What is the meaning behind "These are wintering words" by Dumont, and how does the wording show their meaning or their symbolism?

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"These Are Wintering Words" is a poem written by Marilyn Dumont and first published in a collection of poetry entitled "The Pemmican Eaters." The poem celebrates mixed race heritage, and serves as a counter-argument to those who may have racist attitudes towards people of mixed race ancestry. The poem is at least in part autobiographical. Marilyn Dumont is, like the person described in the poem, of Cree/Métis ancestry.

The poem is about a mixed race person born of "one parent / French," and another "Cree/Salteaux." In the poem, Dumont proclaims that this mixed race person is "not less not half not lacking." This person is instead "doubled" rather than "half." The person is "not mixed-up, nor muddled," but is "twice the language" and "twice the culture." The fact that Dumont has to repeatedly insist that this person is not, because of his or her mixed race heritage, less than anybody else, implies that these negative assumptions are widespread.

In her poem, Dumont celebrates the person's mixed race heritage, and indeed her own, and she does this in part by using words from both the English and French languages. For example, she describes waterways which are "white and dangerous with Ojibway women à la façon / du pays." The French part of this quotation translates as, "the way of the country." The poem is perhaps richer, and has more depth, because it draws on two different languages, and the implication is that the person described is also richer because of his or her ability to draw upon two different cultures.

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