"There is no bigger pride than to make our grandparents happy because we know that when they are happy, that means we are doing what it takes to survive to today’s reality and that we are following the footsteps we are supposed to follow. The footsteps of our ancestors."Read Kricten Dubé's Sur les traces de mes ancêtres
After having lived the experience of a walking expedition, I have always wanted to share what I was experimenting during those adventures. I have always wanted to share what my grandfather had taught me, and to tell his feeling of pride. That day was the most beautiful day to me because I understood that for once, I was making someone proud by doing the right thing: following the footsteps of our ancestors. I felt really lucky to have had that chance and mostly to have had the chance to live that moment with the person that was the most important to me, my grandfather. Everyone doesn’t get that chance, especially today, when drugs and alcohol are destroying our reserves. We must not forget who we are and where we come from.
I’m walking, around me snow is falling, it was complete silence, I did not feel the cold, only my red cheeks due to the great cold of the North burning my face, but I had to walk anyway, walk to survive, walk to get to my destination. With every step, I’d look back at the prints left by my snowshoes, slowly vanishing. My grandfather, in front of me, was helping me move forward, he was often telling me ‘’akwir ponta, aci kekat nosim’’ (don’t give up, we’re almost there) the words encouraged me to keep going. With my sled behind me, I was going forward a step at a time with him.
The night was starting to fall when we got to our first stop for the night, we pitched our tent, I went to grab spruce tree branches to use as a mattress, my grandfather was installing the wood burning oven in our tent to keep us warm during the night. Late at night, we had eaten a good hot meal before going to bed when we had finished putting our spruce branches mattress together and to heat our tent properly in order to dry our wet moccasins.
We got up before the sun rose to get our bags ready with our breakfast in it, filled our water bottles with hot water and hot chocolate, the sun was present when came time to leave, I put my snowshoes on and packed my sled with my material which I then covered with fabric and tied so that they wouldn’t fall off the sled while we were walking without me noticing. It was time, time to leave, time to walk again to get to our destination, once again… I walked, walked and walked until the sun told us it was noon, it was time to eat last night’s leftovers. After lunch, we got back on our way, sometimes as I walked, I looked around me, I saw trees that danced in the wind and snow lit up by the sun, it was a nice day, once again my grandfather never stopped encouraging me when I would start to get tired. When he’d see me look behind, he’d say ’’always look ahead’’, he told me ‘’to succeed, you have to always look ahead, not behind, because that’s how we move forward, ahead of us, not behind’’ so I listened to his advice and I walked again and again for many kilometres, until we reached our destination, once again routine started over, pitch the text, go get spruce branches, wood, cut the wood and make the bed, dry the moccasins and the snowshoes, eat when everything is done, but that night while eating, my grandfather looked at me and told me ‘’Nosim, I’m happy, happy that you are here with me’’, it took me a while to understand why he was saying that when I finally understood, he was proud of me because I was witnessing how our ancestors lived back then, I was living the hardships they were living, I was receiving every day teachings and he was proud because he saw that I was not imprisoned in today’s reality, alcohol, drugs… he was proud because I was following the footsteps of our ancestors.
There is no bigger pride than to make our grandparents happy because we know that when they are happy, that means we are doing what it takes to survive to today’s reality and that we are following the footsteps we are supposed to follow. The footsteps of our ancestors.
(This writing has been translated from French)