This time of year represents a fresh new beginning and a rejuvenation of sorts. It also represents an important time in the lives of everyone in Eeyou Istchee.

Goose Break, as numerous people have told me, is a time to reflect, a time to share, and a time for the community to act with everyone’s interests in mind. This is something I feel that my people, the Mohawks, have lost in the last few years.

At times it’s hard to think of my community of Kanesatake as a place of togetherness when so many people have their own agendas. As I’ve said before in the Nation, the Kanesatake I grew up in was and still is strife with family squabbles and deep-seated dislike for one another.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everyone is like that, but negativity speaks ten times as loud as anything positive, and that seems to be all we’re hearing from my reserve these days.

But I digress; I’m not here to speak about Mohawk troubles.

I see Goose Break as a very special time. Native people down south no longer take this time out of their busy lives and schedules to get a chance to experience the thrill of the hunt.

Mohawk people do still hunt, but it’s more for sport than survival.

I respect the elders who are still out on their trapline, and who continue to hunt and trap for a large part of the year. This is an inspiration not only to younger Cree, but also to other Native people such as myself.

I see the love in the communities and I feel good inside when I hear about the sharing that goes on during Goose Break. Sharing and helping others is something we should never take for granted.

I’ve been with the Nation for two Goose Breaks now and although it’s too late to go out into the bush this year, I look forward to participating next year.

People who follow the traditional ways and live the way our ancestors did are far too few these days. I often wonder what life in the north will be like in 50 years and how it will affect these traditional pursuits. I hope it stays the way it is, but if my people and the way we do things today as opposed to 100 years ago are any indication, change could be imminent.

As a wise man once said change is good. In this case however, I think he was sorely mistaken.