This story was told to me by some hunters from South Indian Lake in Thompson, Manitoba. They gave me permission to use their stories in a book over breakfast; they were in town with their kids, I was watching our own as my wife needed to be in town, too. As the kids played, we small talked about what was one of, if not the largest, whitefish populations in the world before Manitoba Hydro. These two men recalled their memories of how big and plentiful the whitefish once were, just like the wild blueberries., and told me a little about the seasonal work they do with the Big Sand Lake lodge and invited my little family out to come visit. I introduced myself as a Native Studies PhD student at the University of Manitoba, familiar with Jennifer Dysart’s work. Additionally, the jiu jitsu program I am part of at Southeast College has allowed me to make friends everywhere. We talked about Alvin Dysart and how I hoped he comes back to pursue his black belt in the Behring Manitoba System (www.academy64). He graduated with a blue belt.
I told them a little about my research and that I am hoping to have a book out early 2018.That it’s done, just needs a book proposal and publisher – and that I had my eye on Kegedonce Press. About my dream is to make a Miish’akomoo: Aki Inakonigewin—Sasquatch: Earth Laws movie, Pixar-animation style. Their eyes lit up at the mention of the elusive figure that stirs the imagination of people worldwide. One hunter told me a story about a recent sighting at South Indian Lake, his friend nodding in agreement at parts, adding details to others. The initial thought from the person who saw it was that this was a polar bear sighting, because this one was white. It was walking like a bear, plowing through the snow— crawling not walking. Then it stood up on all fours – he thought he saw an abominable snowman, a yeti.
I assured them that I did not think they were joking or crazy. That as I understand them from my research, they have paths all throughout the world, and the white ones are healers, powerful. They are sky-beings, Earth-guardians, tasked by the Missabewag - giants who left, to make sure the Earth remains in its natural state. I showed them a picture I drew. They smiled as the kids got ready, one of them saying that there are not a lot of stories about bigfoot sightings in his area of South Indian Lake. In fact, the only time he heard one from someone close to him was from his grandpa and it was brown. They even found hair in the footprints. I added, “That’s good, we don’t want to see them. We’re not going to like them if we do, because, if we do, it’s because they’re only going to safekeep what is left.” His grandpa worked for the Hudson Bay Company in the 1930s. At that time, he was stranded at his trapping camp — but he could live there and he often stayed in area. He saw what he thought to be, again, a big bear walking as he was boating along the shore, but it had long hair and walked upright too well.
Jason Bone is a Native Studies PhD student at the University of Manitoba.