cahkâpêsh kâ-natôkaminât mistamiskwa - Chahkabesh reaches for the giant beaver

Xavier Sutherland

Chahkabesh discovers a group of giants hunting beavers and despite his sister's warning never to approach them, he finds them again and, upon their taunting, snags a beaver out of the water. However, the beaver does not belong to him and when he runs off with it (breaking a giant's arm when they try to stop him), they come to his home and, not finding him, abduct his sister instead. Quickly, Chahkabesh finds his bow, follows them and kills all the giants to save his sister. Together they return to their home and make broth with the beaver meat and melted snow.

StoryTeller Xavier Sutherland Community Peawanuck (Winisk)
Age/Level preschool Language Swampy Cree (n dialect)
Year Recorded 1960-62 Year Last Edited 2010
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings Genre

mâwaci-oskac ê-takoshinowâkopanê ininiwak ôta askîhk - The arrival of people here on earth at the very beginning

Simeon Scott

Long ago the land we know as Canada was empty. People lived in another land, up above. An unseen voice asked a man and a woman, if they would like to go to another land down below. They agreed and went to see Spider to get there. They did not heed his warnings, however, that only one person may look down from the spider's line and, when both looked, they fell into the great eagle-nest. They were rescued by a wolverine and a bear. The bear taught the pair the ways of life on this new land. This is why the bear is respected and considered a wise person. When the White-Men came, they were interested in the Indians' coats and skins, but the two groups of people did not understand each other.

StoryTeller Simeon Scott Community Kashechewan (Fort Albany)
Age/Level preschool Language Swampy Cree (n dialect)
Year Recorded 1955-57 Year Last Edited 2010
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings Genre

cahkâpêsh kâ-isî-nakwâtât pîsimwa - How Chahkabesh snared the sun

Simeon Scott

One day, as Chahkabesh is looking for sustenance, he sees a trail leading over a ridge. He wants to know who created the trail and so he lays a snare. He returns home and forgets about it until the next morning when dawn never comes. His sister wonders what could have happened and then Chahkabesh remembers his snare. Sure enough, as he approaches it, he finds the sun unable to move. He cannot get close enough to free the sun without getting burned, and neither can other animals except for the mouse with the pointed nose who gnaws through the snare. That is why the mouse looks singed now.

StoryTeller Simeon Scott Community Kashechewan (Fort Albany)
Age/Level preschool Language Swampy Cree (n dialect)
Year Recorded 1955-57 Year Last Edited 2009
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings Genre

cahkâpêsh kâ-kî kohcipânihikot mishi-kinoshêwa - Chahkabesh is swallowed by the giant fish

Simeon Scott

When Chahkabesh wants to go hunt near the lake where the big fish live, his sister tells him to be careful not to lose his arrow in the lake or he'll be swallowed by the giant fish. Chahkabesh doesn't listen and when he tries to shoot at eagles, his arrow falls in the lake and he goes in after it. When he doesn't return home, his big sister worries and hooks the giant fish in the lake to see if her brother is inside it. As she begins to cut the fish's belly, she hears her brother's voice telling her not to cut too deeply or she will cut him too. When he's free she tells him never to go into the lake again.

StoryTeller Simeon Scott Community Kashechewan (Fort Albany)
Age/Level preschool Language Swampy Cree (n dialect)
Year Recorded 1956-57 Year Last Edited 2009
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings Genre

cahkâpêsh nêsta mâka maskwak - Chahkabesh and the bears

Simeon Scott

Chahkabesh finds tracks leading up a hill and wonders what animals are making them. When he tells his sister, she warns him that those are the animals that killed their parents, and that he was never to go looking for them again. Chahkabesh agrees but doesn't mean it. Instead he fashions arrows that can break even stones and when he finds the bears, he shoots one arrow that kills them all. He guts each bear but can't find his parents. When he tells his sister, she admonishes him but he ignores her again. Then, he goes outside to get snow and his big sister warns him not to look up at the moon but he does anyway and is drawn up and stuck on it forevermore.

