Economy

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They are aware of it and I told them that I could explain more on it if they desire becase one day I will not be around. I grew up with a chief and I know what kind of work he did and what he talked about. I don’t make things up. Even the CHMC houses, I knew about them way before they built them in the community. People found out they have to pay for them, which didn’t sit well with them. Older people used to talk about those houses long time ago and they mentioned that if anyone couldn’t afford them, then you will be evicted and end up in the bush and live in a tent just like long time ago and people will see your smoke stack sticking out from you tent. People were instructed to establish employment initiatives so people can work and money can be generated which will make your community prosper. Look at the De Beers company in Attawapiskat. The company didn’t care what kind of impact will have on the land and people. They took over our winter road, which is in our land. We should be the ones who tell outsiders what to do when they come here. We are being treated unfairly. Technology is taking over our lives, especially in communications. People in our grandfathers’ time long time ago, were able to communicate and find out how things were with their relatives using their techniques via shaking tent. Natives never used compasses to live in the bush but by watching which way the tree branches sway and from nature. It had to do with the land The natives would reside on the reserve only. The rest of the land would be for government to control. I mentioned that in 1949, licences were introduced and people were issued traplines. The land became filled with traplines. You will probably see on the map where they marked the trapping grounds but without the names. For instance with my trapline, if all the names of previous heads of families were included in the trapline, it would be full as we have large extended families. I’m not sure and I didn’t hear anything about that. The only thing I know is the missionaries acquired those farm animals that were promised in the treaty. Late elder James spoke about the animals going to the missionaries. Yes, they were well respected and were feared. Credit was given to the trapper before leaving. James Wesley used to tell me stories. Trappers were abused who didn’t have enough furs to pay their debt. Apparently, they were scratched in their faces. And there were other stories of abuse. A gun was six feet in length those day and the HBC manager would use the gun to measure the height of the furs. If your furs reached the length of the gun, it was considered sold. However, the manager of the Trading Post met his match one day. He had attempted to scratch a trapper’s eyes as he didn’t have enough beaver furs to pay his debt. It turned out that the native had a brother who was strong. The story goes that the brother challenged the manager to a fight; the manager a very strong man himself. The manager was thrown out of the office. That’s the way the Indians were treated by the Hudson’s Bay Company. The company took advantage of the natives. There were many problems. The young people do not know much of that part of history and story. I think they pay attention to it. For instance: when the De Beers company came to our territory, the company opened a diamond mine in Attawapiskat. They offered plenty of money, but that money is just for bait so that we will agree to what they want to do in our territory. The people are reluctant to sign anything because we don’t know what’s going to happen after the mine is closed. What’s going to happen to us and the environment? There is much to discuss.

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Economy by William Cheechoo

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economy, land, traplines, Hudson’s, Bay, Company, Trading, Post, furs, diamond, mine, Attawapiskat, money, health, chief, De, Beers,

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