Respecting the water fowl

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Today, the hunt is disappearing, the snow geese are disappearing, but there are plenty of fish. My mother also dried fish and also the process of “neohikan-a” as Edmond referred to. This was done to the animal. These are the things I witnessed our ancestors do. Respect was given to the James Bay animals since they gave our ancestors sustenance. My Father really respected the waterfowl, so he taught not to leave anything behind, like your tent frame, your decoys made of mud…he would always destroy his mud goose decoys at the end of the day. When he came back the next day, he would make them again. Today, you will see an abandoned blind with those mud decoys still standing and geese are fearful of these objects, and will fly over the area. That’s how I remember the past. I was taught how to do all those things, and I would like to preserve this knowledge as well such as the preparing of “namestek-ok” smoked geese, ofesikan-ak and many things that were not thrown away…feet, wings. Particularly the feathers which were used in bedding, in blankets. The only parts I remember discarded were wing feathers. However, I do remember if one had a lot of wing feathers, they were used as a bedding for dogs during winter. I don’t remember anything being thrown away. As there was no refrigerator, another process was the salting of snow geese and putting them in a can and they would remain unspoiled for a long time. I think, perhaps, that is the extent of my knowledge of our ancestors.


Respecting the water fowlby John Kataquapit


Hunt snow geese fish ancestors mud decoys respect feathers bedding use preserving

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