Posted by: J.V. | August 5, 2010

Elections and Pow Wow

UPDATED (note at the bottom)

It seems that I have a knack for showing up to do research in Chisasibi just when they are about to have elections. When I came the first time in 98, I was given verbal permission on the phone by the outgoing chief. A new chief was elected about 3 weeks after I arrived. This time, the process was a bit more formal and I had to submit all my paperwork to the band council. The current chief sent me a letter informing me that the council had approved my project. But there are elections coming up. This chief is running again but so are 4-5 other people.

The signs are up in all the buildings in town. I have heard one of the people in running on the radio making a speech about how they* will bring change to the community. I saw this same person in one of the grocery stores on Tuesday asking people to vote for them. I’m looking forward to seeing how this all turns out.

I also seem to show up just before their annual Pow Wow in town. 4 times straight, I have missed the local gathering called Mamweedow (sp?) on Fort George Island at the mouth of La Grande River (Chisasibi), where the local Eeyou used to live before Hydro Québec came and messed with their community. I’m always either too late or too early. However, this weekend is the Pow Wow. It was fun in 98 and hopefully I will get to connect with some people there again.

*Concerning the avoidance of gendered pronouns: I’ve been using “they” as a gender neutral pronoun for a long time when the person’s sex/gender is unknown but lately I’ve been trying to use it all the time when the sex/gender is irrelevant. This is part of my politics of getting away from social markers that often simply work to enhance stereotypes (eg: this black guy, this woman doctor, etc) or to mark people who are not status quo (white, male, hetero, etc).



  1. Hey, what language are they speaking up there eh? And… you could use phonetic symbols to spell things like Mamweedow ([mamwido]?). That’s why phonetics was invented!

    Regardless, hope you’re having a good experience.

    • Nice to see you here Ron! They speak Eeyou (Cree, Eastern James Bay dialect) and English. Eh. They have their own spelling for the term but I did not have it on hand when I wrote the post (pre-coffee too I might add).

      Hey, I wanted to link to your Cranky Linguist site on my blogroll. Is that OK?

  2. Of course! In fact, I’d be disappointed if you didn’t! In case you don’t have the url handy, it’s:

    Do you want me to reciprocally link to this site on my blog?

  3. Deal! Thanks for the link. I was going to fish it out of your FB page but now I don’t need to.

  4. OK! By the way, would you call where you are the Canadian Subarctic, or what? I just wanted to write a little blurb when I put your link up.

  5. Oh cool, thanks! Yeah, it’s definitely in the Canadian Subarctic.

  6. Ron: thought this might interest you.

  7. Very nice, and there’s a link to the Cree fonts, which I immediately downloaded.

    A few years ago (well, ok, maybe 10) I had a student in linguistics who was Innu. He did his paper on his language, going thru the Swadesh list and also translating a text. I have it somewhere filed away (I never throw anything away except the stuff my chair wants!). I’ll see if I can find it and do something with it.

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