Last week I didn’t stay in Sheshatshiu, I went to Nutshimit to help the kids in treatment. I stayed there one week. My daughter, she came Sunday morning to pick me up to come home. I talk about what happened in the woods. We had a good time, we had a picnic with the children on the Churchill River. Sometimes we went for a walk and put out some snares.
Then my daughter said to me, “Have you heard anything?” I said no, I didn’t hear nothing. Then my daughter, she showed me the video, one man and three women, and told me everything that happened. She told me the Akenashau were being insulting to the Innu. And then I couldn’t help but start crying, I was very shocked, just like it broke my heart. I don’t know why someone would do that. I was so sad and angry. I was thinking and I was crying and my daughter was driving. I told her “Why did those people do that?” The children are very precious to me, I love all of them, even the ones that aren’t my grandchildren.
When I walk, the children come with me, when I go on a canoe trip I take the children. Why do they put the children and me together with gas sniffing? Always I try to help the children stop the gas sniffing. All mothers and grandmothers are sad about gas sniffing. Why do the Akenashau make us more sad?… 1
I read with interest your Oct. 13th article in The Labradorian “Labrador connection- new hall at MUN residence named after WW1 Inuk sniper.” I can add some additional information about Lance Corporal John Shiwak.
All of his Royal Newfoundland Regiment (RNR) papers are available on microfilm at The Rooms in St. John’s, and copies of these can be printed. I have a copy of most of his documents (as well as some of my grandfather’s and a few others). Included in John Shiwak’s documents are his enlistment papers, his medical examination report, his will, a letter of sympathy that accompanied his kit bag when it was returned to his mother Sarah, and her reply (as written by Rev. Henry Gordon).
He died in Masnieres, France on Nov. 21, 1917, and the town has one of the five caribou monuments that stand in France and Belgium as a memorial to members of the RNR. His captain (writing to Dr. Harry Paddon’s sister in England) indicated “We were walking along the canal bank towards the sugar factory when one shell burst in the middle of our column and killed seven…” and another letter in his file gives the exact coordinates of where he was buried. You can see the remains of the sugar factory as you walk along the canal in Masnieres even now. Sadly, most of these areas were fought over again and again, and graves themselves were blown up in the shelling and battles that followed— a single…