Elderspeak titles
About ElderspeakElderspeak StoriesInformation about the DeneInformation about the CreeElderspeak Credits
  << Back  
>> view printer friendly
  Mrs Couronne Byhette   Listen to an audio introduction Listen to an introduction to Couronne Byhette by Joseph Naytowhow
  >>Mrs. Couronne Byhette

>>Buffalo River First Nation
Happiness & Freshness
Happiness - in Dene

1. In the spring many of the people from Dillon (Buffalo River Dene Nation) would go trapping for muskrat and beaver. They would leave in April to return during the middle or end of May since the Hudson's Bay Company would usually buy fur up until June. I remember once, in 1968 a group left in a plane (using the frozen river as a winter airstrip) and when they came back all the ice had melted, so they had to travel by canoe. Other times, they'd leave by dog sled and return by canoe.

2. Once back home, they could usually sell their pelts for a good price. You could earn as much as 50 or 75 cents per muskrat pelt alone. All together you might make 100 dollars and buy enough supplies for the summer time. So springtime became the time of year when there was ‘special money' to get special food with; supplies like Robin Hood Flour, Roger's Golden Syrup, sugar, baking powder, bacon, tea and tobacco. These items were not as expensive as they are today. But then, the olden days are not like today either.

Dene story text

3. Ever since I can remember there was a Hudson's Bay Company here in Dillon. Today, there is none. We always managed, back in those days, and our families were happy. We thought we were well off because we would be able to buy a little clothing and the children would be happy when their dads came home from trapping; spring would be in full bloom and ducks and geese would return singing their songs.

Dene story text

4. It wasn't always lucky for the men when they went trapping and fishing, though. Sometimes they didn't kill many muskrats or beavers. It just depended on the weather. You see, sometimes they had a difficult time trapping because the snow was too deep and they had to set their traps. But finally, when the ice was gone from the rivers and lakes, they would go after the muskrats in canoes and shoot them with little rifles (.22 caliber). They used these small rifles for killing beavers too. Yes, that's how they did it a long time ago.

Dene story text

5. Today, my husband and I still live on fresh meat from the bush. Sometimes people give us rabbits and fish. One of my son-in-laws went fishing recently and just today he brought me a lot of fish; whitefish, mariya and fish heads - the old way of life.

Dene story text

6. Some of my grandchildren still eat wild food and my girls like it too. Today for lunch we ate the heart of a moose and the stuff from inside its stomach (tripe). My girls call it ‘the rug' because that's what it looks like. Even though they have a good jobs and they can buy whatever they want to eat, still they like to eat food from the bush. That is the way we raised them.

Dene story text

back to top >>
Biography ~ Mrs. Couronne Byhette

Couronne was born in Dillon on September 6, 1922. At the time she was born very few people lived in Dillon. She continues to live there with her husband George who she has been married to for 58 years. They have six children; three daughters and three adopted from extended family members.

Couronne speaks, reads and writes Dene, Cree and English. She was exposed to Cree language as a young person when with her grandparents, they lived beside a Cree family from northern Alberta, during trapping season. While playing with the Cree children Couronne would teach them Dene and in exchange they would teach her how to speak Cree.

Today when she listens to the Aboriginal radio station, Missinipe Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) out of La Ronge, SK she understands the Dene, Cree and English languages that are spoken on the air. She has also been very instrumental in retaining the Dene language in her home community.

back to top >>
Buffalo River First Nation

Dene Name:
English Translation:




Buffalo at the mouth of the river

Buffalo River Dene Nation
General Delivery
Dillon, Saskatchewan
S0M 0S0
Phone : (306)282-2033
Fax : (306)282-2101

back to top >>