’s doing. That’s what they want. Your ancestors fought, and died, for
your language and your culture. It’s up to you to give yourself permission to remember.
Every day, you say one word, and hold it in your heart and your mind, and tell yourself
‘I am allowed to remember this.’ Everyday.”



For Remembering Mothertongue, I sent the prompt at the top of the page to the artists whose
work you will read inside. Two artists, Miki Wolf and Sussan Yáñez - Kallfümalen, were
commissioned to create pieces in response to learning sheepskin tanning and corn husk
weaving, processes taught by myself and my mother Kamala Tamang-Yonzon, respectively.

It’s been a profound pleasure and honour to gather these pieces together. I’m deeply
touched by the artistic spirit present in each of these works, something our community is
so rich in, and this is only one small piece of it. All the artists are from communities of
colour and culture, and all of us bow to remembering.



Thank you to our Grandmothers and Grandfathers, for reminding us.



Thucheche + Maarsii cho







1

Artists

Eddy van Wyk is an artist (b. Namibia). Her poetry and paintings are collections of memories
told in dreams weaved into the present, dusted with flakes of an old tree. They honour
childhood, femininity, friendship, death and aliveness. Eddy’s Afrikaans mother-tongue and
Southern African heritage glitters through her woven words. So too, does her enchantment
with nature. For more information: www.eddyvanwyk.com Contact: [email protected]

hoodie browns is a (mainly) musical artist of Amhara, Tigray and Oromo descent living on
traditional & unceded territories of the šxʷməθkʷəy̓ əmaɁɬ təməxʷ (Musqueam),
Skwxwú7mesh-ulh Temíx̱w (Squamish) and səl̓ ilwətaɁɬ təməxʷ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. she
seeks to offer up a moment to hold ourselves and induce a sense of physical and emotional
comfort with fluid sounds & soft beats. Contact @hoodiebrowns

Jamuna Galay-Tamang is a queer mixed-race Indigenous writer & documentary filmmaker.
She carries Tamang (Nepali), Dënësųłinë́-Métis, German & Ukrainian ancestry and her
Indigenous roots in Canada are tied to Buffalo Narrows, Saskatchewan. Her latest work is a
film called ‘Healing Nation’ about the impact of taking Indigenous kids away from their
families. She lives on stolen xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Səl̓ ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh Territory.
More info & contact: www.thucheche.ca
Healing Nation trailer & to inquire about screening the film: www.healingnationfilm.ca

Karmella Cen Benedito De Barros is an inner-city Indigiqueer with Treaty 6 Mistawasis
Nêhiyaw and Afro-Brazilian ancestry. They are a plant loving, community oriented support
worker, artist and organizer born and raised in diaspora, as a guest on stolen & unceded
Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam territories. Karmella currently works as the
Indigenous Brilliance Community Engagement leader with Room Magazine and the Art
Ecosystem. They also work as the CRUW Garden Coordinator at xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm, and supports
the Lucid Arts’ Earthseed Youth Book Club. Contact @kc.bdb

Kwetasel’wet / Stephanie Wood is a citizen of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw, the daughter of
the late Kwetasel’wet / Vera Wood nee Paull. Her grandmother is the late Kwináḵatamat /
Lucille Nicholson nee Lewis. Kwetasel’wet is a writer and hide tanner living on her ancestral
territories. Her dreams include learning to weave with her Auntie, and learning her language.
Contact on IG and twitter: @sevawood

Miki Wolf is a First Nations actor, dancer, writer, and theatre maker based on the traditional,
unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Peoples. Miki is a graduate
from the Theatre Performance BFA Program at SFU, and recently completed a playwriting
residency at the Banff Centre’s Indigenous Playwright's Nest in April 2022. Miki’s artistic work
aims to blend experimental physical theatre forms with emergent contemporary dance
techniques through their lifelong curiosity for composition, while exploring the body and its
potential for limitless creative source.

