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.

My First Week as a Cree Teacher

Sept 5 to Sept 8, 2023, marks my first week of teaching Cree in the classroom. I have been able to utilize many resources, both printed and online, that I helped develop. The students have been a challenge, as expected, however, I had much support from other teachers, Elders, and educational assistants.

While some of my classes went well, there were instances when the Internet let me down. Technology, let me down. As a computer technician, it was a bit disappointing. What helped, were the Elders who told me about their ideas and thoughts on cultural activities, and the printed resources that I had in my classroom. There are so many printed resources developed by my colleagues over the years, I kind of felt overwhelmed when it came down to choosing what to use.

I did not realize the effort it takes to teach Cree and to try and provide an environment for Woodland Cree Cultural Activities. I have to teach five classrooms: (K-1), (2-3), (4-5), (6-7) and (8-9). Oh, and I was assigned to a high school class: Native Studies 20, a small class, but I need to research topics I have not read about much, since university.

I am hoping for a better week this coming week, of course it will depend on how well I can plan my classes. I will continue to seek advice for the Elders at the school, and from my many colleagues who provide support for each other.

nīhithāwiwin kā-kiskinwahamākīt – Cree culture teacher

Hall Lake – mōsosākahikanisīsihk

Cree language – nīhithawīwin

Sally Ross School

wihtikō ikwa mistāpīw – wihtikō vs. Bigfoot

In the depths of the untamed wilderness of North America, a battle of mythical proportions unfolded between two legendary beings: Bigfoot and Wihtikō. The moon cast an ethereal glow upon the towering trees, setting the stage for an epic clash that would resonate through the ages.

Wihtikō, a creature born from ancient Native American legends, embodied darkness and malevolence. With ghostly white skin, sunken eyes that glowed with an otherworldly light, and an emaciated frame, Wihtikō roamed the land in search of lost souls to devour. Its haunting wails echoed through the night, striking fear into the hearts of those who dared to listen.

On the other side stood Bigfoot, a mysterious and powerful guardian of the wilderness. Covered in thick, matted fur, it possessed an air of strength and wisdom that commanded respect. Bigfoot’s deep-set eyes held the knowledge of ages, and its enormous stature evoked a primal sense of awe in all who encountered it. Though reclusive, the mere mention of its existence ignited the imagination of many.

Destiny drew these legendary beings together in a remote, ancient forest. As they faced each other, an electrifying tension filled the air. Wihtikō hissed, its bony fingers curling into claws, while Bigfoot stood resolute, radiating a quiet determination.

With a sudden burst of speed, Wihtikō lunged at Bigfoot, unleashing a flurry of savage strikes. Bigfoot’s agility and nimbleness allowed it to evade the majority of Wihtikō’s attacks, relying on its instinct and experience to protect itself. The clash of their forces shook the very ground beneath them, as if the forest itself trembled in anticipation.

Wihtikō’s attacks were fueled by a ravenous hunger for power and dominance. Its icy breath chilled the air, freezing the leaves that fell in its wake. Bigfoot, however, possessed an unyielding strength, rooted in the ancient wisdom of the natural world. It countered each of Wihtikō’s assaults with measured precision, using its sheer might to push back the relentless adversary.

As the battle raged on, the forest bore witness to a titanic struggle between light and darkness. Wihtikō’s ferocity was unmatched, but Bigfoot’s resilience and connection to the wilderness provided a profound advantage. With each clash, Wihtikō’s attacks weakened, while Bigfoot’s unwavering spirit and strategic maneuvers grew stronger.

Finally, in a decisive moment, Bigfoot seized an opportunity. It landed a crushing blow, sending Wihtikō crashing to the forest floor. Wihtikō, drained and wounded, struggled to rise, but its strength had been depleted. It became clear that the light had triumphed over the darkness.

With a thunderous roar that reverberated through the trees, Bigfoot declared its victory. Wihtikō, defeated and humbled, retreated into the shadows, vanishing from sight, perhaps forever.

