The New Inquiry: Born Under the Tobacco Flower, and Raised Under the Lis

Featured Image: Courtesy of The New Inquiry

There is a Quebec saying, “Né sous le lys et grandi sous la rose,” meaning, “Born under the lis and raised under the rose.” With this sentiment, the Quebecois are using the analogy of the French fleur-de-lis and the English rose to argue that, while they are colonized by the English, they will always be French. My adaptation in the title of this piece is a reference to the Haudenosaunee who resided in Tio’tia:ke prior to French occupation—who were born under the tobacco flower but raised under the lis in nearby Kahnawake and Kanesatake—whose continued presence here reminds us French claims to sovereignty are asserted standing over the bodies and bones of the Black slaves they kept, and the Indigenous peoples they decimated and continue to decimate by occupying these territories as a settler. Just as Andrea Smith coined the pillars of heteropatriarchy—the pillars of Quebec sovereignty are, despite its partial home in leftist movements, Indigenous genocide, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and anti-Black racism.

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