Document Sample
LANGUAGE:                         ENGLISH
SOURCE:                           MARGARET STOBIE TAPE
                                  ARCHIVES AND SPECIAL
                                  ELIZABETH DAFOE LIBRARY
                                  UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA
                                  WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
                                  R3T 2N2
TAPE NUMBER:                      IH-MS.002b/.004a
DISK:                             TRANSCRIPT DISC 44
PAGES:                            12


Walter: It's amazing. And nothing's here where I am now. The
first settlement at Norway House was at Yorkford(?) across from
Rossville. That was the first settlement. That's where I was

Margaret: Well, were your people from here or did they come
from other places?

Walter: Well, my grandfather came from Fort Severn and my
mother -- she was about seven years, I think, when they left.
And my father was from maybe Oxford House or Cross Lake. They
wasn't married in here, but I don't know when. Anyway, my
mother was Martha, that was her name. Martha Saunders. But my
grandfather used to tell me all kinds of hardships, you know,
way back down, you know. How the people were travelling to
here, or back and forth where they could find their provisions,
what they need. And, of course, in the old days, you know, grub
wasn't very plentiful like we have today. But they lived
mostly on wildlife, you know. And my grandparents used to know
how to make grub for a day or two or even a month. They used
to dry the fish and pound the fish. That's the way with their
meat, and make pemmican sometimes.

Margaret:   And then they put berries in with it?

Walter: Sometimes, yeah. Just depends on if it was a good
place for berries, you know. Well, they been living on that
and they used to build their birch bark canoes in the
springtime when the birch is easy to take out from the tree.
And oh, and tanning the hides, and things like that.

Margaret:   To make clothes?

Walter: To make clothing, yeah. And, well, at least sometimes
they met a trader there -- the Hudson's Bay. That's the only
trader we had in the fur trade anyway. Well, they would buy
what they could buy, trading, you know, exchanging it. But
way, way back around, there was no price, just a trade. Like
for instance, them guns, you know, the length of the guns, the
fur was piled up as high as the gun and you get the gun.
That's quite a few pelts, you know. See, the Hudson's Bay, see
how much they been making money? That's what I was told
anyway. So, things came on like that and travelling, the
Indians just been travelling back and forth. Like here at
Norway House, when treaty was first brought in here, 1875, the
government servants told the people to go out and look for the
land where they can settle, you know. And build up their homes
to be, to live with the white man, to have farms, you know.
So, it happens that the Hudson's Bay Company lent two York
boats that left from here -- them Fisher River people, you
know. They went there. That was the Norway House people, the
Fisher River people. So they obeyed that law, you know, the
way they was told. And some people were staying here, sticking
to the Hudson's Bay land, you know. For instance, some Norway
House people went to north land from here and spent the winter
near at Thompson, I guess. Now, we call it today, Thompson.
Somewhere there. And in the springtime, they just came as far
as the Cross Lake. They used to stay there for a while because
they found a lot of fish, you know, to eat. And the Hudson's
Bay used to send birch bark canoes with a load of stuff, I
guess, to go and meet the trappers. And at last these people
chose to take that land here at Cross Lake where they are now.
That's what I am told anyway. See how it's been working? So,
that was Norway House people, long ago.

Margaret:   Then a lot of people have gone out from here.

Walter: A lot of people, yes. But still this Norway House was
very plentiful with the fish, you know. I guess mostly all
these immigrants we have now, they heard all about this Norway
House and they are well off here, lots of fish and everything,
so at last they came here and some was born here, you see.
That's where, very few Norway House people living now, old-
timers, you know. Very few.

Margaret:   How many?   Yourself and...?

Walter: There's me and oh, maybe we'll say about twenty, a
good twenty anyway. And as far as I can say, and at last when
I was a boy, I remember... The Hudson's Bay didn't have
anything much, you know, to supply the people. There was only
one June boat from Winnipeg that brought that whole cargo for
the outposts, the people, you know. So, it was very hard to
get along with that cargo for the whole winter. You had to get
so much. Even tobacco, you know, a plug of tobacco. Sometimes
you would only get a half a plug.

Margaret:   That doesn't last a wintertime.

Walter: Everybody's getting equal shares but the Hudson's Bay
done very good with the people. Taking charge of giving them
matches, gave them free. And snare twine and ammunition. And
they, my grandfather used to tell me, they bought a little fur
in the summertime, like what you call that, groundhogs. For
the summer. And even give them a chance to exchange lake
sturgeon, you know. To feed these men, the Hudson's Bay to
feed these men because they had tried to spare the bacon, you
know. All that. Now, so I remember when I was a boy, even the
flour, they used to call it four X. I'll bet you you wouldn't
eat that flour, you know. It's kind of almost grey, you know.
Margaret: Sort of an oatmeal or a coarse flour?

