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.

nipōni-pīhtwān– I Quit Smoking

I quit smoking – nipōni-pīhtwān. Cigarettes and cigars have ruled my time between activities and everything else. I had been smoking since I was twelve years old. I blogged about my past experiences with smoking in Nov 2020 (Smoking on the Rez and Other Places). I had attempted to quit smoking many times.

The last time I smoked was Feb 21, 2022, it is now May 21, 2022, three whole months. My previous best was about three weeks in 2019, but my trigger, which is driving and smoking, got me right back into it. It is becoming less and less of a trigger.

I recently had an appointment with an eye specialist, and he was glad I quit smoking because as a diabetic, smoking significantly increases the risk of my eyes getting damaged. I have told several people of my accomplishment but hearing the doctor’s elation about quitting, made me proud. 1

My blood pressure has improved and I feel more energetic. There is one setback, I gained about 11 pounds. It is because food is now so delicious from my healing taste buds. Spices and sweets have come to life and I end up eating more than I should.2 It is something I need to work on. Plus I need to exercise more but one step at a time.

Actual reading

I recently found out that the brand of cigarettes I smoked, have gone up in price again, they are now over 17 bucks a pack. This is at the rez store with a treaty card.

It pains me to see many young people starting to smoke, they do not know what they are getting themselves into. While things may have improved nationally, it is still an ongoing problem.3

nipōni-pīhtwān– I quit smoking, the literal term might be “I stopped smoking,” but most people I know would say the Cree term, to mean they had quit smoking.

The following Cree words came from Itwêwina: Plains Cree Dictionary – We basically say it the same way.

pîhtwâw (Verb) – s/he smokes. MD

pîhtwâhkâsow (Verb) – s/he pretends to smoke CW

ciscêmâs (Noun) – Tobacco

1Vision Loss, Blindness, and Smoking –

2Stopping smoking has many immediate and long-term benefits. It’s worth pushing through the tough times –,for%20that%20Sunday%20roast%20%E2%80%93%20YUM!

3Tobacco and Vaping Use in Canada: Moving Forward,aged%2018%2D19%20years%20smoked.&text=Among%20the%2019%2D24%20age,of%20age%20reported%20regular%20smoking.

Quit smoking Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

I recently drew up a Legal Document online and it was very easy

Last week, I needed to draw up a contract for a deal I had in the works. I thought of copying and pasting from a contract template I found online but I decided that it was too much work. The wording would have to be edited and the contents would be out of place from the copy and paste from PDF to Word.

I thought of just writing it out myself and spending all the time it needed to get it right. I wondered if I could make one online and remembered I was part of an affiliate from LawDepot.

Their website covers many services from:

  • Estate
  • Real Estate
  • Financial
  • Business
  • Family

I went to the Business section and I found an easy way to draw up a service agreement by answering questions about the deal between myself and the other party. It was very easy, however, I did make a few mistakes and was able to redo the contract with appropriate details.

I had to first sign up for their seven-day trial, which was easy enough. After I completed and polished the details of the contract, a downloadable link was provided in PDF. From there I just needed to print and sign in the presence of the third party. It was very easy.

So if you decide you need some type of legal service, I would recommend LawDepot. You see all the ads on this page, click one and you can get started with a FREE 7-DAY trial. They will be more than happy to answer all your questions.

Have a great day.

I Created a Free Downloadable Lesson on TPT- I am Cree: Activities and Poster

This evening I decided to try out Teachers Pay Teachers. I have used it before when I was a teacher to get unique lessons for my students and it was such a joy (and a relief) to find awesome teaching resources and many for free, in all subjects.

The lesson I developed is based on a phrase I used on a Cree meme, NÊHIYAW NIYA – I AM CREE – I opted to use Plains Cree at this time, but I would like to add a mix of Plains and Woodland Cree in the future.

Check it out, it is a FREE download! ⇓×11-poster-Plains-Cree-7579290

This development took me about three hours, with many breaks in between, so maybe about 2 hours tops. I can imagine it would take much more time to develop more sophisticated lessons, so it will take a while to add useful lessons.

I had fun with it and I plan on making some more lessons for download. With the work that gets put in, I will charge an appropriate price for my lessons and I hope they catch on. There are premium options that cost money and they involve digital lessons which I know I can develop, given time.

If I end up having time to develop more content, I may just do that. I can easily use the contents of my website to make lessons and the graphic work would not be that difficult. This is an exciting time!

