Our second victim modestly left the “Claim To Fame” and “Title of your Autobiography” parts of the cree@large interrogation sheet blank for us to fill in.
Bertie Wapachee came up through the ranks of the Cree youth movement’s hierarchy, starting with secunty at the first World Indigenous Youth Conference in 1992. He held almost every post on the youth council until 1996 when he was elected Youth Grand Chief. Today he is also president of Cree Eeyou Productions Inc., the man responsible for bringing Cree youth together to record an album of pop songs.
But it hasn’t been that easy a road for this serious, thoughtful, soft-spoken Nemaska native. At 19 he found himself behind bars facing serious charges. “I didn’t care anymore, ” he says of his incarceration. In a fateful stroke of luck and following a courtroom performance straight out of Midnight Express at his sentencing, the judge did the unthinkable. He showed mercy and Bertie walked out a free man.
When that 1992 conference in Quebec City ended, Bertie checked into a treatment center where, as he says, he received the “only diploma in my life. ” It was a way of “getting back respect from people and at the same time giving back respect, ” he says.
In a swing with my mom singing a lullaby.
Shoe-boy at the (Nemaska) General Store.
If you could clone anything what would it be?
My cowboy boots.
Coffee, cigarette and on the phone with my laptop.
Macs or PCs?
To wake up one day and find out that this life was all a dream.
Preferred travel destination.
If you could meet Bill Clinton what would you say?
How does one become a Mas’n?
Your pick for Honourary Cree.
The Mayor of Rouyn, Pierre Grandmaitre.
Idea of a romantic evening.
Moonlight out on the beach with GPW.
Best line from a movie.
“Go ahead, make my day” – Clint Eastwood.
“You gotta do what you gotta do”
Last movie seen.
Devil’s Advocate starring Al Pacino.
How you would like to die? k Knowing I’ve done my best with a smile.
Song you would like played at your funeral.
Good Bye Joe by Hank Williams.
Favourite line from a song.
“Every time you go away you take a piece of meat with you” (something along those lines)- Paul Young.
Everything, except my singing.
If you were an animal which would you be?
Bear for its wisdom. Wolf for its fearlessness and Wolverine for its strength.
Last book read.
Most embarrassing moment.
Telling David Cliche to speak English on national TV when I wanted to say Cree.Who were you in a previous life?
The arrow that killed Custer.
“To go where no Cree has gone before” -Paul GullWeaknesses.
Don’t have a university degree in psychology, political science, law,communications, public administration business administration.
Your choice for Cree of the year.
The Late James A. Shecapio, my friend.