Indigenous Arts & Stories - Borders Within Borders

Borders Within Borders

2018 - Writing Winner

Kaylan Wang

Richmond, BC
Age 18

Author's Statement

I faced many adversities growing up as a women of colour. As the descendant of Chinese immigrant, I often found myself fascinated by my roots yet afraid to share my discovers. The few times I was able to gather my courage and express my passion for my roots, I am mocked. How un-Canadian of me they said. Thankfully I received many support from my Asian-Canadian Community. As I grew to embrace the Chinese side of myself, my Squamish roots remained untouched. Non-indigenous communities claim that I am just Chinese. First Nation communities view me as Métis. Métis communities often do not see me as one of them. In this country, we draw lines to divide cultures and race. Within the Indigenous, walls still exist. I express this in the first stanza. In the second stanza, I use metaphors to show the dying Indigenous languages and cultures. That still does not necessarily mean all Indigenous cultures are helping each other out as the concept of “their problem is not my problem still exists”. In the third stanza, I convey we are all linked. It doesn’t matter if our entire family has been living on this land since the beginning of time or half our family is composed of newcomers. We are Canadians and we share an Indigenous ancestry.Borders should not divide people in this county. I am Métis. I do not expect to be accepted immediately, but I am patient and will wait.


Borders Within Borders

Our country is made of lines and divisions.

Every mapis a nesting place for boundaries - this one's home, that one's a culture,

this is us, and that is them. Borders come to us too easily, I think, and with each new one we draw,

we distance ourselves a little further. Our houses and belts widen, and we draw more borders.

Colours, vibrant and full of life, become just another reason we can abuse and injure and turn a blind eye to

our fellow man, from clothes with varying shades to skin of another hue.

We love our borders, and so when the way they speak, or worship, or live do not match our ways -

it makes it easy to say this is us, and that is them.

Even if the difference is slight.

Those that have a little bit of more than one vivid story cannot belong.

They are nowhere- no one.


It makes it easy to see their houses crumble and their families shatter, and when they beg for refuge

we convince ourselves that their lives are just folklore, their deaths are statistics.

There are too many barriers separating us from them,

so many that we convince ourselves that they must not be real, their blood must not be red, their dreams must

not be meaningful. From our screens we see them weep,

we feel a brief, passing sorrow and soon after we revert to this is us, and that is them.


Our world should not have lines, nor divisions.

There is only one World after all, whether a one is born as the First or the Mixed,

They are born free and equal in dignity.

There will be no borders between them and their rights.

nor between us.

For now, however, we still cling onto the borders within borders.

I am young, and perhaps in my old age I will hear

"This is us, that is us, and the country is our home."