Nancy Todd: Stories About My Father

nancy_todd.jpgMy mother, she came from Nation. My mom was Margaret Moise. John Moise—that’s my mother’s dad. Edward Moise—that’s my uncle.

I was born here. There was something that went between my dad (he’s buried over there) and my mom. Something happened, you know. I don’t know what it was. That’s what gets to me all the time. What did happen with my dad and mom when I was small. Sometimes I think about it and think if my mom told me, then I would understand.

I was a baby when we went to Nadleh. Like I said I was in a diaper. My father was Cameron William. My mother said, ‘this is your baba.’ I was scared of him and hid behind her skirt. But he said he needed to talk with me and I sat with him. I remember he told me a lot of things.

My dad said you treat other people good, they treat you the same way. They won’t treat you mean. You’re just like brothers and sisters right there. And he told me not to take drugs and stuff like that. I told him, ‘I promise you.’ What happened is til today, I don’t know what drugs are like. And I don’t know what color it looks like. And I don’t even know what it is—all I know is ‘drugs.’

I followed everything my dad talked to me about. He said don’t go against anybody. If they want to argue with you, just walk away. Just bless yourself.

My dad when I was about 3 years old, he teach me how to set snare for a squirrel. And he says, if you catch one, put it in a bag. And before you set (the snare), if you look up and see his tail going like this, don’t set it. He see you set the snare and he go to a different hole and go out.

When my dad, he was working in the bush, on this side of Fort Fraser, he built a cabin there. We had a tent there first. Talk about a hail storm. It was about that big (two or three inches across). And here I try to go crawl for it, you know. Mom, she said ‘that thing is gonna kill you.’ I didn’t know what that meant, you know, ‘kill you.’ I never heard that word before. After that our clothes were   wet and everything in the tent. My dad was building the shack there. So they start building it real fast, eh. After that (when the cabin was done) they made a bed for me. Next to them.

All of a sudden (one day) my dad said ‘I’m going to go look for huckleberries.’ So he left and a few minutes after he left he came back. He said that bear is tacklin in the huckleberries. I see a gun (at his side), you know. I stand there looking at my dad. I never said nothing. First time I see a gun. I just look, you know. All I know is he puts a shell in there. But I never seen it before. After that my dad walked back out and my mom told me to get behind the bed. Just sit there, you know.

Thirteen shells he counted, ok. The first shot, holy smokes. That bear, he just growled, eh. All the way through. Three times, he lost that gun. The bear just continued growling and growling. My mom, she was afraid for him, you know. Me, I was so scared. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t do nothing. Finally, the last shell. Thirteen. And all of a sudden. That bear took off, I guess.

Mom she said, I’m going to go meet him halfway. I grab ahold of her skirt and say I’m comin too. I was so scared, I’m telling you. She carry me and all of a sudden, she put me down. And I look at dad, you know. Holy smokes. No shirt. Just all scratched up. Then when we got back with him, there was only a little tree about that big. The rest is willow brush. It was just flat like a pancake. Don’t see no huckleberries. Nothing. Then there was a big trail going down that way.

Less than half a mile down, we found the bear. He skinned the bear and mom said, ‘you want a piece of meat.?’ My dad said, ‘no.’ That bear give me a hard time, eh. I don’t want you and the baby and me to have that piece of meat.

No. I just want that bear skin for the baby. My mom she nail it to the wall. Me and my mom we go outside and I look at her. She scraped all those things out, you know, nice and clean. She threw it all out and she burn it.

We went back inside and she said, ‘shhh…Baba sleeping.’ And we were quiet and he slept for so long.

Ever since then, I’m scared of bears.

You know one time I was at the house by myself in Nadleh. I was cookin breakfast. I was cookin bacon and eggs and toast. I was thinking, I better close that door, you know. All of a sudden I step outside and that doggone bear there lickin his lips, you know. I say, ‘get the hell out of here.’ I went and got that little pan, eh. And a wooden spoon. I start drummin, you know. You know, I forgot to close my door when I went out. Chasing him down that road. Then my relative came and said, ‘what you doing chasing bear.’

That doggone bear wanted to come in and eat my bacon. Oh boy, I’m telling you.

Listen to Nancy’s Interview




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