Neil Stonechild Went Out With His Summer Shoes On by Ronald Shields

They are called Starlight Tours.
Given on the coldest nights in Saskatoon.
Police pick up a drunk
First Nations People mostly,
maybe throw an elbow,
or the butt of a club in the gut,
then he is handcuffed,
thrown into the backseat.
Driven out past the power station
maybe knocked around a little more
depends on how much he protests.
Then left to find his way back to town
in the dark, in the cold, in the snow
sometimes with shoes and a jacket,
sometimes not.


Later when the body is found
stiff, frozen to the ground
lips frostbite black, nose split,
a broken lump on his purple swollen face
we are told just another drunk Indian
who couldn’t find his way home
so he froze to death.
That’s what the official explanation –
accidental death actually means.
Neil Stonechild was not an ignorant person.
Oh for sure he was drunk
but even drunk the kid had more sense
than to go out with his summer shoes on.