Arts & Récits Autochtones - Where Did They Go?

Where Did They Go?

2005 - Lauréat de récits

Morningstar was born on the coast on Newfoundland, Canada into a tribe that you rarely hear about. Morningstar was one of last Beothuk that anyone knew of. She was born on the sunniest day, the wind was blowing. The year was 1803, and the white men were coming to our land, Morningstar now lies on her death bed. This is her story.

Lisez l’histoire de Jocelyn Kakakaway

Jocelyn Kakakaway

Colonsay High School, Colonsay, SK
Keeseekoose First Nation
Âge 17

Une note d'auteur

The Beothuk Indians originated in Newfoundland, Canada. They were also known as red Indians and in 1829 they officially become extinct. I think this historical event is important because it is just one of the tribes killed off by the diseases of the people who invaded their land. The funny thing is that when they fought back, they were the bad guys. They vanished very quickly, without any warning that this was going to happen to them. Although it is said the last Beothuk Indian died in 1829, people believe that maybe some small groups merged with the Montagnais or the Naskapi in Labrador. This historical event touched me when I first heard about it. What really touched me was the last Beothuk was Shanawhdit, a woman, who was left behind while her tribe died. I think it is sad how they were taken with no remorse, and they were just taken because they were different. I think this is an important issue because it explains how important the aboriginal issue really is, especially when tribes becomes extinct. The Beothuk Indians aren't brought up very often. I never even knew about them until my dad told me and I studied in native studies. I think learning about them is something that shows poverty and is an important subject. If things were different, would they still be here? I live in a community with a total of maybe 4 Aboriginal people including me. I lost a lot of my culture but am slowly gaining that back. Finding out that there are tribes who were killed off and became extinct makes me wanting to become more involved with my culture while it is still here. The Beothuk Indians and tribe has truly inspired me so I wrote my story on the last known survivor.

Letter of Support

Please accept this letter as an official letter of support for Jocelyn Kakakaway. She is a grade 11 student attending Colonsay School. Jocelyn is a status Indian registered with Keeseekoose reserve. She is 17 years old and has not had this or any other story published. It is with great pleasure that I am now teaching Jocelyn creative writing. We live in a very non diverse community, and I am now learning a great deal about her heritage. Thank you for providing another opportunity for my students.

Sandra Moen
English Teacher

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Where Did They Go?

“I don’t remember them all; most of them are just a fuzzy memory.” The echoing voice had said, “I do remember the cries, the bodies, and the fright in my mothers’ eyes, in everyone’s eyes.”

Morningstar was born on the coast on Newfoundland, Canada into a tribe that you rarely hear about. Morningstar was one of last Beothuk that anyone knew of. She was born on the sunniest day, the wind was blowing. The year was 1803, and the white men were coming to our land, Morningstar now lies on her death bed. This is her story.

“Wait for me, I’ll tell mom,” a little voice came from the woods.

Deep in the shadows of the wood stood a figure, you couldn’t see the figure, you know that feeling you get when someone is watching you? Well that is the feeling that Mr. Jack Johannes had that day. For little did he know that in shadow of the woods stood a little girl from the Beothuk tribe from across the river. She had been watching the strange newcomers for a while now, and yet she still doesn’t understand why they were here.

“I am so telling mom when we get home,” said a voice.

The man in the strange hat quickly turned his head, Morningstar knew he heard her little sister, she quickly covered her sisters’ mouth with her hand, took a fierce grip over her mouth. While holding her sister firmly they quietly backed into the deepest part of the forest trying to stay out of site of the man. His steps were light, although you could here the crunching of his foot on to the leaves, and twigs on the forest floor. Her heart was pounding, she was scared she didn’t know what to expect from these new corners.

“It must have been a deer,” a deep voice yelled back at other men.

As soon as they seen the man leave the forest they ran back to their tribe, Morningstar knew what would happen if they were caught by their parents spying on the strangers. Then she remembered that her sister has a problem with keeping secrets.

“What did I tell you about spying on the strangers?” said a terrifying voice.

“I’m sorry momma, I promise I won’t do it again,” Morningstar replied.

Morningstar knew that what she did was disappointing to her family, and that night she had a terrifying dream. Morningstar was in her early adulthood, and she went away for a while. She didn’t know where she was running, running away and she was headed home. Everyone was gone, no one was there…..

“Momma, Starla, anyone, where is everyone, AHHHH!” she said in fright.