Background Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay

Thank you for visiting, and have a Happy New Year!

New Years Day in Woodland Cree

December 29, 1890 – Wounded Knee Massacre

Today marks 131 years since the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890. A very sad history of the Lakota.

Dec 31, 2021 – A Facebook user recently commented on my shared post and gave me a link to a list of names honouring the murdered people at Wounded knee: 

Reading the articles and watching the videos, brought me back to when I was a boy watching Little Big Man and the Mystic Warrior on our family TV. In 101 reserve, La Ronge, many of us would sit around watching the movies portraying the Sioux with all kinds of regalia. The teepees and majestic terrain of the wild prairies were very different than what we were used to.

I had seen movies of the Little Big Horn and so I knew about the injustices and unfair practices of the U.S. government. It was not until I attended university classes, that I learned about the Wounded Knee Massacre. Our professor at the time was very angered about the incident. The class was very quiet as we all listened intently to the details of the massacre. We were all horrified at the tale. How could people be treated so terribly?

In 1990, Kevin Costner directed a movie, Dances with Wolves, that captivated the world with its portrayal of a white man assimilating into the Sioux tribe. I enjoyed the movie on VHS, but it kind of bothered me that it took a white man to bring attention to the atrocities that took place so many years ago. The movie is fictional, however,  AMMSA.COM stated that: Natives (were) portrayed honestly and sympathetically (article link below).

Great Sioux reservation in 1888
Great Sioux reservation in 1888

There is an excellent documentary about the massacre. After the discussion of the horrific incident, it goes to the history of Native Americans 1000 years preceding the Wounded Knee Massacre. I would recommend it to everybody and not just Indigenous people.

Episode 1: Wounded Knee Legacy and the Ancestors; 2: Mexico (45:10) 500 Nations

The Truth About the Wounded Knee Massacre – 

Wounded Knee Massacre –


‘Dances with Wolves’ – Natives portrayed honestly and sympathetically –

Old map –

Teepee Image by Guy Stefanowich from Pixabay

Pyramids in the New World

As a boy watching TV documentaries about the environment and historical monuments, I used to wonder about what our ancestors might have built. I knew we had tepees and the I remember reading about the Iroquois building longhouses and the Haida building beautiful cedar houses.

My paternal grandparents used to have an encyclopedia set called, “The New Book of Knowledge,” where I read about Canadian and American history. These publications did not have much information about First Nations people. I did not learn about our real history until high school and university from other sources.

I had only known about the Pyramids of Giza because they would be prominently shown in magazines and of course, on television. In high school, I learned that there were pyramids way down south in Mexico, not exactly our ancestors but Indigenous people nonetheless.

The most famous one I found was the Chichen Itza (pictured). Not as big as the Giza pyramids but a historical monument built by North American Indigenous people, the Mayas. While my discovery was and is somewhat satisfying, it does not tell of the horrible history the Mayans had to face.

The Spanish conquistadores received permission from the King of Spain for the right to conquer Yucatán. This started a series of campaigns where the Spanish attempted to take the land from the Mayans and pillage the villages of their gold. Many of the Mayans had been massacred as they tried to defend themselves. 1

Mayans proved difficult to Christianize, but the Spanish managed to convert more and more of them as they continued the conquest to go further into the land in search of riches. The Mayans fought hard and actually did well in their battles, however, the introduction of Old World diseases, such as smallpox, devastated populations of their people. 2

There are many articles and videos available these days regarding the atrocities of the conquests and not all are in favour of the way it was done. It is not unlike what our ancestors had to go through in Canada. Like the Mayans, “[t]hey formed complex social, political, economic and cultural systems before Europeans came to North America.” 3

I recently found out that:

The world’s largest pyramid can be found not in Egypt, but hidden beneath a hill in a small town in the central Mexican state of Puebla. Known variously as the Great Pyramid of Cholula

The pyramid was covered with dirt and plant life by the time the Spanish arrived and they built a church on top of the supposed hill. (Video at bottom of page).

It is no surprise that the Mayans have continued to rebel against their governments and have clashed time and again. 5

All of the activities toward Indigenous people have been horrendous. The stealing of land, the diseases, and residential schools, a terrible history, and the demoralizing nature of such treatment continue to this day. The lack of resources and underfunding of Indigenous programs is prominent in many of our communities. The lack of respect for our language and culture is evident when our governments continue to undermine the importance of our heritage. It is only through our perseverance and determination that we are still here.


