Sugar bush arrived and we were prepared for it

News From Indian Country 5-08

Sugar bush arrived again and we were prepared for it. Replacemet taps were carved, milk jugs were readied, and the buckets and barrels were put in the back of the truck. I assembled a good crew to help me with my 196 taps. My soon-to-be-18-year-old-son, Aaron Ezigaa, was anointed as this year’s sugar master.

This year we chose a sugar bush out in the Ditchbanks area of the Rez. I remember my grandfather used to move his sugar bush from year to year. I do the same thing.

We went to the woods to tap the trees. The snow was knee-deep and it was like walking upstairs all day. We made trails from tree to tree. Some of the sap coming out of the trees spurted like a heartbeat. We gathered the sap and boiled it in the yard. The warm from the fire felt good.

The blizzard had been predicted for a couple of days. We were in a hurry to boil the 150 gallons of maple sap we had collected. My sugar bush crew was happy when we boiled the sap and completed that part of making syrup before the storm hit. The TV was telling me we were going to get two feet of snow with fifty mile per hour winds. The storm began with a single flake.

The first to go was the broadband access. Oh no, no internet access, how will I check my email? A telephone call to the Technical Support Center revealed the problem was on their end somewhere and they hoped to re-establish the connection within 24 to 48 hours. Great, do they know how long that is in internet time? The ominous red light on the Advanced Networking Modem lets me know how fragile my link is to the rest of the world.

The electricity flickers and my computer shuts down. I am left here clicking the keys to a black screen. So far the computer always boots up so I can scrawl a few more words. I am typing as fast as I can between the computer and electrical failures.

The satellite TV started making that static-y sound, nothing but snow on the screen. I got the signal it was trying to acquire the signal. The normal programs came back on but the local channels were displaying a message that said they were aware their station was unavailable. One local TV station came back on and I saw my son’s school on the list of closed ones.

The telephone rang so I knew that machine was still working. It was my wife calling from a reservation 125 miles west of mine. She was attending a workshop and told me about the blizzard there.

The snowplow came by and sealed my driveways with a wall of snow.

The snow is still falling and the wind is still blowing hard. The local TV station reports a gust of 63 miles per hour.

The police and TV people are telling everyone to stay home, no problem here. I got no where to go and a long time to get there so I am nesting, going to hunker in my bunker.

I cooked up a peanut butter/jelly/banana sandwich and settled down to watch the snow blow by in a horizontal manner.

I guess sugar bush is on hold for a couple of days.

The storm abated (I like that word) and we went back to making maple syrup. We gathered and boiled, gathered friends and family around the fire while we were boiling. People came to learn how we make syrup and we were happy to share what we know. When people ask how much we got we always say, enough for a Shinnob, not enough for a Chimook.


In my travels I found a great singing group. Their name is Asani and they sing songs that make me want to sing along. They sometimes use a rattle and a hand drum. The trio is composed of three women from Canada, Debbie Houle, Sherryl Sewepagaham and Sarah Pocklington, Cree/Metis.

I have made my family tired of listening to the music because I play the CD over and over. There are threats of the CD being held hostage until I agree not to play it so much. I can’t help it, the music and the sound of their voices really appeal to me.


We held a primary election on the Rez and the race for the Chair is between Karen Diver and Patty Petite.

I have seen something that I have never seen before on this Rez. Someone was shooting paintballs at posted posters. It is real brave to shoot at something that can’t shoot back.


Mii iw

Mii sa iw.