up North...
by Diana Gordon

Lac Washadimi, Baie James, Quebec, 1978

I slowly opened my eyes. The soft morning light glowed through the walls of the michuap. The air was crisp. There would be a mist over the lake. Perhaps there would be ice again on the water basin.

Mary Bearskin was moving quietly, bringing in more peeled logs from outside the door flap, lighting the open fire on the raised stone hearth, preparing a breakfast of bannock and tea. Job Bearskin with his back to us, carefully washed his face.

The others were starting to stir.

I don’t remember if I realized it at the time, that this would be one of the last mornings. The last morning the People would live on this land. For in the fall when the great dam would be completed, this land, this lake, the trees, the moss would disappear forever.

And the People’s home, the traces of their ancestors, all but their memories, would be gone.