A photo of Alanna Bluebird-Onespot with an eagle feather
  Alanna Bluebird-Onespot | Photo: Blaire Russell

By Meng Wei

Alanna Bluebird is an Indigenous spoken-word poet. She started writing poems when she was in Grade 8. 

She uses her gift of language to tell stories of the people who have walked this land on Treaty 7 territory for centuries, as well as to heal.

 

In 2020, for the first time ever, Alanna Bluebird published a poem for her daughter into a book.

 

“It was all meant to be going towards my vision of an artist, and how I want to develop myself,” she says. “I felt like this was a perfect opportunity to create a book.”

 

Coming from Siksika Nisiitapi and Tsuut’ina Dinatii, she has inspired Indigenous youth through words of healing and empowerment in her performances across nations.

 

“Our people are very verbal. We have an oral tradition where 500 words are passed down exactly the same for thousands of years, nothing has changed, and that’s how we kept our traditions alive.” 

 

Indeed, moving to publishing was a big step for her, but in the end, the beauty of collaboration and the power of creation came through in The Light Within. The poem was published with every word of her own, the illustration by her sister, and the Tsuut’ina translation by her grandfather. The book is for her daughter Lindey.

 

“I’ll show her and tell her ‘this was for you,’ and I’ll read it to her and eventually she’ll understand what I’m saying in the book.”

 

Now working as the resource development assistant at the Tsuut’ina Gunaha Institute, Alanna plans on taking this experience even further as an artist, carrying the legacy to the next generations and sharing with them the ancient Indigenous culture. 

 

Just before bedtime, we’ll see mothers holding their babies in one arm, surrounding her with a book of love and spirit and read, “I am the wisdom that you carry from the past life, carrying generations of strong DNA, a light that guides your path…”