I’ve got to say that autumn is one of my most anticipated seasons of the year. Moose break had begun. This is when I am most at my best as a camouflaged Cree wandering around Shashikan. I feel 100% a man. Spending time with Dad is also an opportunity for me to hear stories from his childhood and it seems that almost every “listening spot” tells a story.
I love these moments. I believe that these times will some day soothe me when my Father enters his golden sunset. I love moose break! I love the fact that we, the Cree, have cultural breaks and I especially am proud of the people who actually go out into land and not into the land of Disney! To each their own.
Moose fever will be sweeping Eeyou/Eenou Istchee by the time this is published and I am pretty sure that some of you would have indulged yourselves on Oujad. Not my favourite – I am a filet-mignon-type of guy, and so is my friend Judy’s son, Sage, who also loves the finer things in life.
Killing a moose boosts your testosterone by an insane amount. You position yourself like a Green Giant over the dead beast and you think to yourself: “You da man!” Basking in the moment is short as you hear your dad say, “Cut the throat, ear to ear, son!”
This part always makes me emotional. I don’t know why but I try to channel my ancestors to give me a heart of great courage. But that always fails, except I am always graced with a whiskeychan! I do at times shed a tear if my kill is a smaller game. Mother always said I watched too many cartoons as a child. Hey, we’re all made different. Cutting a whole moose or two is something else and transporting a one-ton leg is no fun for my delicate waif look.
Seriously! This kills my Green Giant moments all the time! Dismembering a moose is a sacred method that one should master in order to become a true Cree hunter. Am I there yet? After countless moose under my belt, apparently not yet. This year I will pull out my iPhone 5S and upload images of my kill onto YouTube. This way, my avid loving followers can also learn with me with just a click of a button.
As I write I am in Waskaganish at the Elders Council’s “Waptiwaataou Nishiiyuu Kishchuwin” gathering. I must say throughout the day I have heard that we must keep our Cree cultural traditions alive. Each Elder was encouraged to pass on the knowledge, the expertise, and the wisdom to our Cree youth. Each father and mother was encouraged to do so as well. Teaching a child their history, the culture from the beginning they will never depart from it. They will remember it.
My father is instilling in me what his dad instilled in him. I am grateful for the great moose. I am grateful for our land, but most of all I am grateful for these cultural breaks that bring my family closer, especially for Dad and me. Enjoy these moments my friends, we are not promised for tomorrow!