StoryTeller Simeon Scott Community Kashechewan (Fort Albany)
Age/Level preschool Language Swampy Cree (n dialect)
Year Recorded 1956-57 Year Last Edited 2009
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings Genre

wîsakêcâhk ê-âtanôhkâsot kâ-kî-niskipotênik ômêniw askîniw - The legend of Weesakechahk and the flood

Simeon Scott

When a flood covered all land, Weesakechahk built a raft to save himself and gathered creatures onto it. He decided, however, that he wanted to make more land and so he lowered the creatures he had down into the depths of the water to gather earth from the bottom. The first animal drowned on the way and the second, a muskrat, was near death when Weesakechahk blew it off and collected the earth from the creature's claw. Weesakechahk told the wolverine to run around in circles until the land was so large that the wolverine never made it back. Then, Weesakechahk made his way North, leaving signs of himself behind, and he was found at the end of the land by two men. One asked to live long enough to see his children supporting themselves and Weesakechahk granted him this, the other asked to live forever and Weesakechahk turned him into a stone.

StoryTeller Simeon Scott Community Kashechewan (Fort Albany)
Age/Level cycle 2 Language Swampy Cree (n dialect)
Year Recorded 1956-57 Year Last Edited 2009
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings Genre

wîsakêcâhk kâ-itâcimikisot nêsta pinêsiwak kâ-papâmihnâcik - Weesakechahk and the birds who flew south

Simeon Scott

Weesakechahk wished to eat the birds with whom he lived and so he hosted a dance and bid them all to sway with their eyes closed. The loon, however, was suspicious and opened his eyes to see Weesakechahk snaring the birds and he warned the others, so Weesakechahk kicked him in the back. That is why the loon has a flattened back, they say. After Weesakechahk left them, Shingibish began to take two wives. But when he saw that the loon was covered in beads and looked handsome, he worried the loon would steal his wives and warned his wives not to leave him. The loon approached and stole Shingibish's wives anyway and that night, in revenge, he took a heated up chisel and shoved it down the loon's throat. That is why the loon has a dark-coloured throat, they say.

StoryTeller Simeon Scott Community Kashechewan (Fort Albany)
Age/Level cycle 2 Language Swampy Cree (n dialect)
Year Recorded 1956-57 Year Last Edited 2009
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings Genre

cahkâpêsh nêsta mâka mistâpêskwêwak - Chahkabesh and the giant women

Xavier Sutherland

Chahkabesh hears a strange sound, which his sister tells him is the giant women collecting wood in the morning. He promises his sister never to go back but the next day he returns to where he heard the sound, equipped with a bladder of fish-fat for a snack. As he nears the place, a whiskey-jack alights near him and he kills it to wear its skin and fly into the giant women's camp. When they discover the whiskey-jack, they figure it is Chahkabesh and try to boil him to make a broth but he opens his fish-fat bladder to stop the boiling. When the women come to look at the cauldron covered with fat, Chahkabesh bursts out and pours the broth all over them, killing them. He also kills the wounded giant whose arm he broke before.

StoryTeller Xavier Sutherland Community Peawanuck (Winisk)
Age/Level preschool Language Swampy Cree (n dialect)
Year Recorded 1960-62 Year Last Edited 2010
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings Genre

cahkâpêsh kâ-nakwâtâkopanê pîsimwa - Chahkabesh snares the sun

Xavier Sutherland

Chahkabesh finds what appears to be a blazed trail and wishes to set snares to trap whatever caused it but his sister forbids it because that region is where the sun walks when it rises in the morning. Chahkabesh does not heed his sister's warnings and sets a trap where the sun walks. The next morning, both brother and sister wake up early but the dawn does not arrive and they figure it must be because Chahkabesh actually snared the sun. He sets off to free it but the sun is shining too hot to get near so he asks his friend, the littlest mouse, to gnaw through the snare line so the sun may walk again.