Walter: Yes. Pretty dark, you know. But it was very good,
you know. So, well, I remember just a few pounds of flour, my
father, when he happened to get something, just a few pounds of
flour to each family, you know. And even tea, sugar, not very
much, I mean, just...

Margaret:   You would have to be very careful with it.

Walter: Yes, you had to be very careful. Of course, in the
wintertime, sometimes the dog teams used to go to the south and
bring some of the freight, you know. But our dogs was only
taking three, three hundred and fifty pounds. That's quite a
load for a dog anyway. So, the Hudson's Bay done all it could
do to help the people all right, as far as I remember. Now, at
last, one time when I was a boy, the day school was here.
Right here, opposite across this Anglican Church Mission here.
Well, I used to go there barefooted. There was no shoes.
Mostly all the boys -- there was no rubbers that time. Where
would I get it? But we had a teacher here. An old, maybe
about 50, 60-year-old man. They said he came from England.
Mr. Hardiman. He was our teacher here.

Margaret: Well, I know Hardimans now in Winnipeg. And he is
crippled himself but he runs a little paper for the Anglican
church. It may be the same family.
Walter: Maybe it is. I remember Johnny Hardiman; would be a
little younger than me if he is alive. He was later. Maybe
that old man is off now. Maybe he is not living. But I
remember the time he left. He had two sons, anyway. Well, the
boys, you know. They had one baby the time they left here. So
this old gentleman used to tell us all kinds of stories about
in England, you know. And he used to tell us about the
farming. And at last it happened that the old boarding school
was built at Rossville. That's where I went.

Margaret: Well, that would be quite a job to get there,
wouldn't it?

Walter:   Where?

Margaret:   To the school at Rossville?

Walter:   Yeah, but we stayed there.

Margaret: Oh, I see.
Walter: A boarding school.

Margaret:   Oh, yes, of course.

Walter: Yes, a boarding school. That was in 1899, I think.
So, but I didn't learn too much there because I was a big boy
now already. The whole cargo of that school was sunk at the
middle of Lake Winnipeg here. The cargo of that school was
being brought with the old boat called Princess and they struck
a storm, you know. And they broke into two and then sunk. It
happened too quickly. It went down and it shouldn't have.
(Interruption in tape - phone rings) me, I didn't stay
there very long but there was nothing on that school to use.
Of course the beds came in first all right. But I mean the
clothing and the other equipment, you know. But the Hudson's
Bay supplied and the other trader was here, old Heyer. And
charity goods, they gave that and some women, old women that
can do sewing, you know, were called to the school to go and do
the sewing for the little girls and boys, you know, to fit.

Margaret:   The school was for both girls and boys?

Walter: Yes. So we got along with that for the first winter
anyway. And the next year, the whole cargo came again, you
see. Then we had everything. But we didn't have no machines.
And this gentleman I am talking about, this Hardiman, was the
principal that time. He was the first principal. Now, he used
to tell us and show us how to do planting. And he didn't tell
us to rush to work but he just showed us very steadily and he
used to tell us about the steam engine and things like that.
Of course, there was no gasoline engine yet that time. Well,
anyway, he done what is his best. And everybody was very
pleased the way he was trying to organize the people and at the
same time, the Methodist minister was here, Nelson, they were
working together. And the Methodist church was the one who
stood alone in here that time, you know. No other denomination
was here. But that time, these immigrants came here, one at a
time. One farmer, two farmers at a time sometimes. And there
must be so many of us now, the way we are now. But way in the
background, you know, I couldn't tell exactly how tough, you
know. Not really tough, only they didn't have nothing to use
(inaudible) and where would they get the needles, you know,
something like that. They were strong and healthy people, you
know. Like me, I was a very husky chap then.

Margaret:   You still are.

Walter: Yes. (laughs) So, and oh... But my grandmother
though, I'll say my grandmother, these old women, you know,
they used to know how to make grub for the next day with their
open chimney, fire, you know. Like for instance, a man at
Winnipeg asked me when I was in the hospital, "Where did you
get your laxative?" Well, I says, "My grandmother used to know
how to make a laxative." She used to tell us, "When you eat
smoked meat or smoked fish, you don't need no laxative."
That's right. They did know. And they used to give us some
kind of grease, you know, fish oil or something to swallow.
And that chimney, you know, it pulls everything. There was a
lot of fresh air inside. The way I ventilate my house, a
little anyway. But they know more. That's why they have been
living longer, you know. They used to have that open fire
chimneys with the mud. The day school in here, we had no stove
like this, just an open fire chimney.

