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ACIMOWIN Mikisiw Pîsim (February 2017)



Interview with Steve Wood from Northern Cree 2017 Grammy Nominee

1. What position to you hold at Ermineskin school? Steve: (responds in Cree). I’m the Cree language Teacher at the school for grade 7 to grade 12, and I also do many of the cultural things. We have a school drum group and a dance troupe, our whole day is based on our culture, it starts off like that. Just like any other school, they have like a national anthem. Our school plays our own anthem our flag song and it’s live our students do it. We gather three hundred and sixty students into the gathering area every morning and we start off the day the same way with the flag song done by our group and we all pray together. We give thanks and then the announcements are made and then the kids are off to class to the sound of the drum group. 2. Who’s all nominated for the drum group for the 2017 Grammy Nominees? Steve: Our whole group is nominated. Guide: Do you know the names off hand? Steve: We represent several communities in the Treaty Six area. We always say we represent the Treaty Six area and not just one community. Myself, I’m from Saddle Lake and I’m the original founder of the group. So people sometimes think the group originated from Saddle Lake. But I’m also from Maskwacis because I live here. I’ve lived here for thirty years. We have group members that are band members from Louis Bull and Samson. There’s actually eleven of us heading down to the Grammy Awards in Las Vegas next week. We’ll be flying out on Thursday because we have rehearsals. This came as a total surprise to us. I never thought we would be nominated again. We had been nominated six time but that was when they had, like a Native American Music category. Then they dissolved the category and put our music

Inside this issue...

Pg 2 Interview with Steve Wood from Norhtern Cree Pg 5 Interview with Samson Chief Pg 8 Pikani Pow Wow Pg 18 Social Insurance Number Clinic Pg 24 Howard Buffalo Memorial Pg 25 Interview with Holly Johnson-Rattlesnake about Howard Buffalo Pg 27 Job opportunity: Roots & Berries Pg 28 Job Opportunity: Montana Lands Assistant Pg 30 Job Opportunity: Samson Newsletter Editor

into different categories. So I thought, the likely hood of us being nominated ever again but would be never. So it came as quite a surprise when we heard it that morning that we’d been nominated for Regional Roots category. Again, after they dissolved our category I let go of the memberships because we had memberships with the Grammy Association, we had twelve of them. We would vote too. After the category was dissolved I thought what’s the point. After the nomination, I started to think, well, people voted for us. Different people voted for us. It wasn’t any of us. So our own original genre of music that originated with us is actually being listened to by different ethnicities, different groups of people all over the world. Which I think is a good thing. Here’s the music that’s been here since time immemorial but it’s new to mainstream society. It’s like an awakening for them because they have a familiarity with it: that beat, we all do. Every human does, it’s the heartbeat. The heartbeat of the earth. Their just starting to recognize that. Just a couple of us were going, a couple weeks later we got the call and we’re opening up the Grammy Awards. We are actually the first performance and initially when they called they said we would be mixing our music with some kind of percussion music from down south. Then the producer called me back a couple days ago and said ‘We can’t do that, I listened to your music, it’s the real thing, it’s raw, and the energy and natural. We have to have that.’ So we’re actually performing exactly like the way our original music was performed. There’s no gimmicks. 3. Are you going to be wearing traditional regalia? Steve: That’s an interesting question because you know, when I started sitting around the drum and singing, I never thought about awards or Grammy Awards or anything. We were just doing it because it was something that we grew up with and it makes us feel good, and it feels good to make other people feel good. So when we first got nominated for a Grammy, we had no idea other than what we had seen on TV: People in suits and tuxedos. So we went and we were all dressed up in tuxedos, nobody spoke to us. Nobody approached us. Nothing like that, we were invisible. Those suits were uncomfortable, I can’t figure out how they could wear those things all day. The next year we went as ourselves. Like our people, beaded vests, moccasins, whatever bead work we could wear. We were like magnets! I’m not kidding you. People would just come up and wanted to touch our clothing. Even some of the biggest name stars. That’s when we had the opportunity to go on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno which was a real big thing. So of course we’re going to dress up to the hilt. Where we want to show that we are the real thing. We don’t only play this on the weekends or whenever, we’re the real thing. We live in our communities and nȇhiyaw-e-ahk, we speak our language, for some of us we read and write it. We live in these communities. When we go home, we go home here on the reserve. We don’t go home somewhere else. That’s what I’m the most proud about is that, we’re not emulating somebody else’s music. We’re not singing about our social issues, we’re the real thing, were singing the real songs. The music that originated before anyone else came to this land. I’m proud of that: that we’re able to represent in that manner, and of course when we hit that stage we want to make everyone proud. We’re going to try our best and we’re going to bring energy to that the best we can for our people and for all people because in this time, right now, all over the world, people need peace. We have to send out that message. That’s what I hear from the Elders is that, some day, First Nations people are going to show the rest of the people about how to live in peace and to accept 2

