Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | June 18, 2012

Treaty Partying It Up in the Sahtu: Day #4

I’m on the very last leg of my trip, in the small community of Deline.  My night in Fort Good Hope was not too bad, though I did not get much sleep.  Between having had too much water during the day because of the heat, a too hot room (since it has been about 30C here in the Sahtu), and the mosquitoes, uninterrupted and lengthy sleep were both elusive. But with some good strong coffee, we were able to go to work.

The Grey Goose Lodge in Deline.

We checked out of the B&B, and Wilfred, the owner, drove us to the school (where I had more coffee).  The B&B was by far the most cost-effective night of the trip so far, at $160 per person.  We paid $400 per person in Tulita, and $250 in Norman Wells.  Traveling in the North is not cheap by a long shot, in case you were wondering.  Neither is living in it, for that matter, though Yellowknife does not have it as difficult as the smaller, more remote communities.

Our morning at the school saw a steady influx of people, but much less traffic than the evening, perhaps in part because this week many of the kids were out on the land during the day as part of culture camp, meaning their parents couldn’t bring them in for pictures and applications.  This did make it much, much easier to pack up and get to the airport on time for our charter to Deline.

Deline is very beautiful. It sits on the shore of Great Bear Lake, though it is still mostly frozen over this time of year.  Only small patches at the shore are visible.  We are staying at the Grey Goose Lodge, which is very nice.  My room is very spacious, if warm (no air conditioner here, though I’m hoping it will cool down in the evening). They’d just finished cleaning the room when I checked in, and it still smells a little of lemon pinesol, which is lovely and reassuring both.  The internet is painfully slow, but I do have access here, so I can check my messages and alert my parents and friends to my continued existence.

The beautiful graves in Deline.

After a lunch here at the Lodge (Caesar Salad with Chicken), we went to the arena and set up.  We had quite a few helpers from the community today, which was extremely help since it was steady busy and some Elders don’t speak much (or any, in some cases) English.  Our lodge’s kitchen closes at six, but we pre-ordered food, so my cheese burger and fries were waiting for me when I got in.  They were a little cold because we’d run later than anticipated, but still good.  Also good? The cherry cheesecake I had for dessert.  In fact, I’d go as far as to call it fabulous.

Post-dinner, Susan, Francis, and RoseAnn retreated to their rooms for some relaxing time while Sarah and I took a walk.  We visited the graveyard, which has some very interesting “cribs” for the graves. It’s especially neat to see how even some of the oldest graves are kept painted and new by family members down the line, though I always kind of feel like adopting some of the lonelier sites.

Sarah examines the bones of an animal (which she did not end up taking back to her kids after all).

Sarah and I also took a walk down the lakeshore along the community trail.  It was a little mucky (and too mucky to venture down in some spots), but made for a nice trek.  Sarah found some neat animal bones, including a jawbone with some teeth and some rather large vertebrae (and one tiny fish vertebrae).  There are also some very cool rocks along the shore.  We found Sarah some neat flat ones to make into coasters (my suitcase is heavy enough without adding rocks since I can’t pack light for the life of me), and she’s also taking some of the creepy bones to show her kids.  My feet got a little wet and my lack of sleep is catching up to me, so I thought I’d come and finish up my blog, and then get some down time before heading to bed.  We get a bit of a sleep in tomorrow morning, since we start at ten o’clock rather than nine o’clock, but we’ll be going straight until five o’clock before taking a charter home to Yellowknife.  It will be 8:30 at least before we make it home, which will make for a long day.  I do get to claim overtime, however, which I will be taking in lieu time.  It will be nice to build back my holidays, since I’m taking a big lump of them in September.

But for now the room is quiet and I’m feeling relaxed and ready to rest up for another day.  I’ll sign off for now so I can wait out the WiFi and check my hotmail.  Until tomorrow!

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