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An opening blessing

Last week, member of the Saugeen First Nation, Dr. Duke Redbird shared an original poem in honour of the unveiling of Brian Jungen’s Couch Monster: Sadzěʔ yaaghęhch’ill, at the corner of Dundas and McCaul.

Brian Jungen, Couch Monster: Sadzěʔ yaaghęhch’ill detail 1

Brian Jungen, Couch Monster: Sadzěʔ yaaghęhch’ill (2022). Bronze. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Commission, with funds from Government of Canada/Gouvernement du Canada, Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program, The Renette and David Berman Family Foundation, Charles Brindamour & Josée Letarte, Bob Dorrance & Gail Drummond, Angela & David Feldman, Hal Jackman Foundation, Phil Lind & Ellen Roland, T. R. Meighen Family Foundation, Partners in Art, Paul & Jan Sabourin, an anonymous donor, and with funds by exchange from Morey and Jennifer Chaplick, 2022. © Brian Jungen.

The AGO’s first-ever public art commission, Brian Jungen’s Couch Monster: Sadzěʔ yaaghęhch’ill, is now at the corner of Dundas and McCaul Streets. The work arrived in Toronto in June 2022, and at the artist’s request, the installation was blessed in an intimate ceremony led by Dr. Duke Redbird, an Member of the Saugeen First Nation, ahead of its public reveal. 

Redbird recited an original poem for an intimate crowd, dedicating it to the new sculpture.

Take a look at his poem below, entitled A Dish With One Spoon


The Indigenous Nations
Welcomed settlers from across the seas
When they arrived in their territories
Such beauty revealed before their eyes
Was beyond their ability to describe
In all the languages that the Settlers spoke
There were no words that could evoke
With any clarity a single thought
That Mother Nature’s splendor brought
It was from the Indigenous tongues
That they learned the language of the Earth
In all Her idioms
Trees standing in the water
A meeting place where small fish could gather
Nearby hills where Alders grow
That was called Etobicoke
In the autumn before the winter snows

The passenger pigeons rested in MIMICO
And to the west where the Great waters flow
The lake and lands were called ONTARIO
The eagle soars high with prayers for MANITOU
The MISSISSAUGA people smudge
And launch their birch bark canoes
Three sisters: corn, bean and squash
The planting season has begun
Tobacco is offered a gift to Grandfather sun
Sage, sweetgrass and cedar to Grandmother moon
There is peace, joy and contentment
In the treaty lands called
A Dish With One Spoon

A Dish With One Spoon
Dr. Duke Redbird ©
November 2, 2020


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