by Stan Louttit
Kawastehksuut (number 9) and Saachiniipinuko (Signs of Summer) were my grandfather and grandmother. In the early 1920s, Kawastehksuut and Saachiniipinuko traveled the land and waters of Eeyou Istchee (people’s land) by foot and canoe. They hunted, fished and trapped to keep themselves and my mother’s siblings alive. Today, my grandparents’ legacy and the importance of their traditional skills are still spoken of by my mother and her remaining sister.
Growing up in the 1970s, I became aware that my community lifestyle was very different than Kawastehksuut’s and Saachiniipinuko’s hunting way of life. I am the son of an Eeyou Anglican minister and Eeyou traditional mother who immersed my siblings and I in two ways of knowing the world. From my father’s influence, I am also a university-educated person who lives a “blend” of Eeyou and non-Eeyou tradition, language and culture. I would like to share with you some of what I have learned from Eeyou Elders about our people’s history, the hunting lifestyle, hunting drum, hunter’s song, dance and other aspects of Eeyou culture.
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