Matinen (Rich) Katshinak


Matinen (Rich) Katshinak (MK): When Shushep was not around when we lived in the country, I had to portage the canoe when we moved our camps. None of the women at our camp could portage a canoe. When the men were not around, I had to portage the canoe.

My father was already gone [deceased]. My uncle, Shushepish, was still alive back then. One time, I had to portage two canoes. The women couldn?t lift those canoes. I could lift those canoes no problem.

Nympha Byrne (NB): Did you carry it far?

MK: Yes, I carried it far. It was a long portage and it was out in the barrens.

NB: Do you remember the name of the place that you carried those canoes?

MK: It was at Shapiass. The lake is called Shapiau (Shapio Lake) and it had mountains. It had a lot of lakes. I portaged those canoes through the barrens. I didn?t portage through the bushes. When we got to the mountains, I had to portage those canoes because the men had to go caribou hunting. We moved our camp.

One time I portaged a canoe very far. It was at the mountain. We had to go to the mountain to get to the lake. I was walking with my father and mother [her biological aunt and uncle]. That was your grandfather, the late Shushepish. My real father was not around back then. He died.

We left for the country. I portaged a canoe again. We left from Sheshatshiu. I had to portage by myself. The men were not around again. I did another portage all by myself. It was very heavy. I portaged it.

NB: Did you carry it on your back?

MK: Yes, I carried it at the back of my neck. Did you ever notice how people carried the canoes? That?s how I carried it.

Pinamen [her sister] and the late Manish Tshakapesh couldn?t portage a canoe. They only lifted their canoes and carried them. I portaged my canoe. I tried nuipiuten too. The people that camped with us didn?t want me to do it.

NB: What does nuipiuten mean?

MK: It?s rapids. Did you ever see a video of people going through the rapids with their canoes? That?s what it means. The rapids. (Note: the MacKenzie?s Shoebox dictionary lists piutamu as "she/he shoots the rapids, canoes in white water.").