All posts by Charlie Venne

My name is Charlie and I'v had stories in my head since I was a child and this website is an outlet for those stories.

Treaty 6 Territory, Our Territory

Growing in La Ronge, Pesiw Lake and Hall Lake, I never heard of the term, Treaty 6 Territory. I would hear of Treaty Days and I enjoyed the events that would happen on that day. The whole community would get together and have events such as sack races, plank races and various other fun events. I do not remember hearing about the numbered treaties until I was in grade 10, at Sally Ross School, where I now teach grades 5 and 6.

The Numbered Treaties

I have taught my students about treaty 6, where and when it was signed, and about the year our band, the Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB), signed an adhesion in 1889. I have showed them the poster of the timeline of chiefs, which is available on the LLRIB website – History of the LLRIB Chiefs. I showed them the videos on the page to make them more aware of our first chief, Chief James Roberts and where he is buried. A few students were actually at the headstone ceremony this past summer. The ceremony is also on video, on the linked page.

Opens new page to LLRIB website

The students were engaged and very interested in the information. Questions came up such as, what I remember about the previous chiefs and which ones I met. I told them I had met Harry Cook when he was chief and that former chief, Miles Venne came to my high school graduation in 1995 at Senator Myles Venne School.  For some reason, his first name was misspelled, but I have not asked about it either.

I would have loved to hear about our history when I was in elementary school because I was always curious about it. Stanley Mission also has a great history, and their church, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, is known world wide – https://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=2917

Books were more about the southern Saskatchewan Indians regarding the buffalo and the hardships of land being stolen and ripped away from them. After hearing so much about the atrocities of the treaty signings and the lies perpetuated by the government, I started to wonder about our history, where do we fit, in the timeline of Indigenous events.

I completed the work for the LLRIB during my time as web developer. Recently, I decided to go to an outside source for more information that I may not have heard about. I asked a friend of mine, Samuel A. Hardlotte, about what he knows of the treaty signing, below was his response:

Our 1889 Adhesion to Treaty 6 was signed at the North end of Montreal Lake it was Not signed at molanosa. The settlement of molanosa did not exist in 1889 and it later began when some white men, began harvesting trees in that area and set up a sawmill, inland, from Montreal Lake.
Our Acting Chief Sam Roberts, Hope and I visited Little Hills on Sept. 28th/19 to commemorate the historic event of the very 1st Annuity Payments. Tubby Bell was the person that took us out there.
It was an emotional day for all of us.
It was also an honour to be at Little Hills on that day.

Mr. Hardlotte is very passionate about the history of our Treaty 6 Territory. I joined him and his wife, Hope, with the Treaty Day display at the JRMCC, where they handed out T-shirts marking the anniversary of the treaty adhesion.

It was a showcase of historical documents, pictures and articles about LLRIB. It was very informative, and I did my part by displaying the video or our history on a projection screen.

I had an interesting but friendly debate with Hope during the event. She said that the separation of Stanley Mission in 1910, meant that they should not be included in the timeline of chiefs because in 1900, Peter Ballantyne separated from the Paylist to form their own band under his name, and they are not on the timeline. I argued (in a nice way, lol) that Peter Ballantyne Band is not in the timeline because they did not rejoin us at some point like Stanley Mission did. Anyway, it was a good discussion. Discussions and debates should be encouraged without the bitterness of arguments and escalated disagreements.

I am sure there is more to our history that has not been written, I hope one of these days that there is a project set up, to gather this information and present it for free, to all our schools, the LLRIB membership and the general public.

 

Lac La Ronge Indian Band – http://llrib.com/

Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation – http://www.peterballantyne.ca/

Montreal Lake Cree Nation – https://mlcn.ca/

 

 

Blurb about my Storytelling and nimosōm – My Grandfather

nimosōm – my grandfather used to tell me so many stories about people that lived here or near here. He was a great storyteller and may have taken many liberties with the details. I loved to hear those stories and made my imagination very active with thought and wonder. I give credit to those stories to the storytelling I do with this website, passing on a tradition in a modern way. I also used to tell stories to my children off the top of my head, just to entertain them. I have forgotten more stories than I have on this website.

I remember one story about Hall Lake, where he told me that when he arrived on the lake from a portage, he heard a moose splashing around the shore of the lake. He went further and heard another moose going into the lake in another part of the lake. He heard one more near the mouth of one of the rivers, we have two but he didn’t say which one. I could not imagine that happening in this day and age, nor the time he was telling me the story because there were already many houses and people on the reserve. By the way, Hall Lake in Cree, is mōso-sākahikanisīsihk, according to my late grandfather.

