|Winston Wuttunee & |
University of Manitoba
Winston initially talks about music and how young Aboriginal Cree youth traditionally would learn music in the family in his time. Winston's father was the farm instructor at the local IRS. A place that Winston refused to say the name out loud. Winston's father was born in 1892 and was well educated having earned a grade 12 education at the IRS. His family was eventually moved to Battleford when Winston was only 2. The family did not speak English at home for they only spoke Cree, but he sure did learn English quickly. His father soon started a business of a livery stable (horse repair shop). After that he created another Business selling water and delivering water from house to house for 75¢ a barrel. Whenever he would come home after work he would empty his pockets full of coins and Winston's uncles Bill and Noel would then come over and help him count the coins. The family become quite well off and eventually Winston's father would start selling and delivering ice from house to house.
Winston and my father (James Ouelette as recorded on the birth certificate and with Indian Affairs but he always used Ouellette) would fight side by side against the other Moonyas children. They were very smart because they needed to be. They were able to run extremely quick. They would place rock piles around the streets in corners in order to defend themselves against the Moonyas (white) children. I asked if there was some racism at that time period and Winston there was just some racism Robert but a lot. Even though there was racism in the town from the RCMP and others, still members of the family were popular in school and they were able to take roles of responsibly like speaking at assemblies, music or defending fellow Neechi, brothers and sisters. “We were able to take these roles because we are Wuttunee descended from chiefs, it is in our blood.” Wuttunee means Golden Eagle Feather.
Winston also told more stories about North Battleford and the old times when he was growing up. Winston also discussed the environment and the role that Moonyas culture has taken in destroying the land that we live on and air we breathe!
Winston is a 2013 winner of an Indspire award for his work as an elder and in spirituality. This is for many the Noble prizes of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada.