Indigenous Arts & Stories - Where I'm From

Where I'm From

2019 - Writing Winner

"I am from the smell of cedar wood burning (orange bits in the air, too hot to the touch, yellow and brown on the ground.)"

Read Danika Smith's Where I'm From

Danika Smith

Duncan, BC
Age 18

Author's Statement

This poem was inspired by George Ella Lyon. One day I remembered about the poem they did so I started to think about my memories from the past three years. When I was on the canoe/tribal journeys, I thought about when I did Tzinquaw dancing and singing when I was in elementary school, most of my cultural experiences over the years that I have done.

In this poem I thought about where I was happy the most when around a lot of people, and also seeing other people enjoy themselves. Writing a poem to me, it means to acknowledge the beautiful things that go on around life, to be in the moment that the particular actions happen. My poem is about just some of the experiences that I was a part of, along my journey. It is what I would consider to look at whenever I would want to smile because it reminds me of that one special moment when I was truly happy with what I was doing in that time of period. My poem is about the joy's in life that happen a lot to anyone, although it may not be what they have enjoyed once, but it is what made me happy. This poem is my happiness


Where I'm From

I am from the pounding on the deer skin,

from sounds of clinks of small paddles.

I am from the smell of cedar wood burning

(orange bits in the air, too hot to the touch,

yellow and brown on the ground.)

I am from the vague grey fog in the air, with

tears coming slowly down my cheeks.

The cold air embracing me with open arms,

the cries of men and women loud enough for me to hear across the room.


I am from the splashes against the water to move

us forward.

The beat of Nuts'a' and Yuse'lu as I

hear a loud and clear "Thuy'Thut" from

our skipper.

I'm from the darkness as my canoe family and I are pushing

ourselves as we move forward in our canoe.

From my grandmother talking loud for us to

watch the person in front of us to be more in sync as we paddle.

I'm from jumping off the canoe into the nice

cold water as my first time being

with that canoe family and to cool off.


I am from dancing in a regalia with other girls,

singing our hearts out

from using small paddles to make Cheetahs

drumming sound louder.


I am from those moments-

where I hear people laughing as we

have a seaweed fight before we

got to We Wai Kai to We Wai Kum.