StoryTeller Xavier Sutherland Community Peawanuck (Winisk)
Age/Level preschool Language Swampy Cree (n dialect)
Year Recorded 1960-62 Year Last Edited 2010
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings Genre

cahkâpêsh kâ-kî-kohcipanihikot mistamêsa - Chahkabesh is swallowed by the giant fish

Xavier Sutherland

When Chahkabesh shoots an arrow at a bird and misses, it lands in the lake. He is too afraid to retrieve it, however, because of the strange creatures creating ripples on the surface. He tells his sister about it and she warns him never to return to that lake because if he goes into the water the fish will surely grab hold of him. Chahkabesh ignores the warning and jumps into the lake the very next day and is promptly swallowed by a fish. His sister grows worried when he doesn't come home and goes to the lake herself and hooks the fish that swallowed him. She slits the fish down the middle and saves Chahkabesh.

StoryTeller Xavier Sutherland Community Peawanuck (Winisk)
Age/Level preschool Language Swampy Cree (n dialect)
Year Recorded 1960-62 Year Last Edited 2010
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings Genre

wîsakêcâhk kâ-pimiwatêkopanê onikamôwiniwat - Weesakechahk carries around his song bag

Xavier Sutherland

Weesakechahk lures many birds into his trap by refusing to sing outdoors for them and instead building a wigwam for them with snares all over. He instructs the birds to dance according to his song lyrics so that when he sings of eyes closing, they close their eyes and when he sings of dancing with their necks together, that's what they do. That is when he pulls on the snares and chokes the birds. The loon gets suspicious of the noises, however, and when he opens his eyes, he runs away. Weesakechahk kicks him in the back, flattening the loon forever. Then, Weesakechahk decides to bury the dead birds and cook them in the hot sand but he is robbed overnight and discovers only the feet still in the sand.

StoryTeller Xavier Sutherland Community Peawanuck (Winisk)
Age/Level cycle 2 Language Swampy Cree (n dialect)
Year Recorded 1960-62 Year Last Edited 2010
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings Genre

wîsakêcâhk kâ-wayêshîhâkopanê maskwa - Weesakechahk tricks the bear

Xavier Sutherland

Weesakechahk joins a bear that is gathering berries to fatten up and discovers that the bear cannot see well at all. Despite the bears reservations, Weesakechahk convinces the bear to let him crush berries into his eyes, claiming that this remedy is what cured his own eyes. When the bear's eyes start to burn, Weesakechahk tells him to close them and meanwhile fetches some stones and beats the bear to death. As he begins to cook the bear, he realizes that he's not hungry enough to eat a lot so he asks two trees to flatten out his stomach so that he can eat but the trees trap him between them and tell the forest animals to go eat the bear. When Weesakechahk finally frees himself, nothing is left for him except the liver and innards he'd thrown aside earlier. This is a lesson about not throwing food away when it is plentiful.

StoryTeller Xavier Sutherland Community Peawanuck (Winisk)
Age/Level cycle 2 Language Swampy Cree (n dialect)
Year Recorded 1960-62 Year Last Edited 2010
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings Genre

wîsakêcâhk wêhwêwa kâ-wîci-pimihnâmâkopanê - Weesakechahk flies south with the waveys

Xavier Sutherland

Weesakechahk comes upon a flock of waveys getting ready to fly to a place where it is never winter and he wishes to go with them. The leader of the waveys gives him permission to go with them but the trip is delayed as the waveys must eat heartily to fatten up. Then, after purging and cleaning themselves, the flock and Weesakechahk take off in the middle of the night with strict instructions to only look in the direction they are flying. Someone calls out to Weesakechahk as he is flying, however, and when he looks down to see who it is, he is shot and his wing is broken. He plummets to the ground but he does not die, he gets up and walks. They say that is why wavey geese are never killed by falling out of the sky.

