Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 40 > Page 34 - At St. Ann's Day Mission, 1923

Page 34 - At St. Ann's Day Mission, 1923

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/8/1 (945 reads)
 

road, arm in arm; they were to be married by the "missionary priest." There was some other courting at night, I surmise, but consistently Indian, there was no pairing off in the day time. In one of the many ex? hortations by the Grand Chief at the close of the church service he urged parents not to oppose their girls getting married, here was a good chance, with the priest coming; it was "safest" to let them marry, not to have them around of nights. The priest was to stay in Glebe House, the one frame house on the Island, next the chapel. And here every night "sets" were danced, each young man of the four couples dancing being charged ten cents. Sometimes a single dancer performed. One night Mr. Morris himself danced the war dance step, a kind of clog, very agilely indeed for a man of 72, and the crowd clapped. Another night a "Frenchman," Morris reported, "beat them all." The encampment was astir at dawn. Not long after, the Morrises would have a little fire going in our wigwam for a cup of tea. Breakfast proper and other meals were usu? ally cooked outside by Mrs. Morris behind a brush shelter. In several wigwams or tents there.was a stove, as there will be probably next year in the Morris wigwam or tent; that they were living in a stoveless wigwam rather than in a bestoved canvas tent was a hardship, much discussed. " Many of the wigwams, ours among them, were covered with tar paper, instead of birch- bark, or with a canvas sail. No birch is .left on the Island, and the large rolls for wigwam cover have to be imported. These rolls of bark come in several pieces, some stitched together with yellow birch "string," and each piece held stretched out at the ends by splits of white maple. In putting up the wigwam, a roll of bark is tacked on, with nails, on either side of the door poles, horizontally, the other rolls are laid on diagonally, and kept in place by poles laid against them (mal- kwii'gan) or, at the ground, by stones. In some cases seaweed was packed around out? side. Where the poles intersect, a consid? erable space is left uncovered by bark. When the wind was contrary, part of this opening would be covered over with blanket or coat. Hay, of which there was a stack near the chapel, was the floor cover, not boughs, at least I was in no wigwam with boughs, nor did I see any spruce or balsam being carried in to camp. "Mr. Morris don't like boughs," said Mrs. Morris as she showed me how they should be laid--the first layer, stems to hearth, the second layer reversed, the third and subsequent layers, these shingle like, again stems to hearth, and around the stems the strip of wood called hauyote'gan. In setting up the poles there was perhaps less departure from type, the eight main poles (kle'badigan), and between them the lighter poles (basi'del). In our wigwam there were 41 poles, said young Joseph. 42 is the proper number. In one case of con? struction which I watched through, a lad? der was used to reach the tops of the poles and secure them in place with nails. Nails, too, were used in the two girdles (awiopilagan) which were bent to be fas- tened at either end to the straight piece (kli'gan) forming the top of the entrance. Since iyi' H. H. Marshall Limited Corporate Head Office Halifax, N.S. 3731 Macintosh Street B3K 5N5 "WHOLESALE DISTRIBUTORS OF PERIODICALS & BOOKS" BRANCH OFFICES CHARLOTTETOWN ST. JOHN'S SYDNEY H. H. Marshall Limited, 103 York St., Sydney (539-3220) DEALER INQUIRIES WELCOMED "H. H. MARSHALL LIMITED TAKE GREAT PRIDE IN OUR COMMUNITY AND THE MANY PEOPLE WE SERVE. IT HAS GIVEN US OUR VALUED HERITAGE AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO AN EXCITING FUTURE." We congratulate Sydney on its 200th Birthday. ENTERTAINtffiNt CENTRE OF CAPE BRETON Joe's Wfeirehouse The Food Emporium Cape Breton's l'ewest sax' Largest Restaurant SPECIALIZING IN AGED PRIME CUTS OF ROAST BEEF & STEAKS & ONE OF THE MOST UNIQUE SALAD BARS IN THE MARITIMESl tCABARErnr OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK 'TIL 3 A.M. Live Entertainment Nightly 424 Charlotte street 539-6686 539-0408 RESTAURANT CABARET BANQUET FACILITIES ARE AVAILABLE
Cape Breton's Magazine
  View this article in PDF format Print article



Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to the PDF version of this content. Click here to download and install the Acrobat plugin
Acrobat Reader Download