What was that all about, and what does this mean? Morningstar was left with many unanswered questions, but she knew that she had to find out even if it meant defying her mother. When the sun came up Morningstar was one of the first kids awake and ready to work, but no one was there, everyone was gone. She heard her dads’ voice in wind, and followed the sound. When she got their all their faces were painted with red, and she knew what that meant, it something bad was going to happen. She went up and sat with her dad “Dad what is going on, what is that?”

“That is the ending of our time and the beginning of a new,” he replied.

What does that mean? She asked herself, as she saw the big things that float on water come closer everyone started to back away and run for camp. Morningstar was scared, all she knew was that she had to push herself to run to camp. When they got there, the men put on their war faces, and the women and children ran into the forest. When the big white thing pulled on to shore Morningstar watched the people get off of it, they looked like the man.

“Mommy what is happening?” asked Starla.

“Shhhhhh be patient my child,” she relied calmly.

Even though she didn’t act scared Morningstar saw the fear in her mothers’ eyes. They sat there watching the men all day until her dad came back and said they should head back to camp. That night there was a scream coming from her uncles’ tent, her aunt went into labor, and there was a new member of the Beothuk tribe. This wasn’t the best time to be born into the tribe. There was too much fear, even the elders were scared, but that wouldn’t hold them back from honor. That night she had the same dream about everyone being gone.

The light came and there was a panic in the camp, her aunt and the baby were missing. Her uncle went out alone to look for them, well of course Morningstar has to be involved with everything that goes on, so she followed her uncles foot steps. When she caught up to him she made sure she stayed out of his sight, and was far enough away that he couldn’t feel her presence. She saw her aunt and the baby, they were in a room and she didn’t expect it to happen. She was blinded and only if she was a better person she would have been able to warn her uncle. He died a brave warrior, and left behind a wife and baby, but that didn’t matter much. They died within a week from a sickness that had been killing many of the people.

It has been many years since, and Morningstar can still see her uncle fall to the hands of a stranger. She waited for the man to leave and then she grabbed her uncle and dragged him back to tribe. His blood transferred on to her body, she felt his spirit slowly slipping away. That night they had a ceremony for him and from there their fate was sealed. Things were getting worse for her and her tribe, people were going missing and coming back, then dying days later. She didn’t know what to do. She saw her tribe getting smaller and smaller, week by week. They knew they couldn’t stay there so it was decided by all the elders that they would go into the woods and hide until they knew it was safe to come out. That night something would happen that will change and destroy the tribe forever.

“Daddy! Grandfather! He-Help! Daddy, no!” Morningstar cried.

Morningstar, her sister and her mom tried to break free. The men had come in the night and took them away. Her dad and Grandfather tried to rescue them but her dad was murdered and her grandfather died by the cold, in the water trying to catch the boat. She saw her dad and grandfather die in an attempt to rescue. The whole ride to wherever they were going all she did was call the man a murderer, a rat, and a lion that will soon be hunted. All she could talk about was revenge, pain and death. It was the longest boat ride she has ever taken, when they arrived it was a whole new world. There were buildings that stood over 10 feet high and there were horses, women in long gorgeous dresses and men in suites. There were people gathering around the small boat, the strangers were talking, she didn’t like them they all looked deceiving. She was filled with rage and anger.

“Cough, cough”

It has been two years since they came to the land, her sister was seriously sick and her mother passed shortly after they arrived. Morningstar believes she died of a broken heart from her fathers’ death. A man showed up at the door to take Morningstar away.

“Where is she?” a deep voice asked.

“Wait here she be down in a minute,” replied the man who kept Morningstar and her family prisoners.

Morningstar was so happy to get out of the house. For the last two months she has been beaten, raped and treated as a slave. To see another face was the greatest joy. Little did she know her life was not going to get better for the man who bought her, bought her for slavery. Her new name was Latina, she was given new clothes and many rules which took away any freedom she had left. Life was never so difficult, all she could think of was home. When they got to the house she recognized the trees, her tribe was only across the island. That night she snuck out, she was running home only when she got there, there was no one there. This was her dream, they were all gone, nothing was left just a burnt out. On her trip back to the house she fell to the floor, crying in pain, all the lost ones. Latina woke up the next morning with everyone standing over her, they were all staring.

“Get out of bed you filthy rat!” A man yelled, “You have chores to do.”

Getting out of bed was the hardest thing she did that morning, as soon as she sat up she fell to the floor. This brings us to today, Latina had caught the disease her sister had, and knew that soon very soon she would be joining her tribe.

“Latina are you okay?” asked a young teenage voice.

“My name. . . .is Morningstar.” She said with her last breath.