StoryTeller Xavier Sutherland Community Peawanuck (Winisk)
Age/Level cycle 2 Language Swampy Cree (n dialect)
Year Recorded 1960-62 Year Last Edited 2010
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings Genre

nâpêw kâ-kî-kitamokokopanê wâposhwa - The man who was devoured by rabbits

Xavier Sutherland

This story teaches children not to laugh at anyone who is in trouble. There were once two families living together during winter who lived mostly on hunting rabbits. One day, one of the hunters came back earlier than expected with blood covering his hands from a rabbit bite and was laughed at by his companion. His companion thought he was inept and that angered the hunter who decided to cast a spell on the one who laughed at him. The next day, the companion went on the rabbit hunt and was confronted by waves of increasing numbers of rabbits until there were too many to kill. The rabbits feasted on him and all that remained days later were his bare bones on the snow.

StoryTeller Xavier Sutherland Community Peawanuck (Winisk)
Age/Level cycle 2 Language Swampy Cree (n dialect)
Year Recorded 1960-62 Year Last Edited 2010
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings Genre

nâpêw kâ-kî-mâkomikot sakimêwa - The man who was bitten by mosquitoes

Xavier Sutherland

This is a lesson about abusing creatures. Once there was a man who, during the hot summer, was repeatedly stung by mosquitoes because he had nothing with which to kill them. Later, he collected all the mosquitoes in a jar and when winter came, he took his revenge by spreading them outside so that they froze instantly. When spring and summer returned, however, the mosquitoes came back and never gave him a moment's peace, no matter what he did or where he went. That's why creatures shouldn't be abused, because they are defenseless and such actions bring requital on the person committing the atrocities.

StoryTeller Xavier Sutherland Community Peawanuck (Winisk)
Age/Level cycle 2 Language Swampy Cree (n dialect)
Year Recorded 1960-62 Year Last Edited 2010
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings Genre

tipâcimôwin awahkânak ohci - About animals kept as pets

Xavier Sutherland

When Xavier, the narrator, was a child, his family had a beaver for a pet. During the day he slept but during the night he worked hard at cutting willow sticks until there was a pile blocking the door. He worked hard to close the door completely like he would on the river and in the morning he would be asleep.

StoryTeller Xavier Sutherland Community Peawanuck (Winisk)
Age/Level cycle 2 Language Swampy Cree (n dialect)
Year Recorded 1960-62 Year Last Edited 2010
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings Genre

nikik ê-itâcimikosit - A story about an otter

Xavier Sutherland

Xavier, the narrator, used to have an otter as a pet. He slept at night and was up early in the morning but returned to bed in the afternoon. In winter, his family would cut two holes in the ice and tie a string around the otter's paw. The otter would dive into one hole and come out the other, effectively placing the string for the net under the ice.

StoryTeller Xavier Sutherland Community Peawanuck (Winisk)
Age/Level cycle 2 Language Swampy Cree (n dialect)
Year Recorded 1960-62 Year Last Edited 2010
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings Genre

ôko wîna okâshakaskiwêsiwak - About hawks

Xavier Sutherland

Xavier, the narrator, used to have hawks in his family's care from the time when they didn't even have feathers yet. They ate a lot of fish, once a day, and when they grew bigger they didn't want to leave. Also, the hawk was useful in keeping mice away.

StoryTeller Xavier Sutherland Community Peawanuck (Winisk)
Age/Level cycle 2 Language Swampy Cree (n dialect)
Year Recorded 1960-62 Year Last Edited 2010
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings Genre

wîsakêcâhk kâ-wayêshihâkopane maskwa - Weesakechahk tricks the bear

Isaiah Sutherland

Weesakechahk sees a bear walking along and asks him if he can see a tent in the distance. The bear cannot and Weesakechahk tells him that if he slept, his vision would improve. As the bear is sleeping, however, Weesakechahk throws a stone at his head, kills him, and begins to cook him. But because he had eaten so many berries earlier, he can't stomach eating more right away so he tries to suspend himself from a tree but the tree comes to life and traps him so that all the other animals can eat the bear until all that is left is bones. The reason, they say, that some trees are twisted is because Weesakechahk struggled against the tree and shaped it that way. Later, Weesakechahk tries to cool the grease from the bones by giving it to a beaver to dive with. In his anger, he tries to kill the beaver but a partridge startles him and he falls into the water. Now starving and having nothing to eat, Weesakechahk eats the parts of him that were burnt by the explosion.

