by Zoe Todd
Saskatoons. The fat, dusty purple-blue berries that proliferate the slopes of the river valley, where the sun falls from dawn to dusk while the sîpiy (river) water flows past. Berries that bear witness to sohkeciwan (strong, flowing current): the veins of water that wind all the way from the mountains to the ocean, tying Edmonton (Amiskwacî), our home in the Beaver Hills, to the heavens and the earth. Seeds of life and joy that burst in your mouth, testaments to the sun, the air, the water and warm mud from which they grow.
Memories of picking berries with my family wind along languid summer afternoons. Seeking out the best berry spots while cyclists and joggers flash past, unaware. The knowledge that these berries were here long before us, and will persist long after.
All nêhiyawêwin (Plains Cree) words sourced from The Online Cree Dictionary: creedictionary.com