In February 28 a group of students and I, led by our two teachers, Patrick Monturo and Nil Gagne, started our journey from Chicoutimi to the reserve of Mistissini.
For nearly a week we experienced everyday life with two native families. We stayed in beautiful tipis surrounded by the lovely winter landscape of the Great Mistissini Lake. At the time I thought there is no better place on earth to live.
Each of us had to study a part of your culture, customs and habits. We were shown how to net fish, trap, tan the moose skin and cook the beaver. Your ancestral culture is fascinating. We also saw how you now work along with the white system. The band council was very kind to show us how they deal with the community and the government.
The wrong conceptions that the white culture taught us fell apart. In fact, I saw and met friendly people smiling, caring, true and carrying a great wisdom.
My friends and I will never forget the night when we watched the Northern Lights, dressed in green, dancing in the sky. Plus the last evening when we danced all together to the song of the violins.
Our high-speed living style slowly broke down to make place for your day-to-day living style. Your notion of time was completely new for us and appeared to me as a revelation to give time to the spirit to relax and meditate. As we closed our eyes, quietly sitting in the tipi and listening to the fire cracking slowly, we could feel the spruce aroma vitalizing all our bodies.
Afterward, we found it very difficult to settle back into our own environment. No matter what the majority of the people think, this won’t ever change what we learned and built in your contact. We are working to break down the prejudices in our circle.
On behalf of my friends and teachers, I wish to thank very much the Mistissini community for the time, knowledge and wisdom they shared with all of us during this unforgettable stay. Life is not the same for us today. Thank you again and good luck!