Margaret:   The open fireplace?

Walter: Yes. Built with mud. Oh yes, only the sparks would
bother us, you know, sometimes. But now, if we had that screen
wires now that time, sparks wouldn't bother anything, see. But
they had nothing at all. And the old ladies used to tan the
skins that they used to make coats with, the rabbit skins. Oh,
those were, you could fall asleep anywhere, as long as you
cover your face. Oh, yes. But these, the earning was not
very, very big. I remember my father working at the Hudson's
Bay hauling. When the boat arrives, you know, they would take
that freight down from the barge, long barge, you know. Took
them a week, you know, to empty that barge on account of the
outfit, you know, from Cross Lake, Split Lake, Nelson House,
Oxford, and Gods Lake, and Island Lake and Norway House too.
So, 50 a day, that's not much. And behind that there were no
cents. There was no dollar, just a skin, one skin. It was
supposed to be 75 of skin. But with that amount for one skin
you will get quite a bit of stuff.

Margaret:   Well, of course, everything was cheaper.

Walter: Was cheaper, yes, yes. Now, today, we say one dollar
but today the dollar's worth is only 25 . When you get $5,
that is only a $1.25.

Margaret:   That's about right.

Walter:   Yeah, that's just about right.   I've been figuring,
you know. When a person gets this relief of $22 for one month
with a few families, when you come to the figuring out and... I
have a boy here who can count quite a bit, you know. Some-
times he counts only 3 a meal with that $22, a little over
sometimes. That is not much.

Margaret: No, it certainly is not.
Walter: But that is on account of the price of stuff. See,
when an Indian, doing a little earning, the money don't go very
far. You can't go there, you can't go to any store without
having $10.

Margaret:   No, you don't get much for it.

Walter: No, you don't get much for that. I think that's what
mostly the people don't realize that, you see. So, as far as
the education here -- like for instance, I told you about the
first boarding school was here. My father was told if he puts
me in school, I may come out from school as a minister or a
teacher, maybe a doctor, carpenter or shoemaker. And so would
the girls with the laundry work. Well, they were all very
pleased, our parents were very pleased to put us in school, you
see. Now when I came out, I went back to the bush. Now, not
because we don't earn anything, we earned quite a bit. Like
for instance, before we have a plane, we spend over $1000 on
the CNA report, taking our freight inland to all destinations.
Finally, we thought we better have our own plane. So, we
bought a second-hand plane first and that was the first one.
And the other one was a little bigger and this, boy, cost them

Margaret:   This is the modern dog team.

Walter: Yes. But it is worthwhile anyway. But what I am kind
of disappointed about is in the early days -- I have a picture
here to show you, the early chiefs in this Norway House. This
was the third chief. He had his uniform on. Lots of times he
used to tell his people that the Indian was first found in here
on this continent, Canada and the States, before Christ was
born. And the Indian is holding the post(?) as he had the
first right, the first chance to do anything than anybody else.
Now, where is that now today? That's what I told, they was
landed here just recently, tried to find out how's things going
on this plane. Now, I hear the planes roaring here and my boy
wouldn't have any chance to do anything. I says, "Too much
regulations. How can we fly around? The law is too strict.
The same with the price." He just shake his shoulders, he
couldn't say anything. Well, he says, "You got a chief here
and a council. It's up to them to decide. The government
don't force you back. You can do any business if you want to
do something." So that's why, my boy wouldn't do anything.
the way this chief used to tell us, "The Agent is our servant.
He is not our boss."

(END OF IH-MS.002, Side B)
(IH-MS.004, Side A)
Margaret: A couple of weeks ago, someone was telling me that
the Indian... Now this is down in Scanterbury, Indians are
given cows or cattle for three years. And after, then when
they have calves from those cattle, then they'll pass the
original ones on to somebody else and have their own cattle
that then are theirs, entirely.

Walter: Well, that's what they used to do long ago. But I
bought mine from my own pocket, you see. Everything, and I had
a little place by Destineesis(?) there and I don't know where
that picture is. But there is quite a few white men have seen
it anyway. And here, another thing, this chief used to tell us
about this flag. Now they come to fly it, I don't say I want
to fight anyone, but the way I was told, you know. And I heard
that in 1910 at York Factory when the treaty was first paid I
was there. Lots of times I've been going downstream at Oxford
House, you know. Well, Mr. Simmons was the Indian Agent that
time that went and paid the treaty at the York Factory where
the... Well, about this flag. He covered the flag with three
men, the chief and two councillors. Well, "The representation
of this flag," he says, "as long as the flag will wave in my
empire, there I will keep you, protect you as a little child
from other enemy." So, when I was in Winnipeg, one man asked
me, "What do you think about that flag?" "Well, nothing much.
But as long as the flag will say the same word as our Queen of
England's flag been told to the Indian people. Well, what
about it?" So I told him. "Oh, is that so?" "Well, it
doesn't matter if Mr. Pearson's flag is saying the same word,
Mr. Pearson it wasnt' bought our land, it was the Queen of
England," I says.

