Vera Ruth Manuel
I’m sitting here thinking over this past year. I’m thinking over a whole lifetime together with Vera. I’m thinking of Vera’s whole biological as well as her extended traditional family. I’m thinking of all of the many relatives who she spent time with on her travels through her years of working as a trainer. The years afterwards, as she had to stay closer to home, turned out to be a blessing. She became involved more with her writing and her poetry. She struggled for many years for the belief & privilege of calling herself a writer. She came to realize that it was through her work as a trainer that her writing was ignited and brought to life. She had always been a poet but being united with her poetry family brought her great happiness and fulfillment. This also brought her closer then she’d ever been to realizing a lifelong dream. Her dream of almost becoming a published poet was so close to becoming a reality. I’m excited to share her works are continuing to be prepared for production by friends and family.
My mind gets very full when it embraces the world of my sister. There are so many people that we couldn’t even begin to count the lives she has touched in special ways and the close relationships that she had developed with so many. Then I think about the children who meant so much to her both near and far. They were the main reason that she fought so hard and worked so tirelessly. The more her health deteriorated, the harder she fought to get those last few words out onto the page. In her final year she shared that she had no time to waste with anything other then the truth. She wanted so much to make a difference in the world. Her writing was full of truth and hope for the future.
I think about her one daughter Simone who passed on to the spirit world at birth when she was 19. I’m thinking about the chaotic amazing experiences that we had together in California as young women. And I’m remembering first coming to know ourselves when our mother brought us, so quickly & urgently back home to our Ktunaxa & Secwepemc people. I’m thinking about our mom and dad, grandparents, great grandparents and how much they shared and sacrificed for us to be here today. I’m thinking about my beautiful brothers and sisters. I’m thinking about my daughter, my nieces and nephews and my grandnieces and nephews and the new babies who will be coming into the world this year!
Through out all of these thoughts, a piece of poetry or story comes to mind. It brings forth floods of tears while at the same time warms my heart and brings a smile to my face. I think that this is the essence of Vera that most have come to know so well and love so much. She has left so very much of herself with us, to continue to love over and over again and most importantly, pass on to our future generations.
Emalene (Arlene) Manuel
Kulilu Palki’s Ka nana (Butterfly Women’s Little Sister)