My husband, Walter Posno, and I are from The Netherlands and visited Eastmain two years ago. We were interested in the Native lifestyle but we were a little disappointed by visiting Waskaganish. It did not look like the Indian village we had imagined and so we went a little further north to Eastmain. It looked very much like Waskaganish, but it was smaller and due to Laureen Paul we stayed.
She told us about the Cultural Day and the Walking Out Ceremony the next day. We had to see that! So we camped in her backyard and the next morning we saw the Walking Out Ceremony of four small children, two boys and two girls. We were so impressed seeing them walking on earth for the first time and immediately thought of coming back once we would have a child.
Our son Quirijn, is now 13 months old and we traveled once again to Eastmain to take part in the ceremony on May 27. We dressed him in partly traditional Cree and Dutch clothes. Winny had made a white smock, an ammunition bag and a back-pack for the sweeties. I had made Indian-like trousers.
Quirijn was not allowed to touch the earth in Holland until the ceremony. On some beautiful days it was difficult not to put Quirijn in the backyard. Some of our family and friends did not understand why we wanted to travel so far just for a ceremony.
But for us, the moment our son walked out of the teepee for the first time touching the earth on his wooden shoes, was very special!
He is the first Dutch and European boy to ever participate in the ceremony.
The wooden shoes were the attraction of the day for the Cree people. We left a dozen wooden shoes for the kids in school as a souvenir.
A lot of Eastmain residents wrote a wish for Quirijn which is very valuable to us.
We participated in all the traditional rituals and helped with building the teepee, plucked the goose and joined in the feasting. The school arranged someone to bake a banana-pie for Quirijn, and Quirijn received a dreamcatcher as a present from the school.
The star of this story let everything happen on this special day and enjoyed all the hugs of the Cree people! We will show him the Cree Nation area when he is older.
We want to thank all the people of Eastmain and especially Laureen Paul, Ron Zachari, Marjorie Mark, Jamie Moses, Adrian, the teachers and last but not least, Jimmy and Sheila who were the event-grannies of Quirijn.