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Indigenous Arts & Stories - My Mother’s Song

My Mother’s Song

2011 - Art Winner

Tony Poker

Natuashish, NL
Mushuau Innu
Age 18

Author's Statement

My great-grandmother's sacred teachings

When my mother was a little girl her life was in the country, and she travelled by dog team every day. She once told me a story of how her father brough an otter back from his hunting, and she watched her
grandmother smile as she cleaned the otter. Then her grandmother, my great-grandmother, said "come here my granddaughter," and she began to sing a song. While she was singing, she placed the otter's paw on my mother's face and told her, "now granddaughter, sing the song I just sang to you." So my mother closed her eyes and felt the otter's paw caressing her face, and smiled as she sang the song:

"My little seal boy friend
Continue giving promises
And make sure you keep them."

When she had finished singing, she looked at her grandmother, who said "now that the sea spirits have heard you singing, they will give themselves to your father when he goes hunting again, especially the otter, so we will not go hungry." I made this drawing as an interpretation of my mother's face as a little girl, after she had finished singing her song.