Margaret: Oh, it will stand for the same thing. It seemed to
me sort of silly to change. But, well, I suppose a lot of
people wanted something that seemed to be only Canadian and it
wasn't. Oh, they said that the flag that we had was really an
English flag and they wanted a purely Canadian one. I don't
think it's that important. I think the laws and the government
are the real thing and the flag is just a sort of symbol. But
that won't change.

Walter: Well, it doesn't matter but as long as we, when the
Indian wants to do something, the government there or Indian
Affairs should be active, you know. To try to support what the
Indians were trying to do.

Margaret: Well, there have been some good Indian Agents and
some poor ones. And certainly there should be much more active
help and assistance when people are trying to do things

Walter: Yes. We need assistance, all right. It's nice, this
dollar, you know, only 25 compared to the price. So when we
get a dollar, we don't say we have a dollar.

Margaret: No, we haven't. Well, how old were you when you
went into the bush then? When you left school?
Walter: I left school in 1903. My father died and he had two
cattle here. I had to look after it so the chief took me out.
I was supposed to be there another year. The children used to
stay in school till 18 years old at that time, you see. But I
was 17 and I think I went 18 in the bush with my grandfather.
So, I done a lot from the bush.

Margaret:   Then you were trapping and hunting?

Walter: Trapping and hunting, yes. And of course I done -- I
used to work sometimes for the Hudson's Bay, carpentering, you
know. Like this house, I built this house with the logs. And
I bought this very expensive stuff, flooring, from the Hudson's
Bay company. The windows and storm windows and everything,
doors. Only I didn't finish it. So, had the materials too.
But when my young son got married, I told him to try to get a
house and the Agent only gave him a little stuff like that so I
had to help my boy. I had to give him all the materials. I
had that wallboard and roofing and paint and everything for
this house. But we can finish it anytime.

Margaret:   This is a lovely floor, beautiful wood.

Walter: So, like this, I didn't order this. I just wanted one
log and the boy's been sawing, sawed half of it and then I smooth
it with a plane, you see. I didn't send for it, I didn't buy
it. But what about my sweat, anyway?

Margaret:   Well, that's fine wood.

Walter: Yeah. So, I think I done my best and at last when
doctor would ask me a question, "How far from your place where
you've been sick?" "It's a good seventy miles on air route," I
said. He asked me, "Did you ever go and ask for any assis-
tance?" "Yes, I did lots of times, sometimes, but not very
often." "But what was the answer?" "Well, tighten up your
belt and go to the bush." So we went there. "Well, how did it
happen, how you got home?" "Well, I had two of my sons with me
that time and a helper. There were four of us and three of
these boys came home to bring the news that I'm sick over
there." But before they left, they all gathered wood and I had
grub anyway, but that was hard travelling that time. It took
them ten nights before they could get at Norway House. It was
deep snow. You had to have good dogs but the dogs wouldn't do
any better. So, when they got to Norway House, the government
doctor wouldn't get any, didn't ever take any airplane. The
pilot says, "Look, kind of poor flying weather." But it
happened my boy flew back from Winnipeg with his plane and the
doctor told him to go for me. So, the boy flew the same day to
my camp with his brother and he wanted to come back the same
night but I didn't take it. I didn't like to fly in the night
time. So we stayed there for a night and then the next morning
they brought me.

Margaret:   How long ago was this?

Walter:   In 1955.   Well, "Did your son get any pay?"   "No."
"Why?" "Because you didn't allow him to fly any persons," I
said. "Oh, that's silly! All right, I'll see to that," he
said. Well, anyway I paid it from my own pocket. See, well,
the only way -- I don't like to say something much about my,
about these white men here, I don't say I hate -- I like the
white man because I have been with the white man almost all my
life and this little English I have, I didn't learn that in
school. Mostly I've been learned that English from the party
of the white men that I went around with in York Factory, you
know, here and there. And I was on the sailboat for six
summers at Lake Winnipeg.

Margaret:   Were you?

Walter:   Oh yes, I done quite a bit in my life.

Margaret:   Well, the sailboats would be to bring in fish or...?