Other articles:

Church Image by saulhm from Pixabay

Chichén itzá Image by Makalu from Pixabay

Giza Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay


Happy Holidays to all my Followers!

Well, Christmas is over and we are all recovering from the huge meals and relieved that all the shopping and traveling is. I went to see my parents over in Hall Lake, they were doing well and were happy to see most of us for the season. I must have had 4-5 plates of food on Christmas day, there was not for left leftovers but that is fine with me. I tend to get sick of turkey after a day or two.

The weather was too cold for us to take our grandchild sliding. She was happy to have around but she was disappointed not to go out. Hopefully, we can take her out soon, because we brought her along to stay with us for the week.

My daughters were happy to receive the presents they got. They are getting older and the magic is not there as much. I am happy they stayed with us for the most part.

The weather was not the best. I was hoping to check out the lake and explore a little bit. Some ice fishing would have been nice. The cold with the wind chill was too much. I am happy we were all healthy during the holidays.

Have a great new year, let us hope the new year is safer this time around.

First Cree song I ever learned- “Ninestosin” by Winston Wuttunee

When I first started going to school in Hall Lake, Sally Ross School. I was introduced to the song, “Ninestosin.” The teacher played it on his guitar and I loved the song. The whole class would eventually learn and sing along. I was 10 years old at the time and I already used to hear Winston Wuttunee from the radio at home. Some family members had tapes of his performances.

There were some students who sang along perfectly and those who just mumbled the words. Cree was already losing its grip on our fellow Cree people, but songs like this were bringing it back in a way. Students would ask what certain words mean it would increase a bit of interest to learn Cree, at least a few words at a time.

There are many Cree songs available on YouTube today, and even Winston Wuttunee has his own YouTube channel and website (shared at bottom of this page).

I had the opportunity to see Winston Wuttunee when he was an MC for the Fine Arts Festival in the mid-nineties in Prince Albert, SK. I was there to enter a short story and a bow and arrow I made (I won 1st for the short story and came in third for the bow and arrow). Anyway, I was able to get a picture of him backstage with his cowboy hat on. Unfortunately, I lost the picture many years ago, it would have been nice to share it with you.

ninēstosin – I am tired

Memories of stoves, wood and my father’s skidoo

I remember standing by the stove when I was a boy in Hall Lake. Nipāpā – my father,  had made a big fire to get the house warm after we all spent a few days in La Ronge. I used to observe him and eventually learned to do what he did. Nimāmā, my mother, would be busy taking care of my baby brother to keep him warm, my sisters would be cuddled up to stay warm as the house was not quite warm enough.

At the top of the stove, I could see the heat radiating. Throwing heat upwards, slowly but surely it would heat up our home. nipāpā always made sure there was enough wood in the wood box. He would go out and haul wood from the thick forest across the lake from our small community. As I got older, he would buck all the wood in the bushes and have me go pick it up in his skidoo.

I used to love riding the snow machine. I would always anticipate him telling me to go get the wood. He would take me on the first trip, and I would ride at the back of the sled. I would twist and turn to go with the flow of the ride, as there were many bumps and twists on the ice and trail. He would point out all the places where there was wood, already bucked in stacks. He would take one last haul home and then it would be my turn.

The skidoo was a 350 and it had the insignia, “Ski-Doo,” on the side of the black hood. The windshield was unusually high, but it worked well when the weather was very cold and windy. The stacks of wood were easy to find but getting to the right landing across the lake would be confusing. There were several that looked very familiar, but I ended up going to the right one.


The work was great, it was exhilarating to be working out in the cold and I would feel the adrenaline as I worked fast and hard. I would almost feel lightheaded as I drove the skidoo back because I would be just sitting there after working furiously. I do not know why I went so hard when I was packing the sled with wood. If I could do it now, I would take it easy and take in the nature around me with squirrels and birds curiously looking at me. I wonder if they thought I would leave some scraps for them to eat after I left.

Once on the open lake, I would go full throttle, absorbing all the snowdrifts and the occasional soft snow where I would be surfing over the surface. I would wonder if there was slush under the beautiful blanket of snow, so I would try to avoid areas where I suspected there might be slush. I had gotten stuck in the slush before during several of my many joys rides around the rez. It really sucks. Wet socks, soaking boots, ugh, I would not wish that on my worst enemy.

