A Starvation Story
Taken from a longer story told by John Blackned to Richard Preston

My father and his hunting partners left camp to look for more beaver houses. And they didn't return that day. My father was the head of the hunting group. The reason they didn't come back the same day was they found other Indians who had almost starved. They found a man, his wife, two of his sons, and their daughter. The man who was nearly starving told my father that they had been part of a larger group of ten Indians that fall and they had been hunting about two- hundred miles inland. The father of the family told my dad that even when they hunted together for food, none of them were successful in their hunting trips.

So my father brought them home. The starving man my dad found was older than him. His face was very thin and so very poor-like from starving. He was even more poor-looking when they found him. When a person is found who is starving, just a little to eat is given to the person at first. So when my father found the starving family, he didn't feed them very much at first. Just a little flour was used to feed them some bannock. After they ate the meal from us, the man explained to us what happened. The man shared his story that a Nemaskau Indian had found them before my dad did. Also, that it was the second time he experienced starvation. The Nemaskau Indian had found twenty deer before finding the starving family. And as the successful hunter gave some meat to the family, they got a little bit better, enough to not to depend upon the Nemaskau Indian. So when they got enough strength to take care of themselves, they went back where they camped before. Soon after they left the Nemaskau Indian, the same thing happened: they didn't get very much to eat because of unsuccessful hunting and not enough food for everyone. That same year, the people who hunted in the north saw other Indians who were also very poor; and another woman and a child had starved from lack of food.

The starving Indian my father had found was beginning to look a lot better. By the end of April you could see the ground that was covered with snow before. So my father began to prepare his decoys and set his blind where he was going to hunt geese for the up-coming geese hunting season. My father always went on his geese hunting trips with the man he found. The first day they killed about four geese together. The next day they killed more and the same was with the other man who had starved before. The man and my father went hunting for only ten days and some days they wouldn't kill anything. Just at the end of the hunting season, a lot of geese were flying all over the area. Together they would kill as many as twenty in a single day. Following the geese hunting season, all kinds of different birds started coming up from the south like loons and ducks. After the feast of successful goose hunt, we came towards Rupert's House for the summer.

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