The words of Maria Brown, Chipewyan Elder, from Fort Smith, NWT.

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The words of Chipewyan Elder Maria Brown from Fort Smith, NWT. Photo by Gladys Rehm
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And so I said, "Look up at two [trees] across the street," I said. "Did you see that black and white standing together?" I said, "God has made it," and I said, "Whenever the white one; it gets tired, it gets so old; he leans on the black one. They never, that black one, never pushes it away. They both get old together like that. And then whenever that Spruce gets tired that's same thing." And I say, "We are the roses in heaven. We're all different colors. But we're the roses. That's the way God made us. The people, the white people they have, well they got no choice. They had to be born white but who made them that way? It's God made us, made us black. But I never did look at the color. I look at it as a person. So I know the person has to look at the truth. Don't start saying things to a white, don't say things to Indians because they're black because that they have no choice. That's the way God made us, that's the way God made water. You see the mountain? It's different colors and that the roses. And I had seen my friends in Yellowknife, I know her so good in Fort Smith and when I met her she didn't look the same because her face is all turned black because some had frozen on her at the dump, she told me. Don't have to put that one down but. And when I met her and I called her name at the coffee shop and she said. "Oh, Mrs. Brown, you still look the same. Look at me the way I look I'm so ugly." And I said "M-" I said "in Heaven we're the roses," and she died inside of a week after and she said, "You made my day."

"No matter how we look,' I said "in heaven we're the roses for God."

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richardvancamp