Audrey Desvents - Canada
Desvants the founder of this organization. Audrey is
Cree from the Treaty 6 Confederacy in Canada.
her new Grandson
January 29 2009
with her sister-in-law preparing fish to be smoked.
'These are called white fish, two times yearly the
men go out and catch, in the fall and in march, then
we the women prepare, and smoke them, what we teach
the young ones is to help and try out the cutting, but
as women we share stories, laugh and catch up'.
in the rain preparing meat to be dried.
'That is moose meat, one is about 1500 pounds and
we never waste anything.
The meat is shared with those in need, smoked, dried,
canned in jar, and frozen.
little is left behind and each time we do this a feast
is held to honor that animal's life and those who have
A tradtional woman will have all her own tools'.
looking warmer preparing meat.
'Cutting meat in very sliver thin strips for smoking,
the more thin, the drier the meat will be. These
are all the prime pieces (big chuck roasts) from the
front & back quarters of the Moose'.
with her grand-daughter Rayanna teaching.
'Our grand daughter is now very skilled at this here
she was 11 yrs old, they are tall children, fishing
season is coming up soon, so you will see new pictures'.
all ready to be hung in the smokehouse.
'Those purple flowers in the back are of the land
here and each year when they bloom like this, the men
go out to hunt moose, these are the ancestral teachings
of the men to know, the name in Cree indicates the moose
are ready, the men who are taught properly try not to
take cows, or young ones, they are needed to reproduce.'
of Audrey's grandsons, Tyrell & Ray, preparing moose
'Now the 12 year old and 11 year old do their own
and preparing has to be done as quickly as possible
during summer months, late fall is the best time for
drying meat & fish (no flies). Those nice round
parts you see they are cut in round long strips and
made into dry meat (really dry) like jerky,
This is a favorite here and mixed with crushed choke
cherries is called pemican which was used by trappers,
hunters. (provided food on long travels)
grand-daughter Brookie hanging fish.
'Brookie carries a spiritual name of her grandfathers
of the wolf clan'.
grandsons going through a 'Rite of Passage'
grandsons, Tyrell and Jake, cleaning fishing nets
at 12 years old with his first Moose kill.
'In our traditions a young man hunts and then feeds
the old people with the first moose. He keeps nothing
and has a ceremony to give thanks'.
White fish are hung to be dried and smoked
'This smoke house is what I asked hubby to make and
it has screens on the openings. This is what we speak
of in preserving the ancestral teachings. I have regular
family women gathering.'
year four generations of our women lived in the same
house, l to r: My daughter, my grand-daughter (now
20) myself and my mum who passed on to the Spirit
world January 2008.
a tradition in our family, as I was bought up in the
household of my grandfather, my mum and dad and myself
all lived in his small bungalow with him until he
passed away when I was 12. After my marriage broke
up when the kids were small I took them to live in
that same small bungalow with my mum and dad. I remarried
and we moved to America. Another marriage over and
we all moved back to live with my mum, dad and aunt
who by this time had a much bigger house. My sons
moved out and married, my dad and aunt passed on and
so the four of us were left to share the house, memories
I now have
the house and three of us plus my grand-daughters
fiance live here now. At one point though there were
10 of us living here, a real traditional family caring
for the welfare of each other.
I will shortly
be selling this house and moving to America to be
with my partner. I will get a smaller place here so
that the family will always have a place called 'home'
that they can come back to if needs be!
taken back in 1994, and it was a ceremony that I performed
in the old Celtic way for my grand-daughter's naming
ceremony. She and I had been seeing this creature
for a while prior to this, she would see it on the
way to or from school and said that she felt good
when she saw it. She was only 5 at the time. I felt
that the creature she saw was to give her help during
a traumatic time in her life, and I had actually had
a couple of dreams showing me her journey and how
this creature was there to catch her, it would just
sit next to her in my dreams, I knew we were lost
but this creature was there just sitting with us,
it was quite amazing because I don't remember many
dreams but these ones were vivid as if we were really
living what I was seeing. Anyway I discussed this
with my friend, now partner, as he was doing the Native
American part of the ceremony and he felt that what
I was dreaming and what she was seeing should be her
name. So on this day in September 1994, Jenny was
We did the
ceremony on some land that we felt was very special,
and we had old and new friends surround us. The ironic
thing is that this was the last time we were together
as a family, because the following week my, now ex,
left, and started a new family. This was traumatic
for all of us but Jenny took it in her stride, and
continued seeing eagles around her. When she stopped
seeing them I realized that she no longer needed them,
she was able to support herself. It took a while.
Jenny Eagle is 20 now, and lives in England. She is
at Uni studying acting and script writing. She has
already won a prestigious award for acting, and so
I believe that Eagle did take care of her, and gave
her confidence to do what she is doing now.
is my paternal grandmother, as you can probably see
she is of Romany (Gypsy) blood. This photo was taken
while she was hop-picking with the family back in
the 1950's. It was an annual trek to Kent, to assist
in the many hop growing fields of the area, most sadly
now gone! This was traditional work for our folk back
then, and had been for many a year. My maternal side
of the family lost some members in an accident back
in the 1800's when a bridge collapsed and the wagons
on it that had just left the hop fields were swept
away with the raging current. the youngest was so
small that she hadn't even been named.
still gather together at fairs across the United Kingdom,
they ride and sell their horses and show their ornately
painted and decorated 'waggons' that are beautifully
these grandmothers were called Eliza or Elizabeth.
My maternal family had the Heron as their totem crest.
my maternal great grandmother, also of Romany blood.
It was this generation who began to settle down and
live in houses, previously they travelled in wagons
or they slept in tents. One of the interesting things
was that they would basically take over a street of
houses and all still live together, many a street
in London and the surrounding area were home to the
Gypsy tribes. They would eat together and have street
parties, and they would all
take care of each other's children. They were persecuted
for travelling and so their only recourse was to live
in houses. At one time only a few years previous to
the settling times they could, and were hung for being
'vagrants'. So they joined everyone else in living
in bricks and morter, but I doubt they were happy.
Like any nomad tribe they were used to moving around,
it had to squash their spirits being forced to live
in a static way.
thing is that when I was a kid we had a gypsy waggon
in our back yard, the paint had come off but inside
it was a glorious playground for me! Today I travel
backwards and forwards to America, (on a plane!) my
friends never know exactly where I am at any one time,
I say that it's my gypsy blood driving me to do it!
Please send your
photos and teachings in to us, it would be lovely to have
pages and pages of them!