[Note: much of conversation in Cree. (….) indicates Cree Conversation
The tape opens with drumming and singing by MR. Auger. A good tape for demonstration of solo performance, in a strong, clear voice.
Rick Belcourt, (working through interpreter) asks them their names…..
Interpreter. My grandfather is Gene Auger. My grandmother is Mary Ann Auger. (…)
Are you of a different tribe?
Rick Belcourt. No, I am also Cree, but I live in British Columbia. I don’t speak good Cree because I was raised in a Mission in Grouard. How long have your people been in Wabiscaw.(…)
Interpreter. She was here when she was a child, when there were only a few people, all trappers. Mr. Auger was born here, Mrs. Auger was born close to
Wabiscaw, but not in this area.(…).
Rick Belcourt. Was he alive when Treaty was signed here?(…)
Interpreter. They think they were, but don’t remember. (They would be over 75 years old.)
Rick Belcourt. Now, the Indian music, How did they learn that?(…)
Interpreter. They just listened and copied.
Rick Belcourt. Did they have tea dances?(…)
Interpreter. They used to sing for about two nights.
Rick Belcourt. What are those songs about?(…)
Interpreter. They used to dance to these songs at the tea dancing.(…)
There were different kids of songs for different things.
Rick Belcourt. Do they have songs for singing to the Manitou?(…)
Interpreter. At the tea dances we sang songs to the Manitou.
Rick Belcourt. Ask them if the Roman Catholic faith “spoiled” the tea dances and the songs. (…) (very animated conversation)
Interpreter. He says they used to steal those songs from the owners. (Meaning not clarified in English.) (…) He says the R.C.’s sing in a funny language, but there is an old guy (in Wabiscaw) who knows all the old songs, and he is happy when that guy sings.
Rick Belcourt. (Speaking of the medicine bag) Did you buy that bag? How much?
Interpreter. How much would you pay for it?
Rick Belcourt. I don’t have much money, but I can give her five dollars right now.
(…) Will she take ten dollars for that. (…)
Interpreter. She would.
Rick Belcourt. I’ll give her ten dollars for that. (…)
Interpreter. She’ll leave the medicine in it too. When you speak and can hardly hear yourself, you can chew a little bit of that and heal yourself. (…) (There were other herbs
in the bag. – big leaves.) (…) They grow far away. (…)
[Footnote: Mr. Belcourt brought us the medicine bag, finely made of moose hide, and containing a number of unidentified roots, leaves, etc. It was from this sample of rat root that we were able to get an identification as the well known acorus calamus, known for centuries to pharmacists of Asia, Europe, and North America for its medicinal qualities.