The following is part of a series of recordings that have been aired on the liskwaau Kischihuun program on the Chisasibi Radio Station. We would like to thank the Chisasibi Radio Station for their cooperation. Transcribed and translated by Brian Webb. As told by Maria Scipio.
There is happiness when working on traditional food. When one enjoys working on the food that has been harvested and really tries to respectfully clean it, that person is very happy because she knows the food will not spoil. I, too, am very happy when I work on food and when I have finished respectfully cleaning the food, I am happy because I know it will not rot. There must be many women who are also content when they accomplish their task.
Young girls are required to really try hard to clean food. Compared with the past, it seems now that harvest of food is decreasing. We, the older generation, crave meat when we haven’t eaten it for a long time. What food we see in front of us, we should really respectfully clean it and not throw any of it away. When girls don’t know how to respectfully clean food, they should still be able to do it if they really try by watching someone doing it. Some young unmarried girls are very capable of working on food when they really try to make an effort to do it and are not too pitiful when they put effort in working on food. A girl who is capable isn’t pitiful when her mother isn’t there to help her to respectfully clean the harvested food. One’s mother can’t help her all the time. When a girl’s mother is not available for guidance and she sees someone else working on something, that girl can still teach herself a great deal by copying what that person is doing.
Some people are very pitiful when they are not capable doing stuff that they are supposed to do themselves. When they are not capable and don’t even try, they are still not to blame because they were not taught how to do that certain task. Others would be happy when they are taught how to properly clean meat If she puts effort in it, she will not be unsuccessful. At first because she is unable to make it the way she is supposed to make it, a girl will be disappointed with what she has made many times. But if she makes it again, she will improve on the task she is working on. Some girls are very attentive when they are taught properly. When she is capable in making all the stuff she wants to make, she is happy and isn’t worried in making stuff.
At the dump, I did not like the sight of goose thrown away. Even though I am not that old, I still know it is not the way it is supposed to be when food is thrown away. And there are people who are frustrated when they are unable to catch game because they are eager to eat game. When a woman has properly made the meat, she is happy because she knows she can just cook it any time. And when someone just freezes the wings without cleaning them, later on she thinks it is a hassle when she wants to clean them. I think others just throw away the food they haven’t cleaned. When food is not cleaned before it is frozen, it cannot be just cooked right away. That is why one is required to clean food and to make it look proper as soon as it is brought in. She should remember that sometimes it seems that waterfowl hunting is not very good compared to what was harvested long ago.
I remember before there was electricity to freeze food, people dried the meat so it wouldn’t spoil. I also recollect that I,, too, completely dried meat so it would not spoil. Even when there was no place to freeze food, the women did not throw any of the food away. They completely dried the meat they had and stored it for any length of time. In the past, the people also prepared and stored fat in sacks. When fall arrived and there wasn’t much food to be eaten, the people ate dried goose. After dried goose was boiled for a longtime, it was very tasty when eaten with some fat. There used to be great joy when someone had many dried geese. When the people first moved to the area and made their dwellings where they would spend the winter, they cooked and ate the dried goose that they had prepared.
Another thing I wanted to talk about is not to let people let their children, those who stay outside, look too scruffy. That was how we were taught even when it was difficult for us to keep our children clean every day because of how they make themselves look when they were outside. People should also know what their children have been eating because the little children do not know what they are required to eat. When the children come in just for a while, the parent should clean them even though that parent knows the children will be scruffy soon again. Some children look pitiful when they dirty faces and that is why people should clean their children when they put them to bed. Be sure to clean them before you put them to bed so they will look nice when they sleep. Since clothes are easy to wash today, parents should not let their children’s clothes get too dirty. When our children were small, we scrubbed clothes on the washboard and when we got washing machines that run on fuel, we were very happy because we thought it was very easy for us to keep our children’s clothes clean.
All grandparents love their grandchildren and when they see them cleaned, the grandparents are happy. That is how I want things to be for my grandchildren, to be cleaned and well taken care of. I always love children whenever I see them. That is why I want people to really take care of their children because parents are very unhappy when they see their children sick. When there is food, parents should feed their children properly when they are that size.
If someone really tries to be capable in making something, that person will not be confused. In the winter, a child should wear something that is warm. Even when the mother has money, she should not just get the stuff from the store for the things she will use for her children. It will be easier for her if she makes the mitts and boots herself. Sometimes it is warmer for the child when something is made for him. The child has a better fit when boots or mitts are made for him to wear. A mother isn’t pitiful and worried when she tries to make something for her child to make them look proper and be warm.
What I really want are parents to make their children happy, clean them and put them to bed early. What I most don’t like to see are children not living very well. A child always remembers what he has seen and when that child has been taken care of properly, he is happy. A child seeing his parents inside and doing well is what I really want-children to have a sense of well-being and to be taken care of and to be cleaned when they go in before they go to bed so they will look nice when they sleep.