After the 215 but knowing there were more . . .

Who was not careful with our babies?
What are their names? Did they have a family?


It’s too easy to blame this on just one church, it took a village to

steal our babies

Day after day
Month after month
Year after year
Decade after decade


I want to know the person, the people
I don’t want to let them hide behind the silence of history
The excuse of being a part of a cluster of monsters
I want to see into their past, hoist some of our trauma unto them


How did they reconcile the loss of our babies with possessing their own lives,
their own experiences . . .
their own right to breathe.


What number of breaths did they have that our babies did not?
How could they breathe with the knowledge that they stood

upon our babies,

the babies they deprived of life?


I take a breath for each and every baby, hoping I am taking one away from the monsters who stood over them,
as they cried to come home


One last breath to come home.


One last breath to get away.


Amanda Fayant is a Cree/Métis/Saulteaux/French writer and artist from Treaty 4 land (Regina, SK).

Questions and Answers

1. How/where do you find inspiration today?

I feel that inspiration finds me and sometimes I just have to write down thoughts, ideas and feelings. When I am out walking or at home singing, I am sometimes struck with an idea or poem that just has come out in some way, and so I write them down on whatever piece of paper I can find.

2. What inspired or motivated you to write this poem?

The news of the unmarked graves at the residential schools in Canada and in my home land hit me hard. Residential schools are a part of my family history and although I knew this to be a truth, it was hard to experience. I cried the entire time that I wrote this poem and I know I will cry for more for those whose spirits are finally free.

This poem “After the 215 but knowing there were more . . .” originally appeared in Canadian Literature: 252 Canadian Literature (2023): 128.

Please note that works on the Canadian Literature website may not be the final versions as they appear in the journal, as additional editing may take place between the web and print versions. If you are quoting reviews, articles, and/or poems from the Canadian Literature website, please indicate the date of access.