Category: Rez Notes

The one and only

Thirteen years ago, staying at the Val d’Or Friendship Centre and enjoying their hospitality and my anonymity, my cellphone rang. It was Catherine Bainbridge calling me with an offer I could not refuse: to take over the writing of the then-infamous Reznotes column. I asked her what had happened to ... read more ››

The medium is the message

Long ago, when books were rare or unheard of, storytelling was the way to pass on wisdom, humour, dirty jokes, tragedies and just plain old information. Then along came the Bible, which was translated into a new written language called syllabics, or “mi-me-mo-ma,” as some liked to call it. In ... read more ››

Harvest Moon

Neil Young’s classic song Harvest Moon plays on the local radio, wafting through the halls and rooms of most homes, their doors wide open to welcome the warmth of a late fall season that most people call Indian Summer. This usually happens after September 21, when the day and night ... read more ››

The hunter and the beast

I’ve got to say that autumn is one of my most anticipated seasons of the year. Moose break had begun. This is when I am most at my best as a camouflaged Cree wandering around Shashikan. I feel 100% a man. Spending time with Dad is also an opportunity for ... read more ››

Blueberry fields forever

Recently, a cousin of mine appeared as a guest speaker at a conference in Whapmagoostui. Having known him as a young man, the encounter made me realize how quickly time flies. His greying hair reminded me that my own hair, which is turning transparent, and really didn’t match our youthful ... read more ››

The curtain call

The curtain is slowly dropping on the summer and the symphony has begun to play a few autumn tunes as I am still standing in Wemindji in my Ralph Lauren Vintage Chino shorts. I spent my whole summer in the Cree territory and I did not even catch any “peckle ... read more ››

Escape from the News

One of the ways I keep in touch with what’s happening in the world is by surfing news programs and other shows among the hundred or so channels on my television satellite system. I happen to like the old-fashioned movies because they make me laugh about how tough their times ... read more ››

Bumping along the highway

Follow the Yellow Brick Road and you’ll end up in the land of milk and honey! If only that Yellow Brick Road was paved gold with no huge cracks that have been scotch-taped, deep potholes and treacherous 18-wheelers whizzing by you like bazooka-propelled rockets. I am talking about the infamous ... read more ››

Mayday for mayors

I can’t go a day without hearing of some politician from the south getting blasted in every medium over the corruption and collusion scandals that have hit the Montreal area during the last several months. What really gets me is that this corruption has happened over and over again and ... read more ››

Exams for all…

If you are a student or parent of one, it’s that time of year again. June signifies the annual exam ordeal. I’m not sure who is more excited about the exams, my daughter or me. I recall the old days when I was in a similar situation. A hundred kids ... read more ››


“Dad, what’s a hippie?” My daughter wonders about such things. I reply, “A hippie is the opposite of the straight, narrow-minded, war-mongering people and peace and love were the code words of those days.” Also, groovy, cool, hip, dude, chick among many other slang words. Then, what’s a yuppie? My mind ... read more ››

Fifteen minutes later…

One of the many talents I learnt from some very smart people is that time has values. Time for this and time for that both have different values, but in all cases, time has some sort of face value. Time is precious it turns out and it’s the way you ... read more ››

A journey of a nation

I watched the progress of seven intrepid young men on their epic walk from Whapmagoostui to Ottawa, much of it by snowshoe. At first I was sceptical, thinking that perhaps they might come to their senses and give up, but they didn’t. Their walk to express the need to come ... read more ››

A woman’s life

It was once said that the Creator made woman before man and she was enamoured with one of the demi-gods and still is to this day. The Creator, frustrated with the way things turned out, made woman out of man and the rest is basically the birds and the bees ... read more ››

If I were a chief…

  When I was young, I often wondered about those guys who seemed to expel a lot of spit while hollering at the top of their lungs at other people. They often looked riled up enough to speak out, but would hold their tongues, until it was their turn to rant ... read more ››

Tax? What’s that?

I was perusing through the many or should I say, thousands upon thousands of comments on Chief Spence’s hunger strike and the Idle No More movement, and most comments I could see were made by people who really have no idea of what this whole thing is about. One of the ... read more ››

Festive food delights

The best thing about Christmas is all the great food that everyone produces at this time of the year. I have great respect for those who choose to cook for their family and friends for special occasions, like the festive Christmas holiday season. This year, I decided to take on ... read more ››

IT cold turkey

Recently, the weather has been acting up and in some cases, the weather was so bad it cut out the power in certain regions and communities. Power outages seem to be the new social enemy as many people depend on the merits of electricity. But where does it come from, ... read more ››

Being human these days…

For a long time, some of my heroes were star athletes who, of course, were in incredible shape and were often world-record holders. Since those days, many of their records were broken and some stars slowly turned off, their twinkle never to be seen again. Some athletes, however, went on ... read more ››

On the eve of all hallows

Once a year, around this time, the sun’s rays start to struggle their way through often-clouded days, telling us that winter is just around the bend. Other seasonal indicators tell me that moose heads will rest on truck hoods everywhere (for those who don’t practice the art of sport hunting), ... read more ››

The ATM refused me

I put my card in the ATM, and it said to me, this card is no good. And I said, what kind of crap is this? My money is good everywhere. Then I discover that our own bank is on a mission to liberate our money from the grasps of ... read more ››

Pencil sharp

The school bus honks its horn, the first sign that school is about to start the first day. I look out and scan the neighbourhood, the little kids anxiously waiting to get to the first class of the year. Lucky kids, I think, getting on a real school bus. Back ... read more ››

Fests galore

The mini rollercoaster zooms by with screaming people, the other cries come from far above on another wild ride… yes, it’s summer time folks. Time to relax, sit back and enjoy what the southerners like to call amusement parks. The screams debate, just for a minute, then climb into the ... read more ››

Vote for me (if you want to live)

Remember when the once buff Arnold, as the Terminator, extended his hand to a distraught woman, asking her to come with him to escape a barrage of bullets and the wrath of another human robot bent on destroying any chance of humanity for the future? Well expect the same act ... read more ››

Beach blanket boogie

Once in a hot while, the thought of hitting the beach seems to be just the solution for cooling down anyone from north of 52. Just a thought, though, as I am one of those unfortunate few who just can’t stay afloat or flounder about enough to keep breathing. I ... read more ››

The gambling man

  One of my first exposures to gambling involved a lot of risk and small stakes (little wooden stakes were inserted into the ground). A coin toss would ensue and the art of coin throwing was a simple yet elegant precision casting and being sure-footed helped a lot. The object was ... read more ››