Neil noticed that there was a depressing lack of doodling at the GCCEI/CRA AGA in Nemaska this year. I don’t know if the delegates were less artistically inclined this year or saving them for making something they could sell to tourists and Crees alike. It would be a horrible thought if the Nation’s printing of past doodles stifled a delegate’s freedom of expression. I really enjoyed them, myself.
Of course maybe things were just a bit more serious this year. The Cree entities came under a bit of questioning but it wasn’t anything they couldn’t handle.
The evenings were more fun with a bunch of different shows. They had karaoke to Cree musicians performing.
Got to see an old friend in the form of Morley Gunner. Asked him he was going to perform Your Cheating Heart and said the last time I listened to him do that song was about six in the morning at a community wedding reception. He said that was about right.
Neither of us even had to mention we no longer do the six in the morning thing anymore.
But I thought I was there when I heard Ashley Iseroff singing the karaoke version of When The Lions Sleep At Night. In the Jungle, the mighty jungle I am joking of course.
I missed Morley that night he was serenading Nemaska. I was in the bush doing a Sweat Lodge ceremony with a bunch of old friends. Larry House put on the sweat for us. Neil and myself went picking blueberries for it. It’s always good to partake of the land’s bounty. Neil though got an eye swollen due to the black flies. Thank the creator it wasn’t his camera eye. Of course, Neil “forgot” to have me take a picture of him. That would have been one for the wall of infamy.
Got to go fishing with Roger Orr. He caught them all whilst I tried out borrowed equipment. Can’t blame Roger for saving the best hook for himself. After all, it’s not often someone gets the best of a Mistissini fisherman. Joking again, but I learnt where Nemaska got its name. Yes, there are fish in thar hills.
One day a group of Youth from all over Eeyou Istchee came paddling in during lunch hour. I checked them out and their strokes were strong, perhaps a prophecy of the gathering strength of the Youth movement in Cree land. Neil and myself joined the delegates for a meal. It was a feast featuring goose. I salute and thank the cooks for their expertise in creating a meal fit for a king.
These are the things I remember best about the AGA. Not the reports and presentations, as interesting as they were, but the moments that surrounded any Cree AGA. It is the
social participation that I find is as important as the political and economic components.
In the end some important decisions were made. Sadly they weren’t ready at the time of printing so they will be ready for your perusal in the next issue.