2

I'm Nico Rojas, also known as Nicole, Emilia, Wero, among other names. I'm a Chilean artist,
however, I feel I belong to so many places, creatures and peoples. I have been working in
expressing myself through the arts for 22 years, finding great fun, comfort and representation
in the music, the poetry and the visual arts. My website is www.multidisciplinaria.tumblr.com,
and I can be contacted via [email protected] and @wero.mcgregor

Ogheneofegor Obuwoma is a Nigerian filmmaker, storyteller, and artist with a BFA in film and
communications from Simon Fraser University. Her work explores "the personal" in
relationship to her larger community and the cultural experience of being Nigerian. She is
interested in African futurism and the ways we access the spirit. Contact @fegor_o and
[email protected]

Pah’sung / Pasang Galay is a multi-disciplinary Indigenous artist and producer of mixed
ancestries (Tamang, Métis, Ukrainian, German, Scottish) born in Kathmandu, Nepal. His
fundamental belief is that there is a huge discrepancy between the fortune and opportunity any
one individual is born into, due to generations of trauma and systemic racism. Pasang
continuously advocates on behalf of people who experience prejudice and injustice by bringing
awareness to these issues through his music. Contact @pahsung

Sacha Ouellet (they/she) is currently residing on the unceded territories of the səlil̓ ilw̓ ətaʔɬ ,
Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm and Stó:lō nations. Sacha is of Haida, Tlingit, and European
ancestry. They work within their community as a frontline land defender, media artist, and
writer. You can find their work featured in SAD magazine, through the Powell Street Festival
website as part of an audio documentary called “From prairies to pacific rim”. Sacha’s primary
focus in their work is to create ethical environments for storytelling and conversations of
Indigenous lives, focusing on community care and creating networks of support for kin.
Contact @sachuh and s[email protected] for commissions, collaborations, comments

Sunkosi Galay-Tamang (Suna) is an Indigenous artist of mixed ancestries (Tamang clan /
Himalayas, Dënesųłı̨né / Turtle Island, Jewish-Ukraine, Germany, Scotland) born on the
ancestral homeland of the Səl̓ ílwətaʔ Nation. She believes in art as ceremony and the body as
pedagogy, and is a co-founder of the Flowering Earth Arts Society, an organization dedicated
to land- and body-based arts education. She is passionate about reclamation of ancestral skills,
language and physiological wisdom as pathways to sovereignty and communal health.
Contact via email: [email protected] and @burntsundreamz

Sussan Yáñez - Kallfümalen is a Mapuche, Andean, Spaniard, German and English mother
living in the unceded Skwxwú7mesh, xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm and səl̓ ilwətaɁɬ territories. She was born
on the Wallmapu in 1994, in a colonizing Chilean country and is the first in her family to
recognize Indigenous ancestry in a few generations. The teachings she found in ceremonies
with Indigenous elders from St’at’imc and Wixárika nations have helped her heal wounds of
intergenerational trauma and define her own voice as a student, a multidisciplinary artist, a
cultural facilitator and a community organizer. Contact @renaturalize

3

Contents

my baby is made from deer skin and corn
Sunkosi Galay-Tamang……………………………………………………………….……...........Cover Art

Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………........………….……..1

Artist Bios…………………………………………………………………………………………………….……………...2

good morning
Jamuna Galay-Tamang…………………………………………..…………………………………........……….7

i am child QR
Eddy van Wyk………………………………………………………………….…………………........……………..8

patagonia agony QR
Pah'sung feat. hoodie browns.......................................................................9

wah uss
Kwetasel’wet / Stephanie Wood……………….…………………….………………………….........……10

ayer
Nico Rojas…………………………………………………………………………………………….…………………….16

a ride with mémé
Jamuna Galay-Tamang…………………………….……………………………………………........………….17

magic is you + portrait
Eddy van Wyk………………………………………………………………….………………........……………….18

ay morena
Nico Rojas………………………………………………………........……………………………….......…………20

this god is worthy to be praised
Ogheneofegor Obuwoma……………………………………………………..…………….........…………..21

hidetime
Sacha Ouellet………………………………………………….………………………………………………….…........22

4

therapy #9
Sacha Ouellet…………………………………………………………………………….………………………….….....24

to keep the spirit warm
Sunkosi Galay-Tamang……………………………………………………………........………………….…..25

there's a cloud in my hands
Sussan Yáñez - Kallfümalen……………………………………............................………………26

blood line
Jamuna Galay-Tamang……………………………………………….…………………….......……………...28

parental pruning
hoodie browns…………………………………………………………………………………………………...…....30

patagonia agony
Pah’sung feat. hoodie browns……………………………………………………………………..…………...32

las muertas secretas
Nico Rojas………………………………………………………………………………………………….……….………33

culture is a verb
Karmella Cen Benedito De Barros………………………………………………………...…………………34

makai // corn
Sunkosi Galay-Tamang…………………………………………………………………..………………………..36

for you, sister
Miki Wolf………………………………………………………………………………….………………………………..37

la noche que no sangré
Nico Rojas………………………………………………..…………………………………………….........……….38

