Living in the bush

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I was probably born in a moss hut. What is the name for that, “aski-hkan” what is “aski” in English? “moss”, a moss hut. During our journeys on the river, when we went shore, a wigwam was used and this is where we slept. There would be 8 of us lying in a circle just in that wigwam. But a second wigwam would be built if you wanted to camp for a longer period, where you wanted to smoke meat, where meat would be cured. My mother would construct two wigwams; one where we would sleep and one for cooking. But now, I think a lot about how things have changed since when I was young and I think about the young generation who has not seen the way I lived, the way I slept, and the way I was raised. When I would get up in the morning, it would be very cold in the wigwam. Only when my mother made a fire did the wigwam get warm. Today, it is much easier for everyone since you don’t have to make a fire, as you have heating that is on all the time. Even the young generation see the leisure in it. My children did not see these rough conditions; they did not have to experience this. But I lived this lifestyle, my immediate family and my generation. Today, life is not difficult as people live in houses and it amazes me how easy it is for life. Well, a moss hut would be used in the winter time. The moss hut was the warmest in the winter. So the whole winter would be spent in this moss hut. That moss hut is not cold. Even when there is no fire, it was quite warm in there. When you brought things inside, such as a pail of water, sometimes the water would not freeze. Compared to a wigwam, water would freeze just during the night, things would freeze. But the moss hut was very warm. You could also build an open fire right inside the moss hut. I never saw a portable stove to be inside. My father would light a fire inside the moss hut since we never had a portable stove. I used to see my father only make an open fire outside since there was no metal stove. It was only when I arrived in this community that I saw these portable stoves. I saw stoves being fashioned. It was around 1953 when I first arrived. That was when I came to school; 1953.


Living in the bush by Edmond Edwards


Life story moss hut wigwam change

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