Read a Poem from Mi'kmaw Poet Rebecca Thomas

Experience Indigenous poetry.

i place you into the fire poetry

Though Rebecca Thomas is half Mi'kmaw—her father is a residential school survivor—she did not grow up on a reservation, and was raised by her non-Indigenous mother. 

“Because I don’t speak the language, because I don’t live in the community, because I’m not a drummer or a dancer, I am somehow viewed as less ‘native’ than those who live on reserve or speak their language,” says Thomas

Still, Thomas reconnected with her roots, and now uses poetry to educate about the inequalities still faced by many Indigenous people in Canada. After winning multiple poetry competitions, Thomas went on to become Halifax Regional Municipality’s poet laureate.

Since then, Thomas has published I Place You Into the Fire, her first print poetry collection. Keep scrolling to read a poem from her searing debut.




I Place You Into the Fire

By Rebecca Thomas

 I’m Finding My Talk


I’m finding my talk.

The one I never had.

The one that the schools took away from my dad.


I’m finding my talk 

one word at a time. 




Sometimes they are very old. 

Sometimes they rhyme.


I’m finding my talk

when I’m up on the stage 

telling big stories

or scribbling words on a page.


I’m finding my talk. 

I’m meeting my family. 

I’m making new friends 

who choose to love me.


I’m finding my talk 

with clumsy feet

that pat down the grass 

with every drumbeat. 


I’m finding my talk

with every bead.

My regalia speaks

through each stitch and seam.


I’m finding my talk.

It’s in my smudge bowl,

when the smoke curls around me 

and makes me whole.


I’m finding my talk,

how it’s written across the land, 

learning to take only what I need. 

Netukulimk helps me understand.


I’m finding my talk

through my community. 

From Elders to kids,

this world is still new to me.


I’m finding my talk

by speaking to my father, 

by loving him,

by being his daughter.


I’m finding my talk

by speaking with my sister, 

knowing we’re different, 

and I miss her.


I’m finding my talk

through my nephews and nieces, 

teaching them they are complete 

with all their different pieces.


I’m finding my talk,

it’s on the inside.

It’s how I see the world, 

through not one, but two eyes.


I’m finding my talk

and it may take some time,

but I’m learning to speak 

in a language that’s mine.