Gratitudes……………………………………………………………………………….………………………………….39

mother tongue
Nico Rojas…………………………………………………………………………………........… Back Cover Art

5

6

Good morning Jamuna Galay-Tamang

7

I AM CHILD Eddy van Wyk

8

Patagonia Agony Pah'sung feat. hoodie browns

The subject matter of this song involves the different levels of oppression people face based
on race and, in turn, the trust they hold in institutions that surround them. It also touches
on the work involved to just get by as an immigrant in this country. This is expressed with a

vocal intro sung in my mother tongue, Tamang, a dialect of the Himalayas spoken in
Healay Chaubas (a mountain village of Nepal). The whole song has a downtempo,
lofi type vibe verging on Trip-Hop.

9

10

Wah uss Kwetasel’wet/Stephanie Wood

Halth-skway-yoh ta noy-yuhp, Kwetasel’wet kwin koh-shah-min, Stephanie kwi en sna.

This is how I write down how to introduce myself in my language, the Sḵwx̱wu7mesh Sníchim.
It’s how you introduce yourself formally to a group. This is not how it’s spelled in the alphabet
our people developed. This is how I have to write it to make sure I say it properly — or as
properly as I can. Even my best attempt is clumsy.

Halth-skway-yoh ta noy-yuhp, Kwetasel’wet kwin koh-shah-min, Stephanie kwi en sna.

Núu is an intimate greeting to very close friends or partners. My brain still hears no when I say
it. I try to push out that feeling when I say it. I am not saying no. I am saying núu.

I try to incorporate huy chexw a (thank you) and wa chexw yuu (take care). I try to share my
ancestral name, Kwetasel’wet. But I rush through saying them. As if speeding through it faster
leaves less room to say it wrong. As if my mistakes will be invisible in a quick blur of sound.

I know I’m not the only one who has worried I’m too colonized, not Indigenous enough,
because I can’t speak it. I always feel tears rise up when someone says, you are Indigenous enough.
You are enough. Because there’s so much pain in fearing it’s not true. So much emotion in
hearing someone say, it’s okay.

Our minds and bodies yearn for, reach for, our languages. Our spirits speak our languages.

This came up in a circle of Indigenous women I sat in once — speak in your language even
when you don’t speak your language.

Recently, I sat down to read the Sḵwx̱wu7mesh dictionary properly. I’d flipped through before,
but reading in earnest is something I’d been nervous to do. Again, rushing through to avoid the
pain of it feeling unfamiliar. Trying to avoid the shame of struggling with the sounds.

This dictionary belonged to my Granny, Kwináḵatamat. She helped write this dictionary,
alongside others including her mother, my great-grandma, Skwét7siya. Apparently my
great-grandma didn’t want to participate at first. Pain leftover from having her language
extracted in the assimilation camps. But she did help. In the front of the dictionary, like a
yearbook, co-authors wrote little notes to my Granny in Sḵwx̱wu7mesh.

I began reading the dictionary in detail. I tried to say each sound allowed.

Ta na wax̱eĺ — editors
Chet txwtéta7 tkwétsiẃit nilh ta sts’its’ȧp’swit
Ta nexwníẃn ta a ĺmats — teachings for your grandchildren

11

I couldn’t tell you how to say these easily if you asked right now. I pause at each syllable, check
the dictionary, sometimes guess. I look at the table of how to say certain letters.

x̱ — a friction sound in the back of the throat
xw — similar to a whispered version of wh in ‘what’
e — can be ‘u as in cut,’ ‘i as in ship,’ or ‘oo as in shook’

Probably an hour later, I was just twelve pages in. When I flipped that page, a small piece of
lined paper was tucked in the crevice. The tiny piece of paper ripped from a page, with her
familiar writing in pencil:

wah uss

She wrote it out as it’s said. Reaching for words she knew deep in her heart, even if not in the
new alphabet. She knew how it sounded, what it meant, how it echoed into the world from her
mouth.

Wah uss. I searched for this in the back of the book, worried I wouldn’t be able to tell if it was
the right word without having the right spelling. But I found it.

Wá7us

It means go after (someone); continue (something); carry on (something); keep after (something).