Many times, I would be allowed to use the skidoo and cruise around the community. I would go pick up my friends and we would have an awesome time going through the many back trails. Sometimes I would pull a bunch of kids on the sled just for fun. If they heard me coming down the road or lake, they would be waiting for me to pick them up and drive them around. Occasionally, I would allow them to hitch their sleds onto the main sled and we would make a sled train. Great times, I cannot imagine wanting to do that today, I would probably be way too worried about safety and what their parents would say if a child got hurt.

This snowy day and chilly temps got me thinking about those days. I was so young at the time. I am not old but I do not live in Hall Lake anymore. I did for a while last year, but I did not even consider buying a skidoo for myself. I am not sure when I will live there again, but if I do, maybe I will buy a brand-new skidoo, one with a high windshield.

nipāpā – my father

nimāmā – my mother

Snowmobile Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay
Fire Image by Nikolai Alber from Pixabay

NASA Sends Rez Dog to Space – In my Dream

The announcement was huge, reservations all over the United States and reserves across Canada were shocked and bewildered – NASA will be sending a rez dog to space. The big question was: why?
Chuck, a big shot at NASA, was given the task of researching how a dog can stay in space and survive. The dog would need to eat and use the bathroom in space. Chuck needed to hire a young Indigenous man to take the assignment.

One of three young indigenous astronauts would need to be trained to ride spaceships up to a space station and take care of the dog there.

A search commenced across Canada and the US, to find the perfect dog to train. They had to choose a dog that would be trainable and be very versatile. Strong enough to handle the stress and pressure, to handle the difficulties of being in space. The dog would have to float around and be calm enough to not freak out and to survive. For some odd reason, they would need to get a rez dog.

Chuck interviews three young astronauts. They would need to have patience and have a love for dogs. As it turns out, all the young men are perfect. Reserves and reservations all watched the announcement on social media and news outlets. Every one of them was very happy with the choice.

The astronauts are excited about going to space and riding in their spaceships. One of them would take the dog with them. After several days of training, it was time to travel into space.

The dog floats around the space station. Looking casually at the astronauts and not causing a fuss. He eats balls of Bannock as his source of food, and is fitted with a shining silver pamper whenever he needs to “go.”

Chuck celebrates with the rest of NASA as if they landed a man on  Mars.

Then I woke up.

aski – Earth

atim – dog

nikoskopathin– I woke up

ī-pawātamān – I am dreaming

Spaceship Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Dog Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Space Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Satellite Video by Jo Luijten from Pixabay

NASA Media Usage Guidelines


Remembering Remembrance Day in School

I remember as a boy in school, Remembrance Day was always done with a ceremony at 11:00AM. We would stand in silence for a moment to remember those that fought and especially those who gave their life. I remember readings of poems and how we were given projects with poppies and graves.

The poem most associated with Remembrance Day, would be “In Flanders Fields,” by John McCrae. In some classes, we all stood to read the poem, in others, we read as presentations. I wish I could remember what classes those were and who the teachers were. They all blend together at this point. A blurred memory with familiar faces in the rows of standing students. Some quiet and respectful. One or two, still not grasping the seriousness of the silent moment.

In the gym, there would be at least one veteran of the WWII. Speakers would take turns telling tales of war and how it impacted them during the war, but even more when they got home. They would speak of good friends who never made it back home. Loved ones of solders would be given medals and flags from the countries they served. How many veterans are left? Maybe a few, Indigenous or not, they gave their lives too.

Later in high school, we learned of Indigenous people not receiving what their non-Indigenous fighters did. We learned of Cree-speaking “code talkers,” such as Charles Checker Tompkins of Alberta, provided great service to the war. According to “,  “it has been estimated that as many as 12,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit people served in the great conflicts of the 20th century, with at least 500 of them sadly losing their lives.” Indigenous people were not strangers to war, as they battled settlers and amongst themselves when they needed to in the distant past.

Today, the ceremonies of Remembrance Day are not as prominent during this pandemic. Thankfully, we have social media to express our admiration and to share our thoughts across the world. A world that would have been very different, Canada and our allies did not stand victorious against a very determined enemy.

Thank you to all who served, and especially to all who fell.

Remembrance Day – kanokiskisiwinikīsikāw (A day to keep remembering)

Indigenous Veterans –

Native War Veterans Enlisted Even Though They Were Not Canadian Citizens –

In Flanders Fields –

Poppy Image by Schwoaze from Pixabay

Grave Image by edaly from Pixabay