Melissa Bennett (Umatilla, Nez Perce, Sac and Fox, Anishinaabe) is a writer, storyteller, storylistener, macondista, educator, spiritual care provider, divinity school survivor, witchy woman, tarot reader, and aspiring beadwork artist living in the Pacific Northwest.
Melissa Bennett's poetry is featured in the first two issues of Survivance: Indigenous Poesis Zine, a collection of Indigenous poetry published by R.I.S.E.: Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment and which highlights Indigenous narratives in order to heal, inform, empower, and mobilize Indigenous communities. Influenced by the social impact game Survivance, this collection of poetry came together and acts as a bridge between Indigenous tribes from the colonized lands of Canada and the United States of America.
Purchase SURVIVANCE: Indigenous Poesis Survival Pack which includes all three volumes of the compelling and rad work of 16 contemporary Indigenous/First Nations poets including Melissa Bennett HERE.
By Melissa Bennett (2017)
The women will hear the ink bleed onto the paper They will hear the words come back to them
And the ones from before
the ones who make us crazy
The women who matter
And once I commit their story,
that is also my story,
to the page
We’ll have to own it
The husbands we did not love
The lovers we did
The babies we did not want
The ones we did
The ways we were supposed to be women
Secrets they thought were left in the Blue Mountains
behind the church at Tutuilla
at the mouth of the Columbia
in the cold grey water of the Pacific
will rise up as ash, as fragments of bone, as droplets of blood
and join together to form a cloud
one ghost made of many women
And She will stand at the foot of my bed
Waiting for this to finish
Waiting for the release
And I will be responsible for not only my liberation
By Melissa Bennett
I want antenna hair.
Hair that tells me when you are good,
Hair that tells me when you are bad,
Hair that tells me when to run and when to come close.
I want medicine hair.
I want peyote on my breath hair,
Cedar on my skin hair,
Huckleberry under my fingernails hair.
I want I’m still alive hair.
The kind of hair that brings all the ancestors back home.
I want hair that tells you this land is Indian Land.
That I’m not going nowhere.
I want Standing with Standing Rock hair.
I want prayers for the water hair.
I want Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women back home hair.
I want Blue Mountains hair,
Grandma survived the crazy hospital hair.
I want hair that says I am beautiful,
I am strong,
I am creative,
I am loved,
I am loving.
I want to dance with this hair,
Write poems with this hair,
See the path made of stars with this hair,
Find my way to my heart