To the Indigenous people that may experience this space, please take care of yourself. We never deserved any of the pain that was passed down through being intergenerational survivors of Residential Schools. STAY OUT is written primarily to non-Indigenous people. PHOBOPHILIA is written to all my Indigenous relations across Turtle Island, and beyond.



When asked to write this, I was in the process of reading and teaching Jordan Abel’s latest work of autobiographical creative-research, NISHGA. After immersing myself in Suviittuq! ¯_()_/¯ • Can’t be helped/Too bad! ¯_()_/¯ I couldn’t help but notice how the space embodies Abel’s contextualization of destabilizing reading practices. In NISGHA, Abel mediates on a settler’s interpretation of his previous work, Injun, and how they were confounded by the experience of having to flip the book upside down to read sections of it. Abel responds to the confusion and anger that reader experienced and explains that those feelings should become an invitation to create “a dialogue about how this colonial writing has shaped and continues to shape us” (142). Abel states that the reader is “asked to understand and relate to an Indigenous experience and an experience of intergenerational trauma” (142). Kablusiak’s Suviittuq! poses similar questions to all who experience it. How has the legacy of colonization informed and shaped your perception of the world? Can you begin to imagine what it would be like to carry the intergenerational trauma from Residential Schools, and to now finally have our reality recognized through the unearthing of these gravesites?

How do you begin to confront the histories of Residential Schools and Day Schools? How can you begin to confront the ways your positionality shapes your experience? Are you a witness? Do you carry lived experiences? What does it mean if you are only just realizing this trauma? What does it mean to have always known, and to have experienced the ongoing systemic violence and genocide of Indigenous peoples?

As an Indigenous person, and a survivor of intergenerational trauma from Residential Schools, the unearthing of these gravesites has been unsettling to say the least. I have lived my entire life in a state of what Abel calls the “shadow presence of Residential Schools” (140).  When I look at Suviittuq! I see it shining on the same wavelength as Amanda Strong’s Four Faces of the Moon. I see Suviittuq! with Jordan Abel’s NISHGA. I seeSuviittuq! in Tanya Tagaqs’ latest music video release for the single titled “Tongues”. We lost so much, but we are still here. Existing in the absurdity of it all.



Nonunion fractures.

This wrist injury

embodies my confusion.

Who am I? I’ve kept circling

back to this question

ever since I could remember.

A chattering of caws.

Follow the vibrations

and I look up. Above me,

a ring of crows trail a

brown-white speckled hawk.

They call together, calling in,

calling for—I’m prone to error.

We can’t call this a conspiracy

theory anymore. We know

what you do behind closed doors.

This is a eulogy for the person I was.


If manifest destiny was built

on death and destroying,

when will we start building

through life and living?

Jupiter sits over the skyline

as caterpillars the size of

my middle finger explores

the riverside. Their name

is Sphinx Vashti, said someone.


Overcome with the collective

sadness and grief. It is impossible

to evade interconnectedness.

This reminds me of a dream

I cannot recall. Wading through

a house full of sand. Each movement

is connected to the other movements

everywhere. Existence is its own kind of prison.


Imagine if all these thoughts were happy.

Imagine if all these thoughts were power.

Looking to medicate my spirit, but

the city skyline is crushing me.

I wish pines and beds of sweetgrass

were here to give me your unsolicited advice.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be healed?

The web of moss on the sandy paths,

purple luminescence leaves this river edge.

Mother stopped crying. She’s here.


Everything exists in a state of polarity.

The only thing holding me lately is gravity.

Seven years of trying to come home to myself

but going the wrong way. I am meteoric

splitting across the earth’s atmosphere.

There was so much there in the violet

healing clouds. A resolution. Lightning.

It’s hard to wash it away. Last time I sweat

I was in a dark place. I’m in the subbasement

of my childhood home. Is that where I hid?

There are so many secrets here.


There is a body buried in the yard

and this young man with dark hair

is trying to dig it up because he feels

guilty and scared. I worry the neighbours

will find out. They keep coming over.

They’re an older white couple that seems

pleasant. “Look this is just a hole for a pool

we’re building.” The older man says

that he also has a pool and would be happy

to come back to give us pointers. This house

has glass walls and seems very white.


After the couple leaves, the young man

keeps digging. The hole looks almost

coffin shaped. He keeps digging and

the blood and body are exposed.


I go to the bed and look at my phone,

opening the selfie camera—but I’m invisible.

I don’t seem to exist. I just see the bedding

around me. There is a second young man

that appears, and he puts my smart watch

around my ankle. He says that it’s okay

to wear it this way. Outside, I talk to the

older white man, and he says, “You need

to be more careful, or you’ll get caught.

I have my own bodies too.” He laughs.

Everything is dirty and I want to clean

but I am so tired. I just want my partner

to come back to help. Long distance

relationships are no way to be.


I am at a distance from the house,

and there is perfect tunnel

that extends underneath.

At the end of the tunnel

there is a view of the house’s roots.

They are alive and

slithering like a snake pit.


Melamine plates serve anthrax

and colonial science. Dark salmon

under black tourmaline encrusted thoughts.

We can’t be helped.

We sit at the dinner table.

I don’t want what you feed me.

You hold me down with your wooden spoon.

They tried to take you from us.

We sit at the dinner table.

I don’t want your food.

We sit at the dinner table.

We can’t be helped.

It’s easier to lie

because that’s all they try to feed us.

The only way out is to scream for help.



I’m eleven years old.

My mom and two aunties

take me to a haunted house

at a Halloween festival.

At its finale, a tall man appears

with a chainsaw held above his head.

He starts running at us and

I’m surrounded by screams

as my aunty takes me

by my shoulders and

holds me in front of her.

All I can do is scream

and laugh.