Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone! I had a good Christmas. Almost all of my family was here in Sheshatshiu—all of my children were here, only a few grandchildren were in Quebec. After Christmas I had a hard time. There was a 17 year old boy named Sebastien who died in a fire around New Year’s. He walked with me 4 times—twice to Minipi Lake and twice to the Mealy Mountains. He also went on the canoe trip once. He was very young when he started walking with me, but he acted like a hard-working man. He was happy when he was working. He wanted to learn, he didn’t mind if he didn’t know how to do something. He knew Francis or I would show him. Once he walked with his grandmother. He loved his grandmother very much. Sebastien was always worried about his grandmother, he never wanted her to be too far behind the group. Sebastien was also very close to me, just like my grandson, because we spent these special times together. He listened very well when I spoke with him. He understood when he had to be careful if there were dangerous parts on the river or on the walk. He was a very nice boy and an excellent hunter. If I walk again this spring it will be very sad to look at the group walking with me and not see Sebastien. I know he’ll be with us in spirit.
After New Year’s 2010, I worked a little bit. I talked on the Innu Radio Station and said to my people that we should work together, especially the women. Many times I miss working together with other women. Years ago the women would gather for working or sharing together in the tent. There were so many good ideas that the women came up with. I wish we could come back together again. Since women don’t stay close anymore, so many things have happened. If the women would work together we could address some of the big problems—what the government has done to us, what’s happening to the river, problems with drugs and alcohol in the community and so many people sick. At first the problems may seem very, very big, but when we work together we begin to see them getting smaller and it is encouraging. Now it feels overwhelming; we don’t know where to start. But we could make a difference together. It’s not enough for one or two women to talk on the radio. We need to hear all the women. Since I spoke on the radio I have heard several more women talking. It’s important for us to talk on the radio, because it’s all in Innu-Aimun and everyone can listen and understand, even the kids. I invited women to come visit in my tent and my sister’s tent. In the tent people feel more relaxed, not like in a big office or even around the kitchen table. I told my people that we’re not going to just talk about the Churchill River or the same stuff we’ve talked about before. I want to talk about all the concerns women have—any of the issues in our community.
When I see the papers and hear the news about the Churchill River I feel very sad. If the dam starts my tears will be as much as the river. I try to keep working hard, looking for support and doing things to raise awareness. It’s difficult because money is so strong. There still has been no vote for the Innu regarding the dam. I pray often about this.