November 28, 2017
The grade 11 media studies class was given an “Elder Biography” assignment in October. This is one of the stories that emerged from that assignment.
Daisy Whitehead is a well known member of the community of Webequie.
She was born on May 15 1942, in Webequie by the lake near Wapitotaming, also known as “White Sideburn.”
Growing up in Webequie for Whitehead was fun because she had many things she enjoyed doing as a youth such as checking the fishnet, putting up rabbit snares, and getting wood.
“There was nothing likes things that are here today but I was happy that we had traditional foods to eat and other traditional things,” said Whitehead.
Growing up in Webequie was also difficult for Whitehead because of how everything around her was changing. More non-Indigenous people were coming to the community, and people were afraid they would change things. What changed was how she lived. What also changed was what she ate. Processed foods were starting to come into the community, but many people stuck to traditional food.
“We never got sick when we ate traditional food, we didn’t have health problems like we do now,” Whitehead said.
“The things I learned when I was younger made me the person I am today,” she said.
Whitehead learned how to do things by watching. At the age of 4-6, Whitehead began watching how they made clothing and shoes.
“My clothing and shoes weren’t store bought, they were made by hand” said Whitehad.
Whitehead is also well known for her sewing work. She enjoys making crafts, she makes beaded mittens, hats, moccassins, bundle sets, and key chains.
She has always been a hard worker and traditional activities are very important to her.
Whitehead is a mother of eight and a grandmother of nineteen. Like any other elder Whitehead cares about the youth.
“I don’t want them to get distracted with drugs and alcohol while in school,” she said.
“I want them to finish their education.”
Whitehead is afraid that youth will lose the things that were important in making her who she is today.
“I was told many things of what was to come, and knowing what was to come scared me,” she explained. Growing up was difficult, but now youth have a lot of distractions and different dangers than she had growing up.
“I want youth to listen to their parents when they are being taught how to do traditional things,” she explained. “It is the only way they’re going to know how to do things