Here are a few words touching Smally Petawabano, as I found him when he was Chief in 1969.
“Smally was the chief when I first went up to Mistassini in 1969. He was running the band out of a tiny, rundown hut, and like many other chiefs across Canada at that time, he was a transitional figure, somewhere between the old hunters and the newly educated youth. He could remember the days when to pick up supplies they went south in canoes to meet the train at the railhead when it was first built across the north – a long journey in those days. He became one of the English-speaking young leaders who had to carry the Cree response to the James Bay hydro project: and he was undoubtedly the more effective for being so closely connected to the traditional way of life. He gave me a set of handmade Cree snowshoes that I cherished for many years; but when I recently had to sell my home, I donated them to the Odawa Native Friendship Centre in Ottawa, who were more than happy to have them.”