As tranquility settled over the forest once more, Bigfoot stood as a symbol of harmony and protection. It had proven that wisdom and unity could prevail over malevolence and chaos. Tales of the epic battle between Bigfoot and Wihtikō would be recounted through generations, reminding all who listened of the enduring power of nature’s defenders.

In the legends and folklore of North America, Bigfoot emerged as the triumphant hero, the guardian of the wild places, and the embodiment of the untamed spirit of the land.

This is why we do not see the Wihtikō anymore, for now anyway.

“The Pretendians,” a documentary from The Passionate Eye

I just finished watching The Pretendians, a documentary featuring Anishinaabe author and playwright Drew Hayden Taylor. I have heard of the documentary before, but I did not know it was free to watch on the CBC website. Here is the link: The Pretendians 3 | The Passionate Eye | CBC Gem

I had written a blog on pretendians on this website and I even asked Drew Hayden Taylor himself to Retweet my tweet, which he graciously did (thanks Drew, you bumped up my web views by several hundred). So now I am going to check out his stuff. In my earlier university days, I used to love reading his works.

The show started off with Taylor discussing pretend Indians, prominent people who somehow identified as Indigenous. Right off the bat, I recognized the author of Three Day Road, Joseph Boyden. This is the guy that duped me into thinking that I was reading the works of an Indigenous author. Enough about this guy.

Taylor decided he wanted to try some type of DNA test, while he waited for the results to come in, he took the viewers on a tour of his hometown, Curve Lake First Nation. He even showed where his people live and have their powwow events. A beautiful community, you must watch the show to see it.

He and the film crew (Drew’s crew), headed on over to the west coast to check out the art scene. Taylor and a guest browsed through some shops that showcased Indigenous artwork. They went over many works that may or may not be authentic. You really need to see what they rummaged through, there are so many “fakes” out there. However, there are also many legit designs by Indigenous people that collaborated with businesses to replicate their works.

Again, there are many great designs that must be seen to be believed. Taylor further explored other artists that may be exploiting other tribes or bands. It is an interesting take by a west coast man, that other tribes should not take away or duplicate the works from others.

Tayler went into Indigenous rights and the struggles of many people who seem to have decided to pursue being identified as Aboriginal and even fake status cards. This at about 19:15 of the documentary, very interesting revelations I rarely even read about it, much less heard about. Hayden interviews many others about their Indigenous heritage and linage. All very interesting, please follow the provided links to watch it yourself. Oh, and his results came in, and he almost reveals them at the end.

The Pretendians 3 | The Passionate Eye | CBC Gem

Canada Indian Trust Fund

Several years ago, there was a post on Facebook about an Indian Trust Fund in Canada. It said that it was where the Canadian Government, took their capital from when they funded Indigenous people in our country.

It was a counter argument to the people, usually non-native, that money supporting Indigenous people did not come from tax-payers money, below is a screenshot of the post. I scribbled the name of the original poster (OP), because I do not have permission to post their name as he is not a public figure:

This was shared by a relative of mine on FB recently.

Back when I first saw the post, I thought it was interesting, but it did not concern me very much because it was difficult to discern fake news at the time. In May 18, 2021, an article on TorontoMet Today, highlighted the issue.

How much money flowed through the Indian Trust Fund and where is it now? How can the myth of “free money” for First Nations be deconstructed? What do solutions for financial reparations look like?

It is a very interesting article and worth a read by both Native and non-native people alike. In our quest for reconciliation, it is important that we all have the facts before making assumptions about other people, or nations.

Money – sōniyāw

Our money – kisōniyāminaw

My money – nisōniyām

Your money – kisōniyām

TorontoMet Today – How much does Canada owe Indigenous communities for stolen land?

Yellowhead Institute (PDF) – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: The Indian Trust Fund: Debunking Myths & Misconceptions

Another article that might be of interest from the Yellowhead Institute (PDF) – Recommendations on First Nations Access to Indian Moneys 


Wīsāhkīcahk and the mouse story

The story of Wīsāhkīcahk and the mouse is a traditional Cree legend that has been passed down through generations of Indigenous peoples.