Walter: Yeah, for the commercial fishing. It was a horrible
time sometime, when the winds were blowing hard. I was the
second man, you know. When the tug is carrying the sailboats
and when they want to pick a sailboat from the station you know,
if that big wind is out, you have to stand there on the front
mast, you know, to throw that, pull in the rope to the other
guy. I never liked it before. (laughs)

Margaret: Did they have a large number?     Was there a fleet of

Walter:   Oh yes, yes, quite a bit.

Margaret:   Must have been quite a sight!

Walter: Oh yes, quite a sight. The tug couldn't come any
closer than twenty feet anyway because of these bars, you know.
They might get caught and upset the boat, you know. So you got
to be very strong man to throw that rope to the other mast.
Yeah, so now I wouldn't do that.

Margaret:   Well, when did they finally give up the sailboats?

Walter: Well, I couldn't remember it exactly. Maybe -- oh, I
couldn't say exactly. Quite some years ago, anyway. Of
course, they were just about the same danger, you know, with
the gas boat and the sailboat when the storms comes, you know,
in the big sea.

Margaret: Even the Kenora, over the weekend when I came up, on
Tuesday, it was rough.

Walter:   (laughs)   Yes, yes.

Margaret:   It was pounding.     Heavy.

Walter: Yes, there was no bread that time, you know, long ago.
Just the bannock. And you just got very little, so much in the
morning. But you get another something, what your grandmother
or your mother made on the day before, so you could have
something in the morning. So, now we are too many of us now in
here. We kind of crowded up. And about this line here, power
line run now, I wouldn't take it, you know, on account that
this son of mine here is a pilot here, says the house is not
strong enough and is not fixed enough. He thinks the house has
got to be fixed first before we can take the power in here, you
see. Before we have to phone them.

Margaret: Yes, you have the telephone. At least you can get
in touch with people. You don't have to row all the way down.

Walter: No, no, yeah. And this boy of mine here, he owns the
fishing station at Destineesis(?), yeah. But he is not fishing
this summer. Not at present but he is going to fish in the
fall, in the month of September, I think. He got ice over
there. And he is trying to make a... We went over to the
Indian Agent yesterday. We have a community officer here.
They flew over there that he's wanting to make a fishing lodge
there and they see him and Allen, the forest there. And this
boy of mine, he used to forest... the plane, you know. So they
went and walk around and saw the place and a fine sandy beach,
you know, for swimming.

Margaret:   Good.

Walter: And it got a beach and you can go on canoe or skiff.
And the first rapid is just only about a mile or half a mile,
maybe three quarters of a mile before you can row to the canoe.
And the rapid is not very dangerous, you know. And you can go
to the south end with another opening on the south end of that
lake and there is two rivers coming to this bay where you can
go quite a ways and take a picture of the beaver houses and
maybe you will see the... Lots of bears, you know. Walking
and maybe you'll meet the beaver swimming in the water or
something. Some wolves, you know.

Margaret:   Are there many wolves left?

Walter:   Oh yes!   I don't like them.

Margaret:   No, I wouldn't think so.

Walter: I don't like them. And even bears, too many bears
now. Last spring there, the boys that went there, the bears
stole all their beaver meat. They couldn't leave anything
there. Too many bears, you know. They got to be killed, you
know, some anyway. Plenty of fur now, eh. But it is really
quite a bit of work to straighten up that pelt, you know. It
is almost work like a moose hide.

Margaret:   Be a pretty tough pelt, wouldn't it?

Walter:   Yes, yes.   But it is nice to eat, you know.

Margaret:   I had some not long ago, bear meat.
    Walter: Oh, yes. So then we didn't see the Agent, just what
    you call the other man, the assistant. So we had to go for the
    information and they kept some here at (inaudible). The other
    man from Winnipeg was going along with the Indian Agent
    (inaudible), you know. That's why they didn't make anything
    back, you know. So, my brother trying to loan the money, you
    know, to take it out. But I don't know if he'll get it or not.

    (End of Interview)
   INDEX TERM            IH NUMBER         DOC NAME      DISC #    PAGE #

  -accounts of        IH-MS.002B/.004A     W. BRADFORD     44     4,5
  -trading practices IH-MS.002B/.004A      W. BRADFORD    44      2,3,6
                      IH-MS.002B/.004A     W. BRADFORD     44     6
  -York boat          IH-MS.002B/.004A     W. BRADFORD    44      2
  -attitudes toward   IH-MS.002B/.004A     W. BRADFORD    44      8

                            PROPER NAME INDEX

  PROPER NAME              IH NUMBER      DOC NAME       DISC #    PAGE #

NORWAY HOUSE, MAN.       IH-MS.002b/.004a W. BRADFORD     44      2,3,7,10

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