An Identity Crisis

By Garry Gottfriedson b. 1954 Garry Gottfriedson
I certainly know who I am . . .

I can get away with being politically incorrect.
I am the ambassador to First Nations’ poetic expressions
& as Kinsella pompously put it straight
“I have the license to do so.”

what a magical way to escape tyranny!
just like Trudeau & Chrétien hiding beneath cowboy hats

nevertheless & back to the point,

call me cowboy
call me First Nations
call me aboriginal
call me native
call me chug
call me skin

if you must,
but never call me Indian.
I call myself that!

& if you feel guilty when I say so,
this is not about postcolonial rhetoric
it is about an identity crisis

Garry Gottfriedson, “An Identity Crisis” from Whiskey Bullets. Copyright © 2006 by Garry Gottfriedson. Reprinted by permission of Ronsdale Press.

Source: Whiskey Bullets (Ronsdale Press, 2006)

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Poet Garry Gottfriedson b. 1954


Subjects Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Race & Ethnicity


Poet, teacher, and rancher Garry Gottfriedson is a member of the Secwepemc First Nation. Born into a renowned rodeo and ranching family in Kamloops, British Columbia, Gottfriedson earned an MA in education from Simon Fraser University; he  also studied creative writing at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado.
His works include 100 Years of Contact (1990); In Honor of Our Grandmothers: Imprints of Cultural Survival (1994); . . .

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Poems by Garry Gottfriedson

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Race & Ethnicity


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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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