My chest filled up and I felt her. I pictured her flipping through this book, calling her friends
to chat about what words they remembered, as she told me she did. I remembered her driving
me in the car as a child, playing tapes and repeating the words back to the tape player.
Mysterious and beautiful words to my young ears, growing up in a city of English built on top
of our land. I felt a sad joy. Sad because I miss her. Joyful because she’s speaking to me.
Telling me, all of us, to carry on. To keep after. To continue.

That same week I chatted with my Auntie Shellene. She talked about how granny,
great-grandma, and our relatives kept the language even when they were banned from
speaking it. They kept it in their minds. Minds and spirits never colonized.

Speaking in their language even when they couldn’t speak their language.

Shame still creeps up when I write things down how they’re pronounced. That I still only know
a handful of phrases, letters and words. But I remember, wah uss.

12

14

When I learned the paddle song, I wrote it out how I could say it. Seeing the text on a page and
singing it and drumming was too much to try to figure out at once.
Now I can sing it to myself at home, even though I still can’t write it. But I can sing it all the
time.
Oh no halth malay, che shaht ta chay seeyum,
Inslay qui-say kwentomo,
Ta nay na stahl-mah
Inslay qui-say kwentomo
Ta nay na stahl-mah

13

15

Ayer Nico Rojas

16

a ride with mémé Jamuna Galay-Tamang

17

18

MAGIC IS YOU Eddy van Wyk

I walked and wiggled in the middle of the road and there my small inner Pablo Picasso
began to murmur. Either side of the road would not do and straight down the middle
would not do either. And neither black nor grey or any other colourconsistently. Nothing
predictable and nothing wanted and imagine-able.

Let what is normal breathe itself to death and dust’s party.
Let your life exist for those who never want to die yet know their bodies will- those
whose sensual nature make trees quiver and the judge deliver prophecy unmarked by
human law.
Let the immutable unwritten laws of Heaven conduct your earthly regime of love and joy
and freedom at all costs! Eat well! Let your John Lennon drape over your Mother Teresa;
let your Frida plunge down the neckline of your Freddie Mercury; let your Diana dance
for Archbishop Tutu. Let Ram Dass and Dali sing you a song every night.

When someone inevitably says you’re mad, simply call the Madhatter for tea tomorrow
and let him explain the Cheshire cat’s smile. Then laugh.

Explain nothing yourself and do not douse your magic in dull men’s eyes. Eyes are the
kaleidoscope of the soul when used to wellness. You tore through your bones to drink the
broth of sacred earth. Save and sell it to no-one.
Dry dry moans,
Hard, hard loans,
Calm, calm drugs.
Slow, slow poisons.
I dare you to make this world your making. You are of the thread of gods called God.
Bare your stamped chaos. Open your chest everyday. Let the heart’s butterfly sit on its
rose throne. Come and go Pain, Discomfort and all our plural era’s psychological
attachments.
Drink your medicine, remember.
Open your chest’s door each day. Heaven’s a myth when too much reason’s near,
remember? Heaven is the gift of the inner ear- the eye that listens, the heart that smells
and untangles, the feet that throb to dance, the legs that scramble to fly, the fingers that
itch for keys or string.

Let none and no-one numb you to form. You are the form-maker, remember? By all
means, stay sane and balanced. You decide what this means, remember- not him, her,
them or the world and its prison(ers)

19

Ay Morena Nico Rojas

20

This god Is Worthy To Be Praised Ogheneofegor Obuwoma

How do I begin to praise this god?
I was scrolling on Instagram as one does when I came across something familiar.
A conversation that only serves to remind me that I am far from home.
Someone was speaking about the importance of making people pronounce your name
properly,
They talked about how their name was their destiny.
A lot of Nigerians believe this and I agree that I’ve always aligned with this thought,
When parents change a child's name in order to realign their destiny and change their
story, I am delighted.
I’m of the belief that a life-changing event can prompt the need for a change of name
It is also the way of things, to change your name in celebration and even in sorrow.

My name is Ogheneofegor Goodness Obuwoma.
I don’t go by Goodness because while I want a good life, I don’t want to be burdened by
always being “good”.
It also reminds me of the colonial legacy of being Nigerian and inherently displaced
within the notion.
I go by Ogheneofegor also Fegor.
Ogheneofegor means God is worthy to be praised.
This brings me to my dilemma.
When people talk of names as prophetic I wondered what mine was.
Well to be honest it made sense in the early part of my life when all I wanted was to
worship god and serve.