Wīsāhkīcahk, also known as Wesakechak or the Trickster, is a prominent figure in Cree mythology and is often depicted as a mischievous and cunning character who uses his wit to outsmart others. In this particular story, Wīsāhkīcahk encounters a small mouse who challenges him to a contest of strength.

The mouse boasts that he is the strongest animal in the forest and challenges Wīsāhkīcahk to lift a large rock. Wīsāhkīcahk accepts the challenge, but as he tries to lift the rock, the mouse scurries underneath it, making it appear as though he is lifting it effortlessly. Wīsāhkīcahk is impressed and concedes that the mouse is indeed the strongest animal in the forest.

However, the mouse’s victory is short-lived. Wīsāhkīcahk then challenges the mouse to a contest of speed, boasting that he is the fastest runner in the forest. The mouse agrees, and Wīsāhkīcahk sets off at a sprint. However, as he runs, he ties his legs together, slowing himself down. The mouse, thinking he has won again, takes a victory lap around Wīsāhkīcahk. But as he runs past Wīsāhkīcahk, the Trickster trips him, and the mouse tumbles to the ground.

In the end, Wīsāhkīcahk emerges victorious, but the mouse still retains some of his pride, as he knows that he is the strongest animal in the forest. This story teaches the importance of using intelligence and cunning to overcome challenges, rather than relying solely on brute strength.

When will I get my Cows and Plows Money (Treaty 6)

When are we going to get our Cows and Plows money? That is the question, asked by many people in the Treaty 6 territory. It is a good question, one that I ask myself all the time.

Ever since I heard about Treaty 8 receiving their settlement money through the Agricultural Benefits specific claim (cows and plows), I wondered when the same would happen for us in the Treaty 6 territory. I knew, from what I heard, that there would be court proceedings happening, before a settlement could be made.

I will animate storybooks into video with audio, using your images ⇒ 

I am going to show you a bit of history, but briefly because I do not want to bore anybody with a lesson or lecture. As you can see from the map, both Treaty 6 and 8 are right next to each other in Alberta, they are also both in Saskatchewan, separated by Treaty 10. Okay, that is done, if you want to learn more, please take the time to do some research, as it is very important to all First Nations.

Map of Numbered Treaties of Canada. Borders are approximated.

According to a Feb 21, 2023 update on the Lac La Ronge Indian Band website, regarding the Agricultural Benefits Committee (ABC):

As the 2023 LLRIB Elections are fast approaching, all Council business will be tabled until after the LLRIB Elections. This will not have an impact on LLRIB’s agricultural benefits claim, as we are still waiting for Canada to make its own internal preparations for negotiations (LLRIB.COM).

Personally, I wish the federal government would just hurry the heck up. They should own up to their past promises and get it over and done with. There are many band members who are struggling with finances, and money from a cows and plows settlement, would hopefully be substantial enough to get many of us out of debt.

I have not been out of debt since high school, and I want to feel like I am in high school again. I realize that it is basically a “failed promise to provide cattle and agricultural equipment,” but I would rather take the money because I am not sure what I would do with a cow, or even a plow, for that matter.

As I mentioned earlier, Treaty 8 has already settled many claims. In 2019, Treaty 8 members, specifically Members of the K’atl’odeeche First Nation (KFN) near Hay River, N.W.T., each received $30,000. In 2021, Clearwater River Dene Nation members, received a payment of $44,000 each. This was big news for many First Nations across Canada. As of “January 31, 2023, 646 specific claims, totalling $11.3 billion in compensation, have been resolved” (

$30, 000 to $40, 000, I really wish our settlement is near that amount. I can only speak for myself on these matters and cannot make assumptions on how my follow members would spend their money. I am sure many would not spend it wisely. On the other hand, there are many industrious people that would do great things for themselves and their families, and maybe even their community.

I realize that since I am the one who updates my band’s website, that I should probably know more than I am letting on. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am not in the meetings or negotiations, I merely wait for the update to be sent to me, so that I can update the website with the information. If anything, I probably have a 15 to 30 minute heads up before the membership, depending on how much information there is to share. Just an FYI, I will update the LLRIB website day or night, weekday or weekend to give such vital info to our membership, as long as I am in front of a computer to do so (I will need to be awake too).

