Values & Worth

On Payment

"Everyone puts a value on what they receive in this world according to what they can give."

Joe P. Cardinal, Cree

"I put up a fast every year at home. I don't go anywhere. People come. One thing I make sure is they have to have a feast before they go to the fasting lodge, and when they come out, they have to have a feast. Then I make sure to say to buy their own food, and buy what they want to cook. If a guy is going to a fast, he has to hire a cook, so that when he come out. They give me gifts, like a drum, blankets. Boy, you should see the blankets I have at home. But, you know, when somebody comes that comes from someplace else, we give him or her the blankets. We just pass them on. But,you know, that's what they can give.

My mother-in-law had a lot of medicines. When this guy wanted the medicines to carry on, because he was getting old, he gave three cows to her - and cows were worth a lot of money in those days - but to be able to carry that on. But that's the way it goes. I don't think you're buying.

I liked a song. James Cardinal at home, and I went to him, and I gave him some money, I gave him a rifle - a good rifle - and I gave him a lot of other things. I says, 'I want that song from you. I'm asking you.' I could never buy, if it had a price on it, I could never give enough for it. But I gave what I had and what I could give. But one thing he told me, 'just don't bring that money in here. Leave it outside.' The only thing he told me is he didn't what the money in the sweat. Leave it outside. You're not buying. I don't think you could ever buy.

I had 27 fasters last year in Saddle Lake, and then I when went to Fort Fraser, and I had about 13 over there. This guy invited me over there he wanted people to fast over there on his land at the [River]. I told him, I says 'Art, don't give me anything. Just give me the chance to fish here and can fish. I brought quite a few of my grandchildren over there. And they were canning fish. And, holy smokes, that's lots, lots of thing to do to can fish. And there was a lady there that showed them how to cut it and smoke it. You know that's a fortune in itself. What more do you want? These are the things, that is payment.

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