Student Voices: 4-65 | Work of Arts
Student Voices: 4-65 | Work of Arts

Student Voices: 4-65

Indigenous student blogger shares her thoughts on the Faculty of Arts Aboriginal Gathering Space

Student Voices is a WOA blog feature that presents the experiences and viewpoints of current Arts students. Through their posts, you’ll experience the creativity and passion of our students as they present glimpses into student life. The views and opinions expressed within these posts are solely those of the authors.


This is a poem I wrote in the Aboriginal space in room 4-65 in the Humanities Centre. I wrote this while thinking about the layers of history we have within a place – and what it means to be in a place. I constantly find myself as an Indigenous student questioning the walls within this institution – and it brings me strange places.

Sort of like this poem. I write when I feel injustice, I write when I am angry. But make no mistake, this poem does not mean I’m not grateful for the Aboriginal space; I love the fact that Lori Myers (the Faculty of Arts Aboriginal Student Advisor) works tirelessly to bring that room to us. I just don’t feel that the academy should capitalize from our work as Indigenous scholars who are Indigenizing the academy, nor should it be taking credit for the efforts we make to make space for ourselves.



4 – 65

four –
where have I heard that before
colonialism got in the way of
four places of being categorized as
spiritual, emotional, physical, psychological
four colors on the medicine wheel –
skip one we’ll come back to that


Treaty 6
4 – 65 is on Treaty 6
Treaty six
An agreement made between two sovereign nations
But one of them caused generational alienation
Towards “Canada”
‘s confederation
was built on my peoples bones
all across turtle island,
is my home
where my ancestors roamed
well before colonialism turned this river lot into
Aboriginal space 4 – 65


back to you again
when I was five years old I was already plagued with disease
dis eased by the social constructs tube fed to me
while in my mothers womb
before I had a chance to speak I had the weight of my peoples pain passed onto me
intergenerational trauma was the only thing promised
that early in life
putting me at a disadvantage,
from the rest of the babies in their mothers wombs
in 1996 Canada already fucking me dry,
Before I had a chance to open my eyes
Tube fed trauma
by colonialism
the tube connecting back to 1492
when Columbus got drunk and lost and washed up on the shores of my cousins
down south
didn’t know what was coming
intergenerational trauma is pushed through the tube
from 1492 to five year old Tarene
dis eased
white settlers
who would have thought
the hopes and
the dreams
of the new world
would kill mine
before I had a chance to see with my own human eyes


Aboriginal space, 4 – 65 Humanities
Where is the humanity in calling me
Prefix for
Away; from – original
I am the original turtle islander
We are the originals
Of turtle island
Of nêhiyaw territory
Of treaty 6
So why then
Do they call us aboriginals?
Ab – original, away; from original
Is not Indigenous
But we are Indigenous to Treaty 6
Where Aboriginal Space, Humanities 4 – 65 is located
On Papaschase
Gave me a little bit of his blood
Before he was displaced from this space
Now for,
Away; from originals
Break down the suffix,
Doesn’t sound quite right to you does it?
Despite the taste of a Canadian dollar left in my mouth
I love
Ab original space
Is a nice place to be
In the ivory tower
Needs to be painted red
With the blood Papaschase gifted to me


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About Tarene Thomas

Tarene Thomas

Tarene is a Gitxan, Tahltan, Haisla, and Nehiyaw fourth year English major focused on Indigenous Literature. She is a poet, writer, shameless scribbler, facilitator and actor. Tarene works as an instructional assistant for the transition year program at the U of A, and also as an Indigenous peer mentor for the Faculty of Arts. Tarene is interested in dismantling the system, and writing as revolution.