Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 64 > Page 30 - Annie Battiste: a Mi'Kmaq Family History

Page 30 - Annie Battiste: a Mi'Kmaq Family History

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1993/8/1 (376 reads)

to work on some baskets to keep herself busy. She had been most anxious about her father's sickness. As she sat at the bay window pulling together her strips of wood for her baskets, she heard a loud thud on the roof of the house, like a large stick of wood had been dropped from the sky. It rolled off the roof. She took the lamp and rushp.d out to find out what had fallen but found nothing to account for the noise--no sticks (that would account for) the sound. She shuddered as she realized that this was a forerunner--a sign of the impending death of her father. In Mi'kmaq these sign are known as amulsiktmat. When her Uncle Simon arrived that evening to find out if there had been any news, she decided not to tell him of the forerunner. Uncle Simon was well-known in the community; he was the (person) who went from house to house sharing the community news. He had not yet heard anything and she dared not share this fear and sign with him. The next morning as she was cleaning the house, she saw from the window her grandfa? ther Pie'l Sosep, and Big Mali, coming down the road. She rushed out in panic as to the news they might bring. "You are scaring me," she told them in Mi'kmaq. "What has happened?" "Nothing," they said, until they could get nearer and could help her gently take the news of her father's death. Her mother was 41 and she was 22 years old. Her brother Mattie was still in the woods work- VOLUME ONE BOOKSTORE Bag No. 200 Port Hawkesbury Centre Port Hawkesbury, N. S. BOE 2V0 Phone (902) 625-1514 Phoebe Timmons Res.: 863-1825 Wilson Timmons Res.: 345-2387 133 Church St. Antigonish Shopping Centre Antigonish, N. S. B2G 2E3 Phone (902) 863-4112 VOLUME TWO BOOKSTORE SERVING INDUSTRIAL CAPE BRETON FOR OVER 30 YEARS ing and the men went out to find him to tell him about his father's death. Not long after the death of her father. An? nie's mother became ill. "Women's trou? bles," she put it. She had her period for 7 years on a constant basis. The doctor in? sisted on a hysterectomy, but she had no trust in doctors since they had misdiag? nosed Annie's father, and Harriet saw this as their killing her husband. She slowly withered by the loss of blood and the sick? ness, which today Annie diagnoses as can? cer. For each day for two weeks she lay in her bed upstairs sick. Each morning Harriet called on her daughter to bring fresh water so that she could privately wash herself. Her daughter Annie obliged her. She washed herself and dressed herself even to the last day. On that day she called for her water and washcloth and towel. Everyone left the room while she washed herself, and then she asked for her white nightgown. Later that same day she died. Harriet was disillusioned with modern med? icine and never sought modern medicine to help her, just Indian herbal medicine. Harriet knew she had to take care of her family as best she could. And when she died, she left Annie and Mattie to care for each other. Mattie continued the work and care of the household as man-head of the family. He worked in the woods, brought home lumber for baskets, and did the errands as were required of him. Annie worked hard, too, and took to manly tasks when it was required since there were only the two children. But she was more of a "tomboy" anyway, older than brother Mat? thew, and enjoyed playing ball, did heavy work, and could wrestle any boy who wanted to take her on. Her father had shown her and Mattie how to box and her arm muscles were strong from her pounding the boxing target or her brother Mattie or lugging buckets of water from the stream. m FUELS ' Senior Citizen Discounts 1' Furnace Leasing ik Discount for Casii CALL TODAY 564-8213 ALAN SULLIVAN Annie knew hard work all her life, not for just her fami? ly but for others as well. The early years were hard on women and men and much cre? dence was given to sharing and caring for each other in the large extended Mi'kmaq family. They helped others as was their custom and tra? dition. When Annie Cremo, Simon's wife and Annie's un? cle's wife, became pregnant as she often was, Annie Le? wis was sent by her mother to help her out. While Annie Cremo rocked in the rocking chair and spit chewing to? bacco into the small opening on the front of the stove, Annie Lewis went down on her hands and knees and scrubbed
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