one another. Just like we did five hundred years ago when they first arrived here we welcomed them. We helped them. We helped them survive. And I hear from the Elders that time will come. You know, we can’t depend on anybody to do it for us. Even to save our language, we have to do it ourselves. We have to teach our kids about our ceremonies and about our way of life, our language because someday that’s what going to keep us alive. And that’s what kept us alive for the past how many hundreds of years. We’ve had historical trauma on our people. And someday, just like five hundred years ago, people are going to come to us and ask us to help them to survive. How are we going to do that? With our traditional teachings, our ceremonies, our way of life and the respect that we have for the land. 4. Is there anyone you would like to thank at this point? Steve: (responds in Cree). To think about it, if a person thinks about it, you give thanks to the Creator first. You have to give thanks to the Elders and the people who carried on this way of life. Even at that time when it wasn’t cool to be an Indian. My Father who was a singer, my uncles and those other people who were singers before and kept this way of life around the drum alive, those people have to be thanked because we never would have gotten to this stage otherwise, and of course, our families. When I was first starting out, our group would go on the road for three weeks. My wife stood still beside me, she deserves a lot of credit. My brother’s family deserve credit. All of our people, the people that listen to the pow wow music and round dance music. The people that go out to round dances and not expecting anything and out there just for the spiritual aspect of it. For giving us Mostos for giving us the drum, the hide that he gives up for that sound. There are so many people to thank and to recognize. I probably missed a few and that wasn’t my intention. We want to acknowledge them all. Even those people that picked up our music and listened to it. The record label, Canyon Records. Sometimes I tell that white guy, “You’re an Indian stuck in a white man’s body.” Because this guy has an ear for the music. He understands it. It’s not just, let’s make money off of it. It’s more than that to him. I have to thank all those people. And all those living spirits that were part of it. Our culture is so beautiful. I got to so many places that I never would have gone. I’ve met so many people that we’d have never met. The drum took us there. Our culture took us there. I often wonder when I’m sitting at a drum at a pow wow and I’m looking at all the kids having fun, dancing, the Elders talking, I wonder if other people have these kind of events. I wonder if they do they have this intimacy in their event. I haven’t seen any, and I’m not talking about concerts because there not the same. It’s not the same intimacy. There could be ten thousand people there and it would be like one big family. So we’re blessed in that regard. I keep thinking about this, this is a great opportunity for us, it’s an opportunity to show young people that they don’t have to be anybody else, they can be themselves. They can aspire to great things and they can be proud of it. That’s the whole idea. Every young First Nations person on Turtle Island that sees this, will know that they can. Where do you think the first place we’d take that Grammy if we won? Right here at this school. The first place is these schools. I want to them to able to actually touch it. I want them to know that the person who won it lives right here and I see him every day and he’s just like us. I want them to think, I can do anything I want, it’s possible. It’s so much more than just getting on that stage and look at us. We try and do everything properly before we go. We’ll have ceremony before we go, we’ll feed 3

our drum and then we’ll have prayer. So that we have strength to do the right things to represent, to have good travels. And that when we come back everything is still the same. Like our families and communities are still the same. I make it a point when we go to these different events, like the Canadian Consulate, and the pre-Grammy nominee party where only the nominees go and that’s where you get to mingle with all the big name stars and there’s no media and you just get to talk with them. I have a thing about that and I make it clear to all the men in the drum group that no one drinks alcohol. They are adults and I’m not saying you can’t drink at all but if you want to drink, you can drink back at the room or the lounge. Because those people, they’re not only looking at us, they’re looking at our image and who we are, and the perspective that they have of us from history. From the way that they historically looked at us, people with alcohol problems, we’re not that. I don’t drink myself. So if the men from the drum group want to drink they can drink on their own time. 5. Where can people get a hold of you for interviews or pictures after you get home? Steve: I work here every day at Ermineskin school. I’m here all the time. It’s not about me though, it’s about that entity. I always say, we are blessed. That spirit, that Norther Cree spirit that took us all over the place, that’s what it is. It’s so much more than just one person, it’s a group of different people representing different bands, representing this tribe because that’s something I rationalize about too. There’s only one nation, it’s the Cree Nation, there’s a bunch of bands that belong to it and if we get that straight we’re going to be powerful again.