In these later years, I am wondering how praising god could determine my future
So I asked myself, what does it mean to praise god within my embodiment?
As I rearranged the words, I came up with this: This God is worthy of praise.
Imagine that? Praising myself, worshipping at my own feet!
Honestly, I am inspired to even consider the notion of self-worship by the work of
Akwaeke Emezi, who first made aware that one could worship themselves at all.
Left to me and the ways I was raised to always be humble and never want too much,
I would never have had the courage to consider myself worthy of much, let alone praise
This prophecy made me feel at ease in a way I had never experienced before,
And I felt a tiny piece of my story was coming together, but not in an overwhelming way.
You would think uncovering your prophecy would be a roaring wave, taking everything
in my life along with it.
But it was small and quiet and actually shy.

21

culture is a verb Karmella Cen Benedito De Barros

Let me be the thread,
sewing scraps of buckskin together
on temperamental land that loves us back.

String me
through the narrow hole
of that thick needle you stole
from the yuppie craft store over the bridge.

You know, landback means
free access to our cultural tools from stores built on stolen land.

So yehaw, fuk the law
I hope you get all that you need.

Stitch me into the spiralling story
of intergenerational transformation. Indigiqueer tanned hide, stretched, smoked and sacred.

As we land in this moment, disenfranchised by grief
and grounded in a practice of reclamation,
use me.

Let me hold the spaces
that keep you full.

I’ll make sure your heart still spills through the cracks of its seams
when you’re ready for some letting go.

See me as a reminder,
that healing needs a timeless container in which you can mend,
break open,
and stitch it all up again.

Know that you were made
for this patchwork.

And that endless waves of kin,
are grateful to you for nurturing collective prayers.

34

kinanâskomitin
Asé
Remember,
Culture is a verb.
Or busy hands moving slow.
Or a stolen needle,
and thread weaving through buckskin scraps.
Ancestral and audacious, puncturing time.

35

hidetime Sacha Ouellet

22

23

Therapy #9 Sacha Ouellet

24

to keep the spirit warm Sunkosi Galay-Tamang

25

26

Sussan Yáñez - Kallfümalen

27

Blood line Jamuna Galay-Tamang

28

29

parental

ለእናቴ

“for my mother”

i wish that you went to the salon,
invested more than what you did into yourself.
maybe then i wouldn’t feel so clueless
when it comes to caring.
spent a lifetime watching you sacrifice
and sacrifice,
gave until you had nothing left,
gave until you almost died - yet you refused to stop.

you shoved all of the pain under your bed
until it turned into a beast that haunted us all.
the ghosts of your traumas would roam the halls at night,
their silent cries more deafening than your shrill screams
from when you couldn’t take the voices anymore.

even the sun, such a giver of life
burns you when you get too close.
not even our tears could extinguish
the fire that raged in your belly.

i started blaming myself,
but it wasn’t enough for you.
made a blood sacrifice in your temple,
you deemed it unworthy.
fasted and brought myself to your feet,
wept in a feeble attempt to wash off
the dirt and dust which you had to walk upon
to rear your offspring in a strange land
with nothing but a dream in your pocket.

i dove deep within myself and was met by the pain that you
inflicted.
then tried to walk in a pious man’s shoes and forgive,
tried to not forget that you neglected yourself
because others told you it was the only option.
that to enter the realm of ‘good parenting’
you must leave your wellbeing at the door.
that you didn’t make these choices on your own.

you still cling to the frayed tethers,
and despite myself, i do the same.
the fact that you can’t look back in honesty
(selfishly) makes me worry for myself.
if i am a mirror of your memories,
what if i too am unable to undo these ties that bind?
what if i’ll never be free?

