The hidden years in Canada 71, peacehills

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Wednesday 24 June 13:49

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Peace hills.

You stepped through the door and country western music floated towards you. The men who ate breakfast were cowboys but with an Indian look. John Law, by Jim Reeves, hung like a blanket around them. It sounded like honky tonk but in reality it was undeniably country. We took a look around us and walked to the bar. I hoisted myself on a stool and nice girl with almond-shaped eyes looked at me quizzically. ‘So guys, what will it be,’ she asked us. ‘Do us two coffee please,’ I said, Rico added, ‘and if there are donuts, then I’d like one with chocolate.’ The girl nodded and picked up the coffee pot from the hot plate. ‘You are not from here, right?’ ‘You may never guess anymore,’ laughed Rico. ‘We go to Wetaskiwin and Camrose,’ I added, ‘we have come from Calgary.’

‘Oh,’ she laughed, ‘then you must have left right early.’ ‘Yes,’ I said, 'pretty early. ‘The early bird catches the worm,’ she laughed and put a donut on a saucer. She walked to the other side of the bar and poured some coffee for an old timer. ‘Do you notice something,’ Rico said to me? ‘Like, 'I replied. ‘We are the only white people here. The Queens is a joke in here. ‘ ‘The girl has Indian features, but the old-timer as well and the cook, and the cowboys.’ ‘Yes,’ I said, 'Freddy would be busy here. ‘ The girl came back with the coffee jug in her hand, ‘refill,’ she asked friendly? ‘Oh why not,’ I said. I pointed to Rico and said, ‘my friend Rico here, wanted to ask some questions.’

‘Oh,’ she said, ‘that can be exciting.’ Rico melted away in her smile and said, ‘there are not many here .. I mean, there are a lot of '.... he stopped talking and colored, .he looked helplessly around himself. ‘You mean to say,’ smiled the girl, ‘there are not many white people here, like you. You wanted to say this place is full of Indians, right? ‘ Rico nodded, yes something like that, ‘he muttered. ‘You find that strange,’ said the girl? ‘Well, strange, weird,’ Rico said, and stopped again. ‘This is the central capital of the first Blackfoot people from Blackfoot county.’ ‘This is the main place,’ I asked, surprised. ‘Oh yeah, it's an easy place to find,’ she explained, as if she were talking to a bunch of preschoolers, ‘it is between the two intersecting roads. ‘ ‘How many people live here,’ I asked? ‘You mean Blackfoot people?’ ‘Yes,’ I said, 'I think I meant that. ‘ ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘here, 40. In the surrounding area six thousand or so Blackfoot. In the hills and in the fields. ‘ In a reserve, ‘said Rico? ‘There is no reserve here,’ laughed the girl, ‘we follow the old ways and habits. That is the way it is, has always been so and will remain so, and since the peace of peace hills, was signed. ‘

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‘You live in the cold and everything outside,’ Rico asked? ‘Where else,’ chuckled the girl. ‘This is a trading post,’ and she pointed to the market square outside with pots and trinkets. I could not keep it to myself, ‘the man with the tomahawks has a special non Blackfoot supplier.’ ‘He’s a half-breed,’ she said, ‘He is not a full Blackfoot, than you get that, if you stray away from the roots, then your ideas dilute.’ This was an eye opener to me. ‘If I get it right you said something negative about someone who is not Blackfoot? Like they are inferior? ‘ ‘We are the first people, if people squander their heritage, they are less than a dog.’ ‘We know then,’ I said, ‘let’s pay up. Actually, my friend wanted to know something else, just now, when we were in the truck. ‘ She looked questioningly back. ‘He wondered if Ponoka means anything?’ ‘Yes,’ said Rico, 'that was actually my question until I saw that a lot of Blackfoot were present and when I asked things without wanting to hurt you or others. ‘

‘Not very many,’ she said, ‘those are Cree people, but there are here and she looked around, 5 Blackfoot.’ She laughed, and said, ‘hau men from another tribe, the pow wow has stopped. You can’t help it that your schools are bad and you do not understand Blackfoot. Ponoka means deer, red deer. ‘ ‘Thanks,’ I said, ‘we will not forget.’ ‘I think you're nice, she said, but not Blackfoot right? The next intersection, then turn right and you'll automatically go past Wetaskiwin, from there it is a straight dirt road to Camrose. ‘ ‘Is there any more coffee,’ the half-breed oldtimer cried out, and the girl turned around.

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As the door closed behind us, the country western music died away and I took a deep breath. 'Mister,' said a voice from behind a stall when we walked back toward trucks. It was the man with the authentic Tomahawks, ‘your ax,’ he said, holding up the tomahawk with feathers. ‘No,’ Rico said resolutely, ‘you're not Blackfoot.’ The man looked stunned. ‘That was once again very delicate, Rico old boy,’ I said, admonishing and we climbed into the cabin.

San Daniel 2015

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