Life in Attawapiskat

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We came from Attawapiskat. It was in 1946 that my father arrived here and I was about 5 years at that time. He paddled by canoe from Attawapiskat since his family was here. My father did not have a normal upbringing. He did not see his mother who had passed away after his birth. It was his sister that raised him from birth. He did not know that his sister was, in fact, his sister, but only thought of her as his mother. He only learned later in life that his mother was really his sister. He followed his sister like a mother, and after his sister got married, he continued to be with her. That’s why my father did not have anything. My father said that when he was 11, his father passed away. So, my father was alone and only survived through his sister. So, I don’t think my father did much by way of hunting, to go journey into the forest. Such as journeying from Attawapiskat, only using a canoe to come here.
There were only 3 of us, my father, my mother and myself. My sister was already in residential school. So, that’s why he journeyed to this community…to come and get his daughter.
In the winter, I only remember one time when we went to a place just before Kapiskau. Because his sister was going there, my father went there too. Only in the summer did he come back.
Only sled dogs were used for journeys. Usually the trails were In the James Bay lowlands where it's flat, no trees. That is all I am aware of, as my father did not venture out into the forest very much. And so, we only stayed here, as my father stayed here all the time. He lived here for many years, about 60 to 70 years. He stayed here, and worked for the French mission here. There were very few people here in the past. All of the trappers, those who owned trap lines, all went to their trap lines.When I remember staying here as a child, there were only 3 children here.
Now you can see that there are so many children. So there were only three of us playing in the winter, and one of them Is still alive today. And so, there were only the two girls, and they all stayed in the community.


Life in Attawapiskat by John Kataquapit


Attawapiskat mission job family

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