30

pruning hoodie browns

ለአባቴ

“for my father”

lately i’ve been forgetting about you.

when i think of it, you’d probably prefer it this way.
because every time you come to my mind
emotions flood my eyes
and the guilt leaks in,
shame filling the cracks in my voice
as i try to swallow the dry lump in my throat.

maybe i just didn’t pay enough attention
to all those efforts you made,
the times you tried to listen
and to provide for us all
when you probably had dreams of your own
that you were forced to give up
maybe that’s why you kept your distance from us,
opting to parent at an orbit.

i wish i could stop your worrying
because now that’s all i do.
i know how it eats at your insides,
twisting your stomach into knots,
rings in your ears from bouncing around your head.
how it wraps its fingers around your neck,
squeezes with all its might
until you’re lightheaded
and have anchors for shoes.
all because you refuse to trust.

i want to yell at you, at the top of my lungs
let you know how much it hurts me
when you so blatantly let your anxieties colour your view
and stifle yourself for a false sense of peace.
that words were made to be used
that feelings feel best when shared
that your worry has only harboured doubt within me
that i wished that i could trust you in turn,
that i (ungratefully) wondered if you were ever on my team
because you seemed to disappear during crunch time.

it was christmas when i realized that i know nothing about you.
was i just not listening
or did you always want it this way?
so that it could be easier to let you go
when you decided to give up.




31

Patagonia Agony Pah'sung feat. hoodie browns

32

Las muertas secretas Nico Rojas

33

Makai // Corn Sunkosi Galay-Tamang

I grow this corn
praying they before me

will recognize me
as their own, enough

to claim me



I pray they see me
sowing myself with these kernels

holding them like they
are the teeth of my
Mam and Mémé


if they sprout
it means I know love
if they become whole

it means I am grown enough
to feed my own children now



it means i recognize myself now
feeding and eating my ancestors



how did I forget my

own bones
are cornstalk?




36

37

For you, Sister Miki Wolf

When I think of you, I feel a strong hug and warm clutter
When I think of you, it’s a laugh and a blow of smoke, lightning prayer

Dipped hands watering down absolutely nothing

I watch you weave an invisible line between new worlds, patching in a third nobody else can see
but you and I

I miss you like you died all of the time
I’m already sad for when you’re gone

Soft hand, beauty is not relevant here
It just is
A law of nature

Complete three hundred and sixty degrees of protection

I used to dream about you every night as a kid
Calling you in, living ancestors

Protection

A thousand unknown in pine needles, now familiar
Each one, a grandmother

Every stitch for a matriarch
You gift me this story and I want to cry for its rarity in this world I know, that I don’t

I want to be the little frog on your head wishing you ilfetimes of luck
I want to be swaddled in grandmother’s medicine pouch like a sacred being
Just a player in the ceremony
but we all know every single needle counts

There will not be a dropped stitch here

I can’t cower in your presence
My brother said I’m in a higher plane but I know it’s just a different constellation

I witness all of our hands working while the babies smile, protected by our love and dedication

38

I grow a little taller and stronger in all these relations
each of you helping me see my space on the branch

The creatures and I, you, she, her, they
We are all here

Thank you for your love
Thank you for your weaving hands
My gratitude finally owns me in this wave
I happily surrender

La noche que no sangré Nico Rojas

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Thank you so much:

Kendra Fanconi and The Only Animal, whose faith in this project made its flowering possible;

Black Youth Initiative, whose support in 2020 seeded this project, and watered it through its
slow gestation to sprouting; and

My mother, Kamala, for remaining tethered to where we come from through the deftness of
your hands, heart and mind, and for teaching us how to learn from khosttas (corn husk) and

salghi (long green grass) so gently and patiently.

Thucheche + Maarsii cho




Remembering Mothertongue was commissioned by The Only Animal as a part of the Artist
Brigade. The Only Animal creates immersive work that arises from a deep engagement with
place. Our work seeks to re/connect our human nature with Nature. Here we forge new ways
of understanding how to be on earth. Visit us at: www.theonlyanimal.com/the-artist-brigade/

Black Youth Initiative is a collective product of love and care from the tireless labor of three
Black femmes with the intersections of being Refugees, Migrants, Muslim and Queer. Our
hope and intentionality for the work we do rests with sharing mutual aid efforts and resource
redistribution that are vital for supporting our beloved Indigenous and Black communities.

Website: https://www.blackyouthinitiative.ca/

Kamala Tamang-Yonzon was born in the mountains of Nepal, where she was taught to weave
when she was 6 years old. She was chosen in childhood by the village elders to learn Ayurvedic
massage for labouring mothers. She comes from nine generations of traditional healers, and

is a Reiki Master, Traditional Nepali Massage Practitioner, Infant Massage Instructor and
Special Education Aide in North Vancouver, BC. She is the founder of the Kamala Yonzon

Tahrayli Foundation, and can be contacted at [email protected] and
https://kytfoundation.org/

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