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From a Blackfoot Boy

Published January 03, 2008        by Matt

boy 1From a Blackfoot Boy You have been telling in your paper of the way all the white people enjoyed themselves at Christmas and New Year, so now please let us tell you how we enjoyed ourselves on the Blackfoot reserve. Well, to begin with, we boys and girls take a great interest in

Santa Claus and as he paid us a visit last year, we thought we would get something again, so we got a long rope and stretched it across the room and put all our stockings and socks on it on Christmas eve. He came sure, and we all got candies and nuts and plums and one boy got a card sent from
England and the girls got scissors and hair ribbons too.

At 11 o'clock on Christmas Day we had service in our new schoolhouse and heard about Jesus being born and sang our Christmas hymns in Blackfoot. At 1 o'clock, 0 my! We had a fine dinner, roast beef and plum pudding. Three big plum puddings, one for each table, and Albert, he couldn't eat his all up, and Mr. Tims, he said it was the first time Albert said he couldn't eat any more.

Well, after dinner we went on to the ice to play and at 5 o'clock the big bell began to ring and there was no boy late for tea this night. We never saw anything like it before. The cakes were all white on the top and little rabbits and mice all over them, but the boys soon found it was all sugar, and there were no rabbits or mice after tea. Well, when tea was over we heard a great noise, and the boys, they said it was old Santa Claus come, and we all ran out and there he was coming over from the Mission house with a long white beard, and a dress like an old woman, and a bundle of things on his arm and we all laughed at him and we all went into the school house. Then we saw what Mr. Baker and Miss Garlick and the other teacher had been doing all the afternoon. They had got a pine tree and dressed it up with all sorts of things, and all the boys and girls looked happy.

Old Santa Claus, he said some of the Indians could come in and see it too, so a lot of our fathers and mothers, they came in and sat down and the tree was lit up with candles and Santa Claus began to give us some things. The boys got boots, braces, handkerchiefs, knives, and the little boys got tin horses and dogs and the girls they got dolls and work bags and one got a knife, fork and spoon in a box all the way from
Toronto. Then we had apples and scrambled for nuts and candies which Santa Claus said Mr. Haynes sent.

After that we had games and played "nuts and may" and "turn the trencher" and all the Indians, they played too, and we sang songs and that was how we spent Christmas.

Very good, sir. And then at New Year, Mr. Tims always gives our parents a feast then and about fifty Indians all came to the school-house and had bread and beef, and apple pies, and lots of tea, and Mr. Tims he gave to each father a quilt and a shirt or coat or something that came up in the bales, and our mothers (some of us have 2 or 3 mothers) they had a dress or a petticoat and something else, a hood or a scarf. This was the parents' feast. Then the next day all the other Indians came, and the children got something, a pair of mitts or a doll and Mr. Tims he gave all the old women petticoats or something else and the girls got dresses and the boys scarves and hats and everybody had tea and bread and jam and all we boys and girls had candies.

I don't know how many people there were, about 150 I should think. This was all New Year's at this camp. Eagle Ribs' people at the South Camp, where there is another school, they had New Year's too and got some things same as the Indians here. Next year, Mr. Editor, I will tell you again what we do, and I hope there will be a lot more bales [of clothing] come up again.