Sheshatshiu Trading Post

Episode 1

The sun had just risen that crisp Monday morning late in August on the shores of Atatshi-uinipeku. Already the first frost had arrived, cold enough to drive the summer’s black flies back a bit, and to trim the tamarack needles with a faint trace of gold. Friends and relatives came down to the beach as the canoes were loaded. Some of the men and woman stood by, and the manager at Sheshatshiu shook hands and said good bye. "Iame, iame – Goodbye, goodbye, until next year my friends," he exclaimed in his broken Innu-aimun. The men fired their guns into the air to signal their departure.

Hardly any wind was blowing on Atatshi-uinipeku that morning; the giant, tidal lake was a mirror before them. The bow of Shanut’s canoe carved through the water with ease, waves curling away across the lake as they advanced towards the distant shore. So far, no leaks had appeared in the freshly painted hull. Grandpa Mishen’s expertise at making canoes gave her confidence in the sturdy craft. She knew it would protect them from rapids and strong winds until freeze-up later that fall. "One day, my sons will make canoes as sturdy as this," she thought to herself.

Mishen had made two ush (canoes) that summer, during the family’s stay at the trading post. He had many helpers including her grandmother and some of the uncles. The grassy field above the beach at Sheshatshiu looked like a canoe factory since so many people were practising the ancient craft of building canoes that year.

Summer was a time for canoe-building as well as mission, when Innu families from many parts of the territory met with the missionary, . Young lovers were married, and children born in the country during the year were baptized.

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