Moose River Crossing

For Freddy Martin-Wapistan.

Some guy named Earl, I think
I knew him long ago
He sang of a place called
Moose River Crossing.

With his guitar he played a show
He was confident in who he was
Where he came from
And where he was going.

We departed early in the morning
I recall the cold mist off the water
On the regular train, north to Cochrane
And further north, beyond.

We sang some songs for curious tourists
The vinyl train seat being our drum
They said we were chanting
But I didn’t know anything about that
In school they said ‘Indians just did that’.

For them, it was a long wait in Cochrane
It wasn’t long enough for me
We get back on the train
with a pretty fun bunch of Crees.

I never thought I’d visit there
Moose River Crossing
If you blink, you might miss it
If you sleep, you’ll surely miss it.

I travel with hopes and dreams
Others will just return back home
Most have lived hard lives
Just like in the songs that Earl sings.

We arrive at Moose River Crossing.
Watche-ay! Lots of Watche-ay!
Greetings, welcome!
Brother, sister, cousin.

They all know each other
All are family. Kin-folk.
Like my Dad’s reruns of The Waltons
But with brown faces.

Displaced, swampy Crees
Living in the bush
This is the place they want to go
This is the place that they Love.

I can’t see why.
But I’m not from Moose River Crossing.
The train barely slows down
But for a few, it’s their whole world.

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