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  Mr Armand Bekkattla   Listen to the audio introduction Listen to an introduction to Mr Armand Bekkattla by Joseph Naytowhow
  >>Mr. Armand Bekkattla

>>Clearwater River First Nation
Hope - Dene title

1. I remember a lot of little things about long ago. My grandmother, who died ten years ago, told me many stories. She got married when she was about 13 years old. Back then, whatever your parents told you to do, you did it. You couldn't say no. So my grandmother respected her parents and got married, although she didn't want to. She started to have her own family a few years later but she was unhappy and lonely. She said her husband and mother-in-law treated her badly.

Dene story text

2. One spring while trapping, they travelled from Barney Lake to the end of the Dillon River. The ice had melted and so her husband and mother-in-law returned home by canoe, but they left her there. They left her with no food - nothing - and they took her baby, my Uncle George Billette, with them. They left her there, all alone in the bush. Maybe she would make it back home; maybe not.

Dene story text

3. She began to walk home by following the river back. It was a winding river and was many miles in length. She'd holler to see if anyone was around to help her. Her moccasins got soaking wet. Since it was spring, the bush was very wet and it got dark in the evening. She had to stay walking in the willows near the river, not on high ground in a kind of a muskeg base. She was scared, but she kept walking.

Dene story text

4. Sometimes she'd be so tired that she didn't know what to do. She'd pull up any dry grass and pile it up on willow branches and sleep there. Sometimes she'd come upon places where people had stopped for dinner or supper and they would have thrown away little bones from their meal. She would take those bones and suck on them for what little grease or gristle they still held.

Dene story text

5. Finally, she made it back to Barney Lake and walked out of the bush. Her husband and mother-in-law looked very shocked and the old lady said, "How come she's still alive?" She picked her little baby, George, out of the old woman's arms and immediately began to breast feed him. She did all this after about four or five days of walking all by herself and with no food.

Dene story text

6. Her husband and the old woman died a few years later, really poor and she eventually married another man who treated her good. So everything went well after that.

Dene story text

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Biography ~ Mr. Armand Bekkattla

Armand Bekkattla was born in Dillon, SK on October 7, 1943. He is the oldest of seven children. At the time of his birth, Armand's parents moved about in the spring, summer and fall; fishing, trapping and berry picking around the area. They spent their winters sticking close to home. As a child, he remembers living at Dillon, which was at the time, only a small village of about 30 log houses constructed from local trees and mud plaster.

In the 1980's, a strong movement towards cultural & spiritual activities was sped up in Dene country in northwest Saskatchewan. Armand, recognized as an Elder by the local community, was also on a spiritual journey, which at the time, led him to study with Cree Elders in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. He was given the name Wapiskî Miskinâhk (White Turtle) by one of these Elders.

Armand has eight children (six daughters and two sons). He has been the mayor of St. George's Hill, SK. For the past six years, he has been working as the National Native Alcohol & Drug Abuse Program (NNADAP) worker with the Clearwater River Dene Nation and previous to this worked with Saskatchewan Alcohol & Drug Abuse Commission (SADAC) in La Loche, Saskatchewan for 18 years.

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Clearwater River First Nation

Dene Name:
English Translation:





ElderSpeak Dene Translator

Dez Nedhé
Big river

Clearwater River Dene Nation
Bag Service 6
La Loche, Saskatchewan
S0M 1G0
Phone : (306)822-2021
Fax : (306)822-2212

Mary Jane Kasyon

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