Hall Lake – mōso-sākahikanisīsihk

nimosōm  – my grandfather

 

 

 

 

Thank you for reading my stories

Since November of 2018, views and visitors have gone way up for my website. It all started with stories about nimosōm – my grandfather.

Please visit us on Facebook –

Opens Facebook page in new window

Happy Charles – “our daughter is still missing”

I came across a post by Carson Poitras on Facebook, where he is updating the public that his daughter, Happy Charles, was not found, as was rumoured.

Yes, our daughter is still missing. There was a rumour out there that she was found. This is NOT TRUE. We are still…

Posted by Carson Poitras on Tuesday, November 12, 2019

 

I did not get to know Happy Charles when she was living in La Ronge. I had heard of her from time to time, but I met her only a handful of times.

She seemed pretty normal to me as she chatted with one of my friends, whom I cannot remember, and then she went on her way. I must have been in my early 20s. Happy and I, may be close to the same age, I am 45 tears old right now.

I actually thought they would have located her not long after she went missing. I personally thought she was visiting a remote reserve and staying with friends. I did not think it would become over two years since she went missing.

 

Global News – https://globalnews.ca/tag/happy-charles/

CTV – https://saskatoon.ctvnews.ca/man-seen-in-surveillance-photos-not-a-suspect-in-happy-charles-disappearance-police-1.4671153

CBC – https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/family-happy-charles-calls-provincial-office-families-missing-people-1.5132162

Eaglefeathernews – https://www.eaglefeathernews.com/missing/red-dress-form-a-way-to-fundraise-for-families-of-mmip

 

First Nations Unity Day 2019

Cree audio after the image.

To remember those who fought and those who fell
Kita kiskisīyāhk aniki kākī nōtinikīcik ikwa aniki kākī pahkisīkwāw

 

Pixabay – https://pixabay.com/photos/poppies-field-yorkshire-sun-rays-4291704/ 

 

 

Tatanka wrestles – Tatanka māsihkīw

Cree audio at bottom of page. I hope I get to see this guy wrestle someday.

Thx to @temis.tv for posting! TV cameras at the event Fri night plus we filmed a movie trailer the following day with…

Posted by Tatanka on Monday, November 11, 2019

Tatanka māsihkīw – Tatanka wrestles

māsihkīwin – wrestling

omāsihkīw – wrestler

māsihkī – (you) wrestle, as in a command.

Trees in Woodland Cree

These are the local trees we have in the La Ronge and Hall Lake areas. I am sure there are many more types that I have left out.

mistik – tree

mistikwak – trees

 

balsam fir – napakāsiht
birch – waskway
black popular – māthimītos
black spruce – itināhtik
jack pine – oskāhtak
red willow – mithkwāpīmak
tamarack – wākinākan
white popular – mītos
white spruce – minahik
willow – nīpisiy

Thank you for visiting, if you see a mistake, please let me know and I will do what I can to fix it.

I took most of the pictures myself over the years, birch and tamarack were downloaded from Pixabay

cv

 

Remembrance Day – kanokiskisiwinikīsikāw (Day to honour veterans)

I learned this word from the Gift of Language and Culture website

 

LEGION.CA – https://www.legion.ca/remembrance/remembrance-day 

Gift of Language of Culture website

http://giftoflanguageandculture.ca/glcp/calenderfla.htm

Pixabay website

https://pixabay.com/vectors/poppy-flowers-decorative-floral-37524/

https://pixabay.com/vectors/feather-silhouette-sticker-clipart-2781343/

kīkisīpāyāw – It is morning

This picture is from 2018.

tipiskāwipīsim – moon

acahkos – star

wāpan – early dawn

 

First Nation Medicine, Stories and Skeptics

Scientists have been skeptical of the theory of firehawks spreading fires by carrying burning sticks. The Aborigines have known for centuries, maybe even for millennia, what scientists are discovering today.

When Scientists “Discover” What Indigenous People Have Known For Centuries When it supports their claims, Western scientists value what Traditional Knowledge has to offer. If not, they dismiss it Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-science-takes-so-long-catch-up-traditional-knowledge-180968216/#i511j5JjLyMLY3u7.99 Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter
A team of researchers in northern Australia have documented kites and falcons, “firehawks,” intentionally carrying burning sticks to spread fire: It is just one example of western science catching up to Indigenous Traditional Knowledge. (James Padolsey/Unsplash) Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-science-takes-so-long-catch-up-traditional-knowledge-180968216/#i511j5JjLyMLY3u7.99 Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

There have been other instances of scientists discovering what North American Indigenous people have known all along. Native medicine is getting a second look from many scientists, but unfortunately, many are sponsored by corporations to make money. I see it more as an exploitation tactic as opposed to wanted to heal the sick. The medicine making the rounds on social media is chaga, check out the article and others at the bottom of the page.

