October 2, 2000
This poem was written by Fred Arrance. Fred was born St. Boniface, Manitoba in 1956. His mother is from Pine Creek band, Northern Manitoba. His father is Metis, born in Leark, Saskatchewan. Fred himself grew up in Prince George, British Columbia, where he lived from the ages of 3 to 8 years old, and he had four brothers and 5 sisters. He ran away from home when he was 10 years old and ended up on the streets of Vancouver. He became a ward of Childrens Aid from the ages of 11 to 17, and he went from one group home to another. From the streets, Fred learned who to trust and how not to get caught. He lost 13 members of his family: sisters and cousins - to the streets, through substance abuse and violent deaths. Today, Fred is involved in First Nations and disability issues in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. He uses writing as a way to stay busy and as a kind of therapy to keep his mind healthy, and away from drugs.
Where are you - our elected chiefs?
Do you care what's happening on the skids?
Are you blinded by money
And can't see the problems?
Your people are here:
We need our leaders to get involved.
Systemic genocide is happening to Indian people
And what are you really doing for the off reserve ones?
Quit pretending you care!
Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
Indian people need your support.