By Rick Garrick
FORT WILLIAM — Cree artist/rapper Shivastik shares details about his art, including painting a duck decoy, during his performance at Fort William’s first annual Fall Festival Oct. 23 at the Fort William First Nation Community Center.
“Our heritage where I go hunting in the fall is miles and miles of flats [on James Bay] which are under six feet of water twice a day at low, high tide,” said Shivastik, a Moose Cree citizen. “We can’t carry all our dirt so it takes us half an hour to walk there as the tide goes out. We quickly put a blind and we use mud decoys; We just turn the mud over, mud with this black mud underneath, so it’s a white stick, this little black mound with pieces of driftwood.”
Shivastik says the snow geese they are hunting have dark bodies and white heads.
“Since we’re killing our ducks and geese with dirt, instead of piling our ducks, we make decoys out of them,” says Shivastik. “So that’s it [painting] One of the duck shots we shot – this is from a photo I took
Shivastik’s Flow feat from his Land Bass album. Bradley also performed some of his songs, including AJ and Dean Rose Moore, for the Native American Music Awards on November 19 at the Seneca Niagara Hotel and Casino in Niagara Falls, NY. .
Shivastik said, “I had a great time. “It’s always a huge honor to be a part of something like this, to be a part of an event that’s about culture, sharing culture and fighting to bring back our culture.”
Fall Harvest also features traditional crafts and education and live demonstrations, as well as bouncy castles and activities for children.
“It’s beautiful, it’s hands-on, there’s a lot for people to learn,” said Danielle Pelletier, an Ontario Works case worker in Fort William. “Inside it is face painting for kids and [bouncy castles]. Actual outdoor activities that go back to when we lived off the land, so there’s a hidden tan. Everyone has a booth for our learning, science answers, we have a teepee for sharing circles, and we’re going to have a dinner at 5pm.”
George Price, a Coast Salish wood carver from B.C., who lives in Thunder Bay, said he had a kit for making canoes for children.
“It has side ribs and it also comes with sinew—that’s where you learn how to sew,” says Price. “I brought some awls and birch bark so they can learn how to make holes in the bark and I’ve got a block of wood here so today I’m going to split it up and make some sheaths for the floor.”
They were demonstrating the making of gill-nets, part of a program they are developing for Matawa First Nations management in Thunder Bay, said John Wallmark, a citizen and Aboriginal heritage specialist at Fort William Historical Park’s Lac La Croix.
“We’re going to provide a train-the-trainer program for them at the fort,” Wallmark said. “We are training the trainers who are going to train the youth in their communities.”
Mishkegogamang Elders Maxine Baer and Isabelle Beardy and Brenda Beardy, both Muskrat Dam citizens, cooked some bannock, fried bread and moose stew over the campfire for the feast.
“It’s good, it tastes like smoked bannock when it’s cooked,” Baer says of bannock cooked in a frypan.