The following is a message Joab Bearskin delivered when Cree social workers asked him for help.

I can only share with you how we dealt with problems long ago. I cannot tell you this is how to deal with the problems— this is the way you have to deal with it. For today you as leaders, workers, you are faced with more new complications that touch every aspect of our native culture. This is the time to use your skills, new skills, knowledge which you have acquired or gained. It is time to start to put your new skills to work.

You’ll find sometimes that your solutions, ideas, won’t seem to work. Don’t let this make you fall. You stand taller and try again. Maybe another way, but in time you’ll find the almost successful way. I can only share with you, to tell you, but I won’t tell you this is the way to do it. From this you’ll find a way to deal with problems, to use similar strategies to how we dealt with our problems.

As problem-solvers, life-solvers, you’ll find many times it seems so difficult and not easy, especially in dealing with life when two worlds are in conflict or somewhat clashing together. It won’t seem easy at times—many times. So it’s time to start to use your new skills. You’ll realize in time that life is not long, it seems short.

As heard, interpreted and understood by Irene House, NNADAP worker, Chisasibi.