StoryTeller Isaiah Sutherland Community Kashechewan (Fort Albany)
Age/Level cycle 2 Language Kashechewan Cree (mixed n-l dialect)
Year Recorded 1957 Year Last Edited 2009
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings Genre

cahkâpêsh kâ-kohcipalihikot mistamêsa - Chahkabesh is swallowed by the giant fish

Isaiah Sutherland

Chahkabesh asks his big sister about the fins he saw breaking out of the water of the lake and she warns him never to go into that water because there are giant fish who can swallow him. Chahkabesh doesn't believe his sister and when his arrow falls into the water, he goes in after it and is swallowed whole by a giant fish. For three nights, Chahkabesh is trapped until his sister throws her moccasin into the water for the fish to swallow. She drags it ashore and cuts it open to free her brother. Then, Chahkabesh tells his sister that he saw tracks but she tells him not to bother with them because the sun caused those tracks. Chahkabesh doesn't believe her and lays his snares and, as his big sister predicted, it didn't dawn the next day. He asked all the animals to free the sun but only the sharply pointed mouse could gnaw through the snare and release it. NOTE: the sound file is damaged at the end.

StoryTeller Isaiah Sutherland Community Kashechewan (Fort Albany)
Age/Level cycle 2 Language Kashechewan Cree (mixed n-l dialect)
Year Recorded 1957 Year Last Edited 2009
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings
Genre

nîsho ililiwak ê-nakishkawâcik wâpaskwa - Two men meet a polar bear

John Wynne

As two men hunted in their canoe (without their moose-shot rifle), they saw a polar bear passing close to them. They quickly got to shore and ran away but when the faster of the two looked back, the polar bear was running away across the water.

StoryTeller John Wynne Community Kashechewan (Fort Albany)
Age/Level preschool Language Kashechewan Cree (mixed n-l dialect)
Year Recorded 1956-58 Year Last Edited 2009
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings
Genre

atimwak ê-kotaskâtitocik - A dog-team race

John Wynne

The Attawapiskat dogs were thought to be smarter than the Albany dogs but the latter proved to be faster and they won the race.

StoryTeller John Wynne Community Kashechewan (Fort Albany)
Age/Level preschool Language Kashechewan Cree (mixed n-l dialect)
Year Recorded 1956-58 Year Last Edited 2009
Described by Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings
Genre

ê-'nâtawimôswâniwahk kwêtipawahikani-sîpîhk - Moose-hunting on the Kwetabohigan River

Joel Linklater

Joel Linklater and a companion were hunting moose and as soon as one of their prey waded into the water, they shot at it. They only managed to wound it, however, and they continued to chase it until at last Linklater shot it and it went into the willows to die.

StoryTeller Joel Linklater Community Kashechewan (Fort Albany)
Age/Level preschool Language Kashechewan Cree (mixed n-l dialect)
Year Recorded 1956-57 Year Last Edited 2009
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings
Genre

ê-âhkwatâhkwacit môs'-wayânihk - Stuck frozen in a moose-hide

Joel Linklater

One winter, a hunter shot a moose and killed him, but night was approaching and he was far from home so he decided to skin the animal to keep from freezing. When morning came, however, he was stuck in the frozen hide and remained there for three days until someone came to thaw him out.

StoryTeller Joel Linklater Community Kashechewan (Fort Albany)
Age/Level preschool Language Kashechewan Cree (mixed n-l dialect)
Year Recorded 1956-57 Year Last Edited 2009
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings
Genre

ayâkwâmsîtotaw môs! - Beware of the moose!

Joel Linklater

During mating season, two hunting companions decide to play a trick on a nearby moose.

StoryTeller Joel Linklater Community Kashechewan (Fort Albany)
Age/Level preschool Language Kashechewan Cree (mixed n-l dialect)
Year Recorded 1956-57 Year Last Edited 2009
Described by Marie-Odile Junker & Doug Ellis
Topics
Teachings
Genre