The Gustafsen Lake standoff. The Oka crisis. The shooting of Connie Jacobs when she refused to give up her children to Social Services. These were some of the subjects for the poetry of Connie Fife when she was living in Victoria. Her poem "A Mother's Son" is dedicated to Jacobs and her nine-year-old son Ty who were shot to death on March 24, 1998 by an RCMP officer on the Tsuu T'ina Reserve in Alberta after Social Services attempted to apprehend Jacobs' three children. No charges were laid.

"my son / I stopped the bullets / For as long as i could / until my heart was torn from my ribcage / and my shattered bone become flour on our kitchen flour / how I wept going down / down / to the moment when I could no longer withstand their bullets / your youth clearcutting a pathway / back into my arms when i held you up to the sun / singing praises for your birth

"now i watch as righteous men / defend your murder / defend the onslaught of sliced corpuscle / and the tearing away of your muscle / and i sing / i sing your name into the mouth of every coming sunrise / and i will continue / until they know the significance of your birth / together with the act of stealing your life

"and i will sing / and i will not stop"

As a Cree mother and lesbian, Fife viewed Canadians as living in "separate homelands" when she published Poems for a New World (2001). Redolent with anger and sorrow, Fife's poems also extend an invitation for non-Aboriginals to sit "as equal partners at the banquet table of mother Earth." Preceding poetry titles were Beneath the Naked Sun (1992) and Speaking Through Jagged Rock (1999). Born in Saskatchewan in 1961, Fife graduated from the En'owkin International School of Writing and has edited Gatherings, Volume II (1991) and The Colour of Resistance (1994). She has moved from British Columbia to Winnipeg.


Gatherings, Volume II, editor (Theytus, 1991)
Beneath the Naked Sun (Sister Vision 1992)
The Colour of Resistance, editor (Sister Vision, 1994)
Speaking Through Jagged Rock (Broken Jaw Press 1999)
Poems for a New World (Ronsdale, 2001)

[BCBW 2005]