When I hear the children in the bush/in the country they are happy, they play easily and want to help the adults. In town they don’t know what to do, they always want the TV or a new toy or a video game.
Before, we didn’t use ‘white’ things and we didn’t use government money. We knew how to live on the land. Everyone knew what to do. The men hunted caribou. While the men were away the women cooked, cut wood, gathered water, boughs and berries, cared for the children, sewed, fished, and hunt rabbit, porcupine and partridge. The older children helped their parents. The middle children watched the small ones. The girls would watch their mother and grandmother and try to be like them. The boys would watch their father and grandfather and try to do what they did. The boys would ask, “Grandpa, where are you going? Can I go with you?” They would go help fish or chop wood. The elders and parents were like teachers.
The people worked hard in the bush. Even when the wind was strong, the storm came in, or the hunt was long. Even then they were happy. The people were very tough. The men felt so good when they were coming home from a hunt with meat for their family and community. They could see what they accomplished, they could feel it, and they knew what they’d done at the end of the day. I remember when my father would leave for several days to hunt or go to town. My mother and my siblings would stay at the tent. We would watch for him and be so happy when he returned with meat or flour for bread.
When I was young I never imagined that this would happen, living like we are today. I always thought we would be happy living in the bush. Now, the only times I hear the children laughing are when we’re in the country. I don’t hear them laugh much in town.
The people are very happy in the bush; in town it is hard to see that happiness. In town you can’t see what you’re doing, you don’t feel like you’ve done anything. There is drinking and drugs and some people see no reason to live. In the bush/in the country your mind is clear, your feelings are clear, you are healthy and happy. This is why it is important for the people to continue to go out on the land. I know we live in the culture and world of today, but that does not mean we have to loose or let go of who we are and where we came from. It is important for the Innu to hold on to some things, to carry those things into the present and the future. Our children need to know both ways.