I wasn’t really exactly a good teenager because I liked dancing, but sometimes the thing is, that if when I heard the music, ’cause we were living right close where the crowd was. I used to love to go to see the dances in the afternoon. It was afternoon anyway just before sunset and the Indian people that time before sunset they would light up the fire. I remember that they’d light up a fire and then the round dance will start and they would have a special person who would be the stick man, I guess, who would be the person who would run around in a circle and if anyone was the one who was dressed up to dance he’d hit them like kind of nudge them to get up to dance.
That was that way I’d seen in my time when they had the round dance I would recall seeing that there were other times too like I used to remember that just before treaty days, they’d fix up the dance hall because it was all mud.
Anyway it was just a shack, a great big one and we liked it. That was our dance hall. Even gophers used to poke their heads out and from there, and then they would put this line. It was painted white, a long line, they would put two coats of it. That was our dance hall for our treaty days.
One day I had this idea. It was the second year my mother was married. I was now about 11, I think ’cause I was 10. I wanted to go and see that day dancers, the ones that were dancing, square dancing.
I hauled water, I hauled the wood so I don’t have to do that ’cause I was going to sneak away and go and see these dancers. So I did. I guess my mother must have seen me and she called me back and away I went and I seen these three girls that were standing next by their mother and they asked me where I’m going, you know, and I pointed to the dance hall but it had been raining and so you know it’s muddy all over and so I looked for a, I looked for a dry, dry board and I put it there so and we ripped off this mud, halfway, where it was wet.
So we were pushing our fingers through so we could see the dancers, we didn’t see the dancers, all we could see was the feet because the windows used to be covered with a board and they would tie them up there with a leather thing, you know, and we didn’t have no window panes in the dance hall, we had just a board window.
So anyway, so we went there and this lady just, she was this mother she was not mean ok, she was very strict. She had a great big pocket in her apron and in this pocket was a whip, was in there. So she just whipped these kids, these girls home.
So anyway, what happened is that we were just sitting there enjoying dancing, these dancers, watching their feet when all of a sudden this lady comes screaming, “There you are!!”, you know just like that.
Audio begins at the start of the following paragraph.
…and then this whip just comes flying and of course I was sitting like towards the west side with these girls were. I was the first one. She really hit me hard and I jumped up and went straight to the bush. Straight to the back of the hallway of that dance hall. I went there and little did we know that this, they used to have, even clean out the outhouses. They’d put a new hole and this old hole and they would be closed and they’d put this outhouse in this new hole and this outhouse I guess, this old hole, while it rained it caved in. We didn’t know.
As we were running, racing to this bush to go and hide and, you know, she should have seen us. We were just jumping over this hole ’cause I was the first one.
I jumped over this gummy, no this gumbo, this great big gumbo mud, you just slip and slide and I was the first one that jumped over this thing and this girlfriend of mine her name was Lela, she came after me and Lillian and the last one was Maude. This was three sisters.
So here we were running to the bush and this woman comes chasing after us. She was so mad with her whip she just fell in into that hole and see, we could hear her screaming, “Get me out” in Cree “Waywepsik” in Cree, “Waywepsik pull me out,” and of course those girls are not going to look up and see because, you know, they didn’t want to be whipped. So I jumped up because, and I was shorter I jumped up and I looked “Lela, your mom fell in.”
So then we knew we were safe so we, “Lets go and pull her out.” So I suggested that we go and help her and we did, we pulled her out, two girls here and two girls there and we made her hold this whip so we hold the whip, the two of us over here, and heavy, she was about 300 pounds and we pulled and we pulled. We were sliding and sliding in this gumbo and, you know, we were slip sliding.
Finally we got her up, about six inches out, then we knew we would slowly succeed. Finally, then she crawled out. Oh it was just dirty, but you know, she didn’t say thanks to us, she whipped us home and I was telling this to my mother then really serious, you know, and she actually, after we got her out, didn’t smile or anything. She actually whipped me home and we couldn’t stop laughing. She’d felt sorry for me, but said, “I was hoping that would happen, because I didn’t feel like walking there to go get you.”
That’s one hilarious story I thought in my time. I was about 11. I used to love to be in a crowd, to go and see the people because you only go out to see your people about 8 weeks of the year, one year in the residential school that’s why.