ARTICLES BY Xavier Kataquapit

Many elders affected by arthritis

Several weeks ago I saw a gaggle of geese flying south. It seemed to me that the end of August was a little early for them. They made their presence obvious with loud honking while flying in that familiar V shape. I learned early on from my Elders that the sight ... read more ››

It’s been a long time coming

There is a lot of activity happening in Canada’s northern regions. We always knew that resource development would happen some day near our remote First Nation communities. After all, we are surrounded by millions of acres of untouched forests. Very few people know what lies under the rock and the ... read more ››

Falling Leaves and Geese

I sat in the back yard the other night to enjoy the warmth from a southern breeze blowing into town. I had noticed, a few days earlier, that a flock of geese had been flying high in the sky on their way south. Even though it was warm, I had ... read more ››

Wild garden of memories

There is a jumble of images, sounds and moments I remember from my childhood. Yet I am sometimes surprised at how a distant moment in time can appear in sharp focus in my mind. From time to time a memory will suddenly awaken in me when I hear a song ... read more ››

Nature’s power

In the early morning hours the other day, I awoke to the sound of light rain outside my window. It felt good to stare into the dark and listen to the familiar rattle of rain falling on a tin roof. I was warm and comfortable and thought about all the ... read more ››

X-Files of the North

When you stand alone in a vast forest or by the great James Bay, hundreds of miles from the nearest village, there is at first a great sense of loneliness. However, when you are from a remote Native community that is full of chaos and confusion, the loneliness and silence ... read more ››

The big life of a little orphan

Can you imagine an orphan surviving in the wilderness along the James Bay coast near the turn of the last century? Can you then imagine that same orphan ending up with a family of eight children of her own, 52 grandchildren and over 50 great grandchildren? Well, that is the ... read more ››

Shee-kak, or the one who squirts

There are only a handful of animals that we fear on the James Bay coast. Most of these creatures are strong and powerful. These include the black bear and polar bear mainly because they can easily outrun a person on just about any terrain. Wolves and wolverines are considered dangerous ... read more ››

Damned if you do and damned if you don’t

It is that time of year again when we all head out into the warm weather to soak up the sun and get some fresh air. It is also a fact that we have to put up with a multitude of biting insects. I am a bit of an expert ... read more ››

Meegwetch to my friend Emily

My friend Emily McGrath was like a bright beautiful flower. For someone in her 80s, she had a lot of energy. Emily woke early every morning out of a habit she kept after retiring from the Abitibi paper mill in Iroquois Falls. Her days were filled with keeping the kitchen clean, ... read more ››

Feeling like winners

It is the end of another long and exciting year of high school in the south and myself and my teenage cousins and friends are flying north. It is 1989 and I have just completed my first year of secondary school in Timmins. Forty of us are crammed inside an ... read more ››

The Cree quest for the perfect body

The strongest and fastest individuals have always stood out in our Cree culture. After all, back when we were a nomadic people, the strongest survived through cold winters and lean summers. Life out on the land meant you had to have some strength in order to hunt, trap, fish, travel ... read more ››

When Tikta’liktak Came To Attawapiskat

School was always a place of refuge in our remote community. I almost always looked forward to going to school. I remember one special day in particular that changed my perception of Attawapiskat. Our teacher started every morning with daily announcements. This day got off to an exciting start with ... read more ››

Hair raising experiences

Someone asked me the other day if it was time for me to get a hair cut. As a matter of fact, I have not had any shears, scissors or stylist touch my head in over a decade. I understood why my friend asked me about getting a haircut. After ... read more ››

Put a cap on it

Young boys share many common fashion trends and wearing a cap probably tops them all. Most boys in the north consider wearing a hat as a normal part of the dress code. It is almost a necessity to wear a cap at one point in your life up here in ... read more ››

Multimillion-dollar power projects coming for Kapuskasing River

Chapleau Ojibwe and Brunswick House First Nation leaders announced February 15 that the two bands have signed an agreement with a Montreal hydroelectric firm to develop several power projects. The partnership with Hydromega Services Inc. is the culmination of several years of development and negotiations that included the Wabun Tribal Council ... read more ››

New life announces Spring

For my people, the James Bay Muskego Cree, spring represents hope, change and replenishment. This is the time when the geese will begin to fly back to us so that we can eat. It is also the time when the animals and the land are on the move. It has been ... read more ››

The boy who chased the polar bear

I had the chance to spend some time with my older brother Anthony this week. He is the traditional person in our family and every time I visit him I learn a little bit more about the traditional Cree way of life. It doesn’t matter where I meet my brother, ... read more ››

Dress for the cold and slow down

There is almost always a perception that as a Native person from the James Bay coast, I have seen my share of freezing weather, so therefore I am immune from the cold. People think that because I have been exposed to severe winter weather from the time I was born ... read more ››

Changing the meny

Everyone loves a plate of French fries. We all know how bad they are for our health, but we inevitably convince ourselves that one serving won’t do us that much harm. At least, this is what I tell myself whenever I sit down to enjoy my favourite fried food. A ... read more ››

Wahgoshig First Nation signs gold mine deal

A golden opportunity has been announced with an agreement between Wahgoshig First Nation in Northern Ontario and the Apollo Gold Corporation. Representatives from Wahgoshig and Apollo Gold, a major gold mining and exploration company, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a new working relationship at the First Nation administration ... read more ››

All about babies

I met a new member of the family this past week. My younger brother Paul and his partner Theresa are proud parents of a new baby they named Lynniah Lacy Victoria Stephens. Lynniah was born at 8:48 am on January 19 and she weighed eight pounds and six and a ... read more ››

Tis the season to be jolly

I always feel great relief to see January arrive after the holiday season. There are many happy and merry moments during the Christmas season, but there are times when most of us might just want to stop and get away from it all. I like the idea of Christmas being a ... read more ››

Life in a box

Hi, my name is Xavier and I am a video game addict. Now of course I am joking but video games can be addictive. I broke away from video games for many years because I considered them childish. After all, I was getting older and I thought I would grow ... read more ››

Easy does it on the slippery road

I took a short drive through town the other day to pick up a few groceries. I went to put the brakes on but to my surprise, my truck did not respond. Being a northerner, I quickly realized I was slowly gliding along on a sheet of ice. My mind ... read more ››

Close encounters of Cree kind

Recently, I went walking with a friend in the Northern Ontario town of Iroquois Falls. There isn’t much going on at night in town. Most of the buzz is happening around the arenawhere games of hockey always seem to be going on. There is little traffic and very fewpeople on ... read more ››