Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 40 > Page 35 - At St. Ann's Day Mission, 1923

Page 35 - At St. Ann's Day Mission, 1923

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/8/1 (948 reads)
 

For the most part the entrances faced north. All the outer or shore line of wig? wams were so orientated, and according to Mrs. Morris, were always placed so. The wigwam of the Grand Chief which was in a second row, faces south. The scattering groups of wigwams opened to various direc? tions. The highest and therefore driest site was occupied by the chiefs, "they take the best ground." Wigwam etiquette was more or less observed. The "kitchen" was to the right of the door, the water bucket to the left, and Mrs. Mor? ris kept to the woman's place next the kit? chen. Mr. Morris sat above her. I was giv? en the place on the opposite side of the fire. The children never came between me and the fire. A blanket or box seat was put out in the gadahmo opposite the en? trance, for any distinguished guest that was expected, once for the Chief from Prince Edward Island, another time for the Grand Chief. But even other visitors were told to come up higher, if they were wel? come. To others, particularly the young ones, who came in without formality at any time, little might be said. At meal time any visitor might be offered at least a cup of tea. A forlorn looking little girl, an orphan, said Mrs. Morris, quite often stood outside the door at meal time, and Mrs. Morris would butter a piece of bread for her. "Poor little thing!" she would say, and I was reminded of the opening of many an Indian folk-tale. From wigwam to wigwam there was constant visiting, of course, endless talk, much laughter, more particularly when the rain held off, and it was less windy and for an hour or so the sun shone. The children played around the row boats on the shore, the boys sometimes played ball, baseball of a sort, and a series of checker (al- nah'ni) games played by the men outsTSe started up, with a circle of men looking on. The board was of wood, hand-made, as were the flat oblong "men." Tally of games was kept by planting little sticks at the right of the players, seated cross-legged on the ground. The time I looked on, each player had two sticks up, i.e., they were on their fifth game.... The Grand Chief was accounted the best player on the Is? land. The most constant pastime of all was the women's game of dish-dice (Waltes. See Issue 6 of Cape Breton's Magazine). Tn one wigwam or another a game was usually on of the afternoon or evening. In this, possib? ly in the men's checker games also, there was inter-band rivalry. The nijmber of games won by each group was to be remem- bered (no actual tally) and the group with cHonmn (foirsc located 1/2 mile off the Cabot Trail at Neil's Harbour 336-5288 Enjoy )our fawrite INTERNAV A Complete Line of Loran C Receivers for All Boatsmen Sydport Industrial Park, Point Edward 564-2043 _' A Neighbourhood Store in a Beautiful Village Neil's Harbour CO-OP (35) '
Cape Breton's Magazine
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