There is much information out there and I am sure there are better explanations that I can give. It is a huge undertaking for an individual to get to the bottom of such a topic, but I hope the settlement can be resolved soon so we can all move on.

Cows and Plows have been discussed many times in the media and on social media pages:

Facebook: Tammy Cook-Searson (August 19, 2019) – – UPDATE ON TREATY 6 AGRICULTURAL BENEFITS (“COWS & PLOWS)

La Ronge NOW (March 6, 2023) – LLRIB provides update on agricultural benefits claim

MBC Radio (March 7, 2023) – Canada delays LLRIB Cows and Plows negotiations

The Star Phoenix (July 3, 2020) – Lac La Ronge Indian Band pushes to speed treaty claim

LLRIB.COM (February 21, 2023) – Update on the Agricultural Benefits Claim (“Cows and Plows”)


CTV News saskatoon (June 2, 2021) – Long awaited’ $122.3M settlement paid to members of Clearwater River Dene Nation

CBC.CA (July 19,2023) – After more than 100 years, gov’t makes good on Treaty 8 promise to N.W.T. First Nation

CANADA.CA (February 27, 2023) – Kapawe’no First Nation and Canada settle Treaty 8 Agricultural Benefits specific claim

When will I get my Cows and Plows money
tānispi kāwi kahcitinak mostosak ikwa pīkopicikana soniyaw


First Nation Stories and ChatGPT – Moving Forward

As the world continues to evolve, it’s important to preserve and share the rich cultural heritage of indigenous communities. Indigenous stories have been passed down from generation to generation, and they provide a unique insight into the history, culture, and traditions of these communities. These stories have the power to educate, inspire, and unite people across the world.

Hall Lake sunrise
Hall Lake sunrise

With the advent of technology, it has become easier to share these stories with a wider audience. One such technology is ChatGPT, a large language model trained by OpenAI, based on the GPT-3.5 architecture. This technology can be used to create authentic and engaging stories that capture the essence of indigenous culture.

As an individual who is passionate about preserving and sharing indigenous stories, I have decided to use ChatGPT to post indigenous stories moving forward on my website. These stories will showcase the diverse cultures, traditions, and experiences of indigenous communities. Through these stories, I hope to educate people on the importance of preserving indigenous culture and the challenges faced by these communities.

weasel image
weasel – sihkos

Indigenous stories are more than just a form of entertainment. They offer a unique perspective on life and teach us important lessons that we can apply to our own lives. They remind us of the importance of community, family, and the natural world. They teach us to respect and care for the environment, to value diversity, and to strive for harmony.

Pisew Lake landing
Pisew Lake landing

Through the use of ChatGPT, I hope to bring these stories to life and share them with a wider audience. I believe that by doing so, we can help to preserve and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of indigenous communities for generations to come.


Partially ChatGPT Generated

Get your own AI Open account –


ChatGPT Question – Canada Benefits of Treaty Six

I decided to test out the ChatGPT over a question that could very well end up on a Native Studies essay question:

ChatGPT Question: Canada benefits of treaty six treaty 500 words


Treaty 6 is a historical agreement between the Canadian government and the Indigenous peoples of the Plains and Woods Cree, Assiniboine, and other tribes. The treaty was signed on August 23, 1876, in Fort Carlton, Saskatchewan, and later at Fort Pitt, Saskatchewan, on September 9, 1876. The treaty is still in effect today and covers a large area of Western Canada, including parts of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The Treaty 6 agreement has brought numerous benefits to Canada over the years. In this essay, we will discuss some of the most significant benefits.

Firstly, Treaty 6 brought peace and stability to the region. Before the treaty, there were tensions and conflicts between the Indigenous peoples and the settlers, often leading to violence. The treaty provided a framework for peaceful coexistence and established a relationship of mutual respect between the signatories. The treaty established that the Indigenous peoples would allow the settlers to use the land for agriculture and resource extraction, while the government would provide assistance, including food, clothing, and education, to the Indigenous peoples.

Secondly, Treaty 6 enabled the settlement and development of Western Canada. The treaty provided legal recognition of the land rights of the Indigenous peoples and allowed for the government to acquire land for settlement and development. The treaty helped the Canadian government expand its territory, which led to the development of new communities and industries, such as agriculture, mining, and forestry. These industries contributed to the growth of the Canadian economy, which brought prosperity to the country.

Thirdly, Treaty 6 has been instrumental in preserving the culture and traditions of the Indigenous peoples. The treaty recognized the importance of Indigenous culture and language, and established schools for Indigenous children. These schools provided an education that was respectful of Indigenous culture and traditions, while also teaching the skills necessary to succeed in Canadian society. The treaty also recognized the importance of Indigenous spirituality, and allowed for the practice of traditional ceremonies and practices. This recognition helped preserve the rich cultural heritage of the Indigenous peoples, which has become an integral part of Canadian identity.

Fourthly, Treaty 6 established a relationship of mutual respect and cooperation between the Indigenous peoples and the Canadian government. The treaty recognized the sovereignty of the Indigenous peoples and their right to self-government. This recognition helped to establish a dialogue between the Indigenous peoples and the government, which has led to the development of policies and programs that are more respectful of Indigenous culture and traditions. This relationship has been crucial in addressing the historical injustices that the Indigenous peoples have faced, and has helped to build a stronger, more inclusive Canada.

In conclusion, Treaty 6 has brought numerous benefits to Canada over the years. It has brought peace and stability to the region, enabled the settlement and development of Western Canada, preserved the culture and traditions of the Indigenous peoples, and established a relationship of mutual respect and cooperation between the Indigenous peoples and the Canadian government. While there is still work to be done to address the historical injustices faced by the Indigenous peoples, Treaty 6 has been a crucial step in building a stronger, more inclusive Canada.

While I do not completely agree with the way the AI essay answers the question, I could easily fix it to my style and submit to a teacher/instructor. As a former teacher, I would be very worried about this AI generated essay. Educators, please pay attention.

Get your own AI Open account – and get informed. Do the research to stay ahead of your students.


ChatGPT for Cree and Story Telling

I recently made an account with OpenAI, so I could try out ChatGPT-4, it is a very interesting app. AI, of course, means Artificial Intelligence. Yes, it sounds like something out of a movie, but I am very curious about it because I have been hearing about it and how it is being used for evil. Well maybe not necessarily “evil,” but for lying and cheating, which many people find to be very bad (even evil). Anyway, I will be testing out some questions and give my honest opinion and whether it is good, bad or in between.

Question: hello in cree

ChatGPT Answer:

Hello in Cree can be expressed in different ways depending on the dialect of the Cree language. Here are some common greetings in Cree:

    • In the Plains Cree dialect: Tânisi (pronounced “tawn-ih-sih”)
    • In the Woods Cree dialect: Tânisi or Tân’si (pronounced “tawn-sih”)
    • In the Swampy Cree dialect: Tansi or Tântêh (pronounced “tawn-see” or “tahn-tay”)

All of these greetings can be used to say “hello” or “hi” in Cree.

This is interesting and a very good point in how words are expressed in different ways. So many times, I have translated a word on various Cree Facebook pages, only to have another fluent speaker from another area telling me that I am saying it wrong.

For instance, up here in La Ronge we say “pōsīs” for cat, while down south in Plains Cree, they say minōs. Which is fine and good because we are both from different areas. However, the other person will continue to say that I am completely wrong and that I should not be giving wrong translations for the learners. I did not engage because chances are, they may have never heard it said the way we say it up here. I did engage on another word many years ago and it fell on deaf ears that we are from different areas and have different dialects. It can get frustrating, just realize that they may have never heard about your dialect.

Now the real scary stuff, for story writers like me anyway. I posted a question that was the description of one of my many short stories, and it was eerily similar to what I wrote, only better. My short story is called THERE STOOD WOLF, it is a based-on wolf track images that I got permission to use for a story. The images inspired me to write it up.

