Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 53 > Page 20 - 3 Strays: Kenneth MacKenzie, NE Margaree

Page 20 - 3 Strays: Kenneth MacKenzie, NE Margaree

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1990/1/1 (349 reads)

myself where you slack off the big fish and take the small ones--count, count you want? ed. When the fish was averaged up in the fall, when the fish was sold, well if you had all small fish you might only have half as much as the man that had big fish--in weight--but you made just as much money, and probably more. 'Cause of count. And that was making them greedy. And they'd sink their bloody dory. And probably take a fog and the men aboard the schooner wouldn't even know it, waiting for the dory to come and, boy, no come. Wouldn't see her no more. Probably pick her up the next day. And I know damn well it was greed. Just greed. I didn't like that. I was scared of losing men and I didn't want to do that. See "Wishie Rose: From 50 Years at Sea," In Issue 29, & In the book Cape Breton Lives: A Book from Cape Breton's Magazine. Kenneth IViacKenzie, NE Margaree My grandmother--well, l| was only very young when she died--but I remember of her telling I a story of my great? grandfather. He was a fisherman, you know, in I Scotland, round the Isle of Skye somewhere. And when they got here, he was the only one in the country who knew how to make a net. So he lived up in Big In- 'tervale and he made this net. They went down to the river and put the net in the river and somebody threw a stone in to get the fish to go into the net. And there were so many fish there that they took the net right with them and all they had was the two ropes--the head rope and the bot? tom rope--had them tied to trees. So he went to work and he knit another net, a short one. And they went up to McCoy's Pool--that was called after my great? grandfather. Why they went up there nobody can understand, why they went that far up the river to catch salmon when they could get them right at the door. But anyway, they went up there and they put this net a little ways across the river and stoned the fish into the net--and brought them ashore. And he processed those fish--cleaned them and slit them open and they hollowed out a great big birch log and put those salmon in the log and salted them and covered it with birch bark. And then in the wintertime when the river froze over, they went up and they took those fish home. And they used to make what they called a "tabagin"--it wasn't a toboggan and it wasn't a sled--had wide runners and there wasn't a nail and there wasn't a piece of metal in it. (See Jack Sam Hinklev's description of a tabaein in Issue 16 of Cape Breton's Magazine.) But it was a beautiful thing, And she said that her father made a special one for her--a little one--she was so proud going up there and bringing her fish home. They went,up on the ice and came down on the ice--and there've been very few times the river has frozen since that. A rapid running river. It must have been quite a winter. See "Kenneth MacKenzie, Northeast lUlargaree" in issue 27. Regarding Our Back Cover Photograph: Kluskap's Cave • Fairy Hole "Gluskap was the god of the Micmacs. The great diety, Ktc-ni'sxam, made him out of earth and then breathed on him, and he was made. This was at Cape North, Cape Bretonr-on the eastern side. Gluscap's home was at Fairy Holes." (Chief Joe Julian, Sydney, and John Joe, Whycocomagh, talking to Franic Speck, 1915.) Ruth Holmes Whitehead: Traditionally, Cape Breton is the site of three "doors" into the World Beneath The Earth, the place where the Micmac spirit-helper and culture-hero Kluskap went when he left the Earth World behind. The first of these three doors is at Smokey or "Smoket," Cape North. The second is at St. Ann's: "There you would throw in some dry punk and a little fish for his fire and food. You say, 'I wish you give me good luck."' The third door, which is considered quite an important site due to the presence of the rock called "Kluskap's Table," and the rock called "The Mother-in-law" or "The Grandmother," is a cave in a cliff washed by the sea, on Kelly's Mountain at Cape Dauphin. Traditionally, it is called Kluskap's Cave, Kluskap's Door, or Kluskap's Wigwam.... "At Cape Dolphin [Dauphin], Big Bras d' Or, there is a door through the cliff, Gluskap's door. Outsi4e, there is a stone like a table. Indians going hunting will leave on it tobacco and eels. to give them good luck. They do this today." (Stephen Nevin to Elsie Clews Parsons, 1925.) Offerings are said to have been made at this cave for generations, up into the twentieth century, and it is a tradition still being carried out to? day. Traces of gifts made to Kluskap have been noted in the pres? ence of deposits of fish bones on the rock in front of the cave en? trance ("Kluskap's Table"). On a recent visit to the site. Museum staff noted offerings of tobacco and sweet fern inside the cave itself, and in holes in the rock of the "Table." Due to the importance of this cave • and of the rocks in the sea at its entrance which make up "Kluskap's Table," and the tiny beach area to the east of the cave where the "Grandmother Rock" is situated • to the Micmac people's cultural and spiritual life, preservation and pro? tection of the entire area should be considered. Ruth Whitehead is Assistant Curator in History at the Nova Scotia l/luseum. She is the author of a number of books about iAicmac life, including Stories from the Six Worlds and Micmac Quillwork. Chief Joe Julian and John Joe's complete version of a traditional l/llcmac geography of Nova Scotia is in issue 9, Cape Breton's Magazine, 1974. The quotations from Speck and Parsons are taken from the Journal of American Folklore. The back cover photograph is by Carol Kennedy.
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