Since arriving from James Bay, I have turned over many times in my head all the teachings I’ve learned. Some of the best lessons were ones I initially fought the most.

My name is Stephane Wuttune. I am 25 and a Plains Cree (my friends always say “plain cree”) from the Red Pheasant band area in Saskatchewan. My mother is a French Canadian and I am proud of that side of my heritage as well.

In coordination with the Cree School Board, I was hired on a tour that took me from Waskaganish and Waswanipi to Mistissini and Chisasibi. Between April 11 and June 1, I spoke in schools about my experiences growing up with nature and how I learned to communicate with the animals using their own sounds.

For the secondary levels, I incorporated bushlife humour and rather serious teachings given to me by Elders regarding what to expect in coming years and how as a nation we are going to have to cope with change.

To tell you the truth, being a young person and seeing so much confusion and pain amongst our people is almost more than I can take. And as a man I’m not at all ashamed to admit that at times I’ve had to retire back into my hotel room, light up a braid of sweetgrass and let the tears flow.

When I stood at the top of the immense power dams at LG-1, LG-2, 3 and 4,1 felt like a germ beside a beaver dam. Then my eyes riveted towards the power lines and how they made the landscape look like a spider web—a very deadly one I may add. My message to the youth is: do all you can to prevent further destruction of the land and above all trust your Elders. Hydro emits a slow poison, and they’re hungry for more.

Just remember not to get caught up in the: trap of politics. The real battle will be fought on spiritual levels.

On a lighter note, going to goose camp and trying new foods like beaver, otter and others was awesome! And because I’m in the midst of so much healing myself, getting to go out in the bush and become grounded was exactly what I needed.

Fora week and a half, Dianne, her husband and I stayed in camp with her relatives in the Matagami region. We hunted, sell nets, watched how to skin beaver, pluck geese and much more. What an experience!

I stayed for roughly five days in Great Whale, in the company of Lisa Petagumskum and her grandparents. We ski-dooed out to camp and there I got the tremendous opportunity to listen to mushom’s teachings—after getting a lot of wood cut and a few bagfuls of fresh snow of course.

There are so many funny | things that happened. I can still hear the roaring laughter of the women as they watched me pluck my first goose and how no matter how hard I tried, the down would still be flying all over the place. It looked like it was snowing in camp that night!

I have a lot of thanks to give. Namely, to Dianne Reid and Janie Pachano, who hired me for the tour. And also to the Elders who were so patient and kind in their teachings. Special thanks as well to the kids whom I’ve spoken to. You kids may not have realized it, but often I feel I am learning more from you!

And lastly, to the older teens. Learn all that you can. And remember that the power of one who follows the path of the heart is infinitely stronger than thousands who walk worn trails. You are not alone.

Until next time!