While the exploitation might sound devious, how are our many urban “Indians” supposed to have access? It is doubtful that there are enough medicine men around to spread the healing practices to all our people. Capitalistic marketing is what is used today and may be the only viable way to get our medicines to people. I have no idea what else might work, maybe we will have a better system someday. If one of my readers have a good idea, please comment on the Facebook post.

I have personally used wacask ōmīcowin – rat root, for a headache. I still need to get some off my son who has a nice batch of it. I have gone on a field trip with one of my instructors to explore areas and identify Native medicine. This was all good because I got to see for myself, the work it would take to gather and prepare the healing remedies.

As a boy, I had chicken pox in the trapline. My grandfather – nimosōm, took me out on a trail to gather spruce gum. He boiled the chucks that we gathered, but I am not sure what else might have been in it. When it was ready, I placed generous amounts on the affected areas to sooth the itch. It was great to get that kind of relief. We went back to the rez soon after, and he made more when we got to my parent’s place.

Spruce gum

As a boy living in La Ronge on the rez of 101, I had an accident. I was playing with a friend of mine; we were throwing small roof shingles at each other to see if we can dodge them. He grabbed a bigger piece than usual and asked if I could dodge it. I said: “haw haw” meaning go for it. He got me right above the right eye, I bled like heck. All I saw was red and I could see my friend hovering over me and try calm me down. We were about 5-6 years old at the time. When the bleeding was controlled, they didn’t take me to the hospital or clinic, nōhkom took me to the muskeg area and we gathered Labrador tea leaves. When we got to the house, she applied it over my eye and added a dressing over it. It was changed several times, over several days (I cannot remember how many times). Eventually, my cut was healed.

As an adult, working for the Gift of Language and Culture, I had been sick for several days. I went to work when I got a little better and told my female colleagues what I was going through (you know how men are, just kidding). One of my co-workers had this concoction of “Indian” medicine. The only ingredient I remember is rat root. Anyway, I made some tea and added a half teaspoon and the symptoms eased right up before lunch. This was after two more teas over the medicine I put in earlier. I was skeptical about the concoction, but I could not explain the way this stuff worked.

mistik pahpo – tree laughing

I have many colleagues and friends that gather Native medicine, but I hesitate to ask for any because I feel like I should go get it myself. I had hoped to get more into our medicines, but it is difficult to make the time in our “assimilated” way of life. I have work, family and relaxing time, so finding sources of medicine is one thing, it is entirely another to gather and prepare. I can see why it was usually medicine men or women that did all the careful gathering and preparation for their people.

Now to the skeptics. I have been one of these skeptics for the longest time even when I was obviously treated with “Indian” medicine a few times. It may be the spiritual aspects of the practice that throws people off. The ceremony of rising tobacco to the four-directions or giving tobacco to a medicine person, seems  a bit arbitrary to one who is not raised to follow Native Spirituality. I have asked such questions before, only to be met with condescending answers, not very helpful. I may have come across as arrogant and rude, but the answer of spirits needing appreciation, did not sound right to me.

I have benefited from the use of medicine but I do not remember being told to offer tobacco. Many people in my area, were assimilated to the fur traders ways. We had a close relationship and still do. Of course, racism rears it’s ugly head on a daily basis, some days are better than others, but I hope things get better and I do not wish to elaborate at this time, maybe another article.

Obviously I was grateful and appreciated the healing from the plants. To the people who gathered and prepared it for me, I am very grateful.

When Scientists “Discover” What Indigenous People Have Known For Centuries

Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-science-takes-so-long-catch-up-traditional-knowledge-180968216/#i511j5JjLyMLY3u7.99

Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

Chaga on WebMD – https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1474/chaga . If you want a more independent form of news media, here is a google link: https://www.google.com/search?

Nature’s Hidden Gifts – Morris Brizinski – https://education.usask.ca/ccstu/pdfs/hidden%20gifts.pdf

Traditional Métis Medicines and Remedies – Todd – http://www.metismuseum.ca/media/db/00721

Comparing Indigenous Knowledge & Western Science – https://combiningtwowaysofknowing.wordpress.com/comparingindigenousknowledge/