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Maminteu [archive]

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By Joseph Rich, Davis Inlet. Translated by Matthew Rich (Sheshatshu)

A family of Maminteut (cannibals), on the move, came across fresh Innu tracks. "Let's follow them," they said. After a while, they got to where the Innu were camping.

"Here come strangers," said the Innu people, and they invited them to come in.

"Have something to eat," said the Innu. And they told young girls to put up their camp for them.

When the young girls finished the camp, the cannibals went out. The father of the cannibals walked behind the rest of his family. He saw a woman sitting by a doorway holding a baby. Then he made himself trip and fall right where the baby was. When he fell, he put his hand on the baby's head and crushed it. Then he went to the camp with the rest of his family.

The cannibal's sons began to get scared. They heard the people crying inside the camp and they said to their father, "You must have done something wrong in there." But their father answered, "Nothing much happened in there. I just broke one of their spoons."

The people in the camp said, "What should we do with them? How to kill then? And how to trick them?"

The next morning, one of the old Innu visited the cannibals. He said to them, "We've found beavers and every man is going out to kill them. If you would like to come with us, we would be glad to have you. We should try to kill them all."

The father of the cannibals agreed to come with them.

Then the Innu planned how to kill the cannibals.

"We will go in three groups. The younger people will lead the way, the second group will follow and we, the old people, will come behind. One of the cannibal's sons will go with the first group and the other with the second group. We'll come right behind with the father."

The younger people said, "When you see us gather together, you will know that we are killing his sons. Then you do the same thing with the father."

And they went.

As they were walking, they saw the young men gathering together. "Look at them playing," said the old Innu to the father of the cannibals. "Our boys always have a snowshoe race with strangers."

Then the old Innu said to the father, "We used to be good on snowshoes in our younger days. Let's have a race."

When the father of the cannibals started to run, one of the Innu stabbed his snowshoe with a spear. The father of the cannibals fell and the other Innu attacked him and killed him with their spears.

Then all the Innu went home. When they got home, they said, "We killed his sons and him too - we killed them all."


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