The Release of Buffalo at Elk Island National Park on January 29, 2017: Interview with Chief Kurt Buffalo 1.What was the meaning behind the Buffalo Treaty send off ceremony that took place at Elk Island National Park (Alberta) on Sunday January 29, 2017? Kurt: We’ll have to take a little step back on the whole intent on what the release was about. It was really a culmination of a lot of effort by Parks Canada staff and Treaty 7. Looking at the reintroduction of bison into their natural habitat. As we’re aware that it’s been one hundred and forty years since there has been bison in Banff National Park. So that’s a long time. Initially, the intent was to release them in certain areas but know they are going about it strategically. So what happened was there was a Treaty signed with Treaty 7 bands. And looking at the buffalo in a way where we used to look at it traditionally. It was a one stop shop: food, clothing, shelter, tools and ceremonial purposes. So looking at that and how we work together today as bands and trying to find those commonalities. So that was the kind of thinking behind the initial Treaty that was signed. So as Treaty 6, Samson Band was the first one to actually sign on. We were invited to be participants in watching them sign the document. So we asked, could we sign it as Samson Band because we used to have a huge herd of buffalo. One of the things I told them, if you want to have a buffalo Treaty you got to have buffalo at the table. So that was one of the things we talked about. So they allowed us to come in. So with that we signed an adhesion to that Treaty with the American bands in Fort Peck. That was done last year. So this year again we went to Banff and we signed onto another Treaty 4 band’s buffalo treaty, and I believe there was some people there from South America that were interested. And looking at it as a way for First Nations to work together because it’s been, I believe Dr. Leroy Littlebear said it’s been about one hundred and forty or fifty years since First Nations actually signed Treaty amongst ourselves. This gave us an opportunity to look at that. So bringing the buffalo back to Banff National Park was really about two things: because if you look at one hundred and forty years since the bison had been in the Banff National Park, it’s been one hundred and forty years since we signed Treaty. So they were taken out of their natural area and at the same time we were then put onto reserves. Nothing happens by chance. It kind of opened our eyes to some of the things that we need to do collectively and that’s the reintroduction of bison into their natural habitats. We all know and understand that we have one Mother: that’s Mother Earth. We all need to treat Mother Earth with respect. I said this in my interview with A.P.T.N., they asked me why it’s so important. I said if you think about your own home as a parent and you hear the footsteps of your child in your home, it’s welcoming. It brings you some comfort. So imagine what Mother Earth is like when the bison disappeared from certain areas. Why is a concept like that hard to think about? So it’s about healing our mother by allowing her 5

children to roam free in certain areas. So that’s really the whole significance about the bison themselves. 2. Why is it important to have the buffalo reintroduced in the area? People from Maskwacis and the buffalo at Elk Island National Park are not too far from each other. What would be the benefit of the people going up there and seeing them? Kurt: I think if you see the buffalo, whether your driving by Elk Island National Park and you happen to be standing by the road, you get a certain feeling because your in awe of how majestic they are. So looking at that and giving that opportunity to other people to view Mother Nature’s creation, Creators creation. So bringing that experience back to the park is really amazing. Not to say that people can go right into the buffalo pad because I believe it’s in a secluded area where they have four hundred square kilometers reserved for them. I was told there is opportunity for tourism and it will bring some revenue to the park. It about experience and giving our children an experience to look at these amazing animals. 3. How important is it for young people to remember Treaty? Kurt: Well Treaty ties us to the land. If you go back to Treaty 6 itself and that’s the only one I can speak of. The stories I have been told by Elders is that when Treaty was introduced by the Queen’s representatives. They did ceremony, they asked the forefathers, foremothers and Creator, through ceremony that went on for about a week, asking questions on what this was about. It tied us to the land. If you look at Treaty 6 itself, it talks about as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and rivers flow, what other Treaty has that? It ties us to Mother Earth, it ties us to Creator, and it ties us to creation. So Treaty is important because of that ceremony. If you look at what we have left we have small tracts of land left as First Nations but that’s what’s tying us to Mother Earth. So that’s the important significance, it’s a Treaty with the Crown, First Nations and the Creator. If you think back to some of the stories I’m sure you heard this. When the buffalo returns the red man will rise again. This is part of that. It’s a part of our belief that these are stories and legends we were told. You could say it’s a prophecy. So we’re going to rise up as nations, as economic forces. Not to say that we’re going to take up the bow and arrow. It’s about getting to that next level of evolution. 4. What does the buffalo symbolize for the Indian people? Kurt: We talk about in our ceremonies, nap-ee-ow mostis, that’s the Grandfather spirit. Through ceremony and songs we’re connected with creation through the buffalo. Because the buffalo provides everything as I said earlier. It’s like a Walmart. Chief Wesley form Morley used to say this all the time: 6