Here is the story I wrote, but without the images:

The wolf had stood there, he had fallen behind the pack that he used to lead as their great leader. He had become weary about keeping up. He stood and looked out, listening for the sounds he grew up hearing. No howls, not even a whimper did he hear.

He clawed at the crusty ground. A dusty road made by the humans. A crime to his kind. A trail that was not natural.

The wolf scrapped at the road again. What was he trying to dig for? Had he become this mindless? He looked ahead again but knowing he would see them again, his pack.

He started trampling the soft warm road. It might be the end for him. The natural trails were getting too difficult to travel. His memory was getting too hazy. His senses were dimmed to blindness and became almost deaf.

On the side of the dusty road was stacked up logs and brush. Underneath were openings that had room for him. He had long forgotten the sounds of the pack. The last thing he remembered, was laying down underneath the huge stack of brush. His dreams of his glorious days past, faded into darkness.

That is the whole short story, now read the question below and the answer I was given by ChatGPT

Question: write a short narrative of an old wolf, left behind by his pack.

ChatGPT Answer:

Once a proud alpha of his pack, the old wolf now lay alone on the fringes of the forest. His once-mighty body was now frail, his teeth worn down with age, and his fur dull and matted. His once-strong legs trembled with the effort of standing, and he could feel the weight of his years upon him.

As he lay there, he thought back on his life, remembering the thrill of the hunt and the joy of running with his pack. He remembered the fierce battles they fought and the hunts they won. But as he lay there, he also remembered the day that everything changed.

The pack had been growing restless, and many of the younger wolves were chafing under his leadership. They wanted to explore new territories, to hunt new prey, and to break free from his strict rules. And so, one day, while he was sleeping, they left him behind.

At first, he had tried to follow them, but his old legs could not keep up. He howled and called out to them, but they did not come back. And so, he was left alone, forced to fend for himself in his old age.

Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months. The old wolf struggled to survive, but he refused to give up. He hunted small game, drank from streams, and sheltered in caves. He survived through sheer willpower and determination, refusing to let his age defeat him.

But as time went on, the old wolf grew weaker, and his thoughts turned to the pack he had lost. He wondered what had become of them, whether they were still alive and hunting together. He longed to see them again, to run with them and hunt with them one last time.

And so, one night, he summoned all his strength and set off in search of his pack. It was a long and difficult journey, but he did not falter. He traveled for days, following the scent of his old pack, until at last, he found them.

At first, the younger wolves did not recognize him, but as he drew closer, they saw the wisdom and strength in his eyes. They welcomed him back into the pack, and for a while, he was once again the alpha.

But he knew that his time was running out. He could feel the weight of his years upon him, and he knew that he would not be able to keep up with the pack much longer. And so, he made his peace with them, and with himself.

As he lay down to rest one final time, he knew that he had found what he had been looking for. He had found his pack, and he had found his place in the world. And though he was old and weak, he was content, knowing that he had lived a full and wild life, and that he would always be remembered as the alpha of the pack.

And there it is, while it has a happy ending, mine was sad. The ChatGPT story is actually pretty good and would make a great beginning story to continue on to my story. I see great things from ChatGPT when it comes to story telling/writing. While it would not be fair to submit such stories to magazine and book publishers, I can very well use AI generated stories on this website. I can edit to my liking but still it would be a time saver and provide more content for my readers.

So, is it good or bad? The good: it is awesome for answering questions on math and science. It is also great for general questions that you may want to read about, without having to click so many links like you would get from Google or other search engines.

The bad: it makes it way too easy for students to cheat on an essay. I realize there are AI checker apps out there, but as a former teacher, I would probably not take too much time checking each and every one of my students work. I guess that if it was suspicious and based on the student and the content, I would take the time.

Another bad thing is the cheaters that would send AI generated articles or stories to publishers and to story writing contests. That would be greatly frowned upon by writers who do all the work themselves to write great work, and then get beaten by dishonest ChatGPT users.

I would say that it is between good and bad. It will depend on the person using it. Anything can be used for either, but this app is still at an early phase, time will tell.

There is so much more to explore. I enjoyed the app and checked out a few more things that I was curious about and the answers are a good read. Create your own account and try it out yourself.


Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay