“I’m back in the swing of things, I’m slowly going back to work,” Cree Grand Chief Matthew Mukash said after a recent two-week stay in a Montreal hospital. His health is now fine, he claimed, despite the extended hospital stay for internal bleeding due to an ulcer.

“I know that people were concerned, but as the doctor told me it wasn’t a life-threatening incident, it was a matter of finding where I was bleeding internally. By the time they found it, it was already closed up. It was healed,” he said.

Mukash says he’s slowly getting his stamina back, but that he’s still not attending very many meetings.

“I lost some weight after I went to see a nutritionist to show me how to eat right. Basically it’s a whole new start for me because I was quite sick in the spring.

I was feeling arthritis and my joints were really hurting because of the medication I was taking for the pain. The combination of medications didn’t go well together and it irritated my intestines and that’s what gave me an ulcer.”

He added that he “won’t take those pills again.”

The Grand Chief promised to take care of his health and eat the right foods to rebuild. The medication was destroying the lining in his intestines so he must be careful to eat well for the next few months.

“I won’t be able to eat raw vegetables,” he explained. “Fish is okay and meat is okay, all the basic foods we eat in Cree territory, as long as I’m careful with drinks or foods that are acidic. It’s important to control the acidity in my intestines.”

Mukash received calls, gifts and flowers from well-wishers and was told that many people in Eeyou Istchee were praying for his return to health.

“I wanted to thank the people for their support,” he said. “Prayers are the strongest medicine. I truly believe that. Having people pray for me helped me to regain my health.”

Mukash also said that he is trying, at least in the short term, to slow his hectic schedule down. So for now he will be sending Deputy Grand Chief Ashley Iserhoff and Political Attaché Donnie Nicholls to various meetings on his behalf.

“I have to try not to overexert myself,” he said.