we had the first Walmart. We had food, clothing, shelter and tools. He said, if Walmart had a section where they sold Bibles then they’d catch up. Because we use it for ceremony. That’s really the significance for us. 5. What do you want nation members to get from this? Kurt: I want them to able to ask themselves how they can be involved. If we are going to fix our situation as a collective family, I’ll say, a global family we need to start paying attention and listen to Mother Earth. Mother Earth is telling us all these things that need to happen. Mother Earth is in an imbalance right now. We’ve had years of oil royalties, we’ve lived a good life in Maskwacis because of Mother Earth but we’ve never given thanks. So this is just our way, a small way of saying thank you for what you’ve given us. We will help you get your children back to where they need to be. So let’s all get involved. Let’s all be a part of this bringing balance back to nature because we all have one Mother and let’s act like we all have the one Mother, respect each other, love each other, and encourage each other to live a better life. That’s all we can do. Ekosi !

Mâskwacis Athletes Fundraising Calendar for N.A.I.G. 2017 $20 Purchase the calendars at the locations in Maskwacis. Please call the Samson Newsletter at 780-585-3796 ext. 281 to reserve a copy. All proceeds going to Maskwacis athletes going to Toronto on July 16-23, 2017. 7








Friday February 10th, 2017 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm Main Course and Dessert $29.99 Choice of Starter ►Fresh Corn Chowder with Chili Oil ►Taco Soup topped with Sour Cream ►Cree-sar Salad-Nipsis’ twist on the Caesar, with Indian Popcorn Main Course Hand carved Alberta Prime Rib with Stuffed Potato, traditional Yorkshire Pudding and Buttered Seasonal Vegetables Choice of Desert ►Crème Brule ►Red Velvet Cake Come up or call us to book your table today. Ph: 780-585-0342

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Information Session With the Canada Child Benefit you may receive up to $6,400 per child.

Find out more: Wednesday February 15, 2017-10:30 am Howard Buffalo Memorial Centre (HBMC) Presented by: Service Canada and Canada Revenue Agency In order to apply for the Canada Child Benefit, you will need to a have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and file an income tax and benefit return. For more information please contact: Carmella Cutknife Ph: 780-585-3305 Email:

Social Insurance Number Clinic With the Canada Child Benefit you may receive up to $6,400 per child.

Find out more: Wednesday February 15, 2017-1:30 pm to 2:30 pm Howard Buffalo Memorial Centre (HBMC) Presented by Service Canada In order to apply for the Canada Child Benefit, you will need to a have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and file an income tax and benefit return. Service Canada staff will be available to provide you with more information and help you get a Social Insurance Number (SIN). If you are in need of a Social Insurance Number (SIN) please bring your birth certificate, your certificate of Indian Status and any other forms of Federal or Provincial indentification you may have. For more information please contact: Carmella Cutknife Ph: 780-585-3305







HOWARD BUFFALO MEMORIAL CENTRE October 8, 1980 Est. The Howard Buffalo Memorial Center was named in Honor of the Late Howard Buffalo – Wahpiyesiw (White Thunderbird). He had a vision to have a multi-purpose recreational facility constructed within the Samson Cree Nation for the benefit of all Nation members young and old. Howard Buffalo dedicated a lot of his time as a volunteer Recreation Director for the Samson Band before he was elected into Council for 12 years during which time he continued his involvement and support in Recreation. Mr. Buffalo was also President of the Agricultural Society for a number of years and through his dedication and commitment to the community, he was able to lay the groundwork for the future construction of the facility. Unfortunately, Howard was not able to see his vision fulfilled as he passed away December 1975. The Howard Buffalo Memorial Center opened its doors on October 8, 1980. This multi-purpose recreation facility was designed to address the recreational needs of the community. The facility was equipped with an Olympic size gymnasium, 2 racquet ball courts, 3 saunas, whirlpool, weight room, Elders Center, office spaces, concession, arts & crafts area, Olympic size track and 4 ball diamonds. Honoring the Legacy of Late Howard Buffalo is his wife Dolly, sons Gary, Chester, Kirk, Cameron, Benji, Gordon, Warren, his daughters Linda, Judy and Carolyn and the Community. Howard will be remembered for his love of sports, and the encouragement he offered to all of the young men and women. We remember his words “Push ahead and never give up”. Honoring the legacy of the late Howard Buffalo – Wapiskipiyes (White Thunderbird), who dedicated so much of his time to the development of sports & recreation in our Community. We remember his words “Push ahead and never give up”.


Councillor Holly JohnsonRattlesnake and the Legacy of the late Howard Buffalo Question 1: Late Howard Buffalo was honoured at the reclaiming our Knowledge Conference that was held at the HBMC on january 24 -26, 2017, could you tell me the reclaiming aspect of the HBMC Holly: We started the reclaiming our Knowledge about 3 years ago, and the purpose of that was to educate and to also bring forward our knowledge keepers, so they can so training and stuff like that. and because we brought it home locally, we found the highlight, if we were going to hold it at HBMC, now is a good time to reintroduce Howard Buffalo. Howard Buffalo has a legacy with Samson Cree Nation, he was a former band councillor, and he also had a passion with the tradition and he was an avid sports promoter and sports supporter. I remember him as a little girl, that he always had young boys around him, he was showing them the drum and the singing and stuff like that, I just remember vaguely about him, but I remember he was a leader in his time. With the HBMC, when you ask the new generation it they realize or understand why it called HBMC, and if you ask them the question, do you know Howard Buffalo? they don’t know. So i thought it would be a good time to re-introduce and to re-claim the HBMC Centre so that it’s remembered for what it is , it a memorial center and a legacy of an individual that was a leader in our community, it not just HBMC. Guide: Yeah that good , that really explains it really good Question 2: How did late Howard Buffalo view Sports and Physical activity? Holly. Like i said he was an avid supporter, and from what i understood, when the facility was built and when they were naming it, it was in memory of him, it was in memory of Howard Buffalo, who was a avid sports supporter and also a traditional supporter. Guide: Do you recommend Samson Cree Nation member getting out there and exercising? Holly: Absolutely, using the facility, its an older facility now, and im sure we do need some upgrades, but you know what we have it, we should grateful that we have such a facility, and to utilize it to its maximum, I totally agree with that. Question 3: What kind of legacy did Howard Buffalo want to leave behind for the nation members? Holly: I would think it was all related to the sports and having also people understand the traditional way, Nehiyaw Pimatsowin, Iyno Pimatsowin, he was a true follower of that, but also a combination of at the time there was alot of Rodeo and Hockey happening back then and he supported that, I remember there used to be a rodeo just accross where the howard buffalo memorial was built, there used to a rodeo grounds and he was always there and supporting that.


Maskwacis Jr. Hawks at the Wetaskiwin Timbit Tournament February 4-5, 2017 Coaches from left to right: Jason Makinaw, Tom Crier and Nolan Buffalo. Players in no particular order with Jersey Number: Jessy Bruno 16, Hayden Buffalo 8, Kently Buffalo 5, Nikolai Buffalo 44, Rylan Buffalo 87, Kealan Crane 10, Noah Cutknife-Yellowbird 22, Pierson Larocque 17, Wyatt Littlechild 4, Liddel Makinaw 93, Jerome Montour 14, Ryan Roan 9, Jacob Saddleback 33, Costin Saskatchewan 11, Neveah Soosay 2, Kash Minde 7.






Rough Stock Nights Every Thursday from 6pm to 9pm at the Panee Memorial Agriplex. For more information please call Todd or Sandy at 780-5853991.

Buffalo Ranch Rodeo 31

Maskwacis Regional Office Samson Mall P.O. Box 60 Maskwacis, AB T0C 1N0 Ph: 780-585-3013 Fax: 780-585-2216 Email: Business Hours: 9:30am to 4:30pm

ACIMOWIN Samson Cree Nations’s Newsletter Email: Delorna Makinaw, Communications Coordinator (P) 780-585-3793 ext. 266 (F) 780-585-2700 Follow us on FB and Twitter 32

Nipisihkopahk Acimowin  

Samson Cree Nation Newsletter Volume 5 issue 17

Nipisihkopahk Acimowin  

Samson Cree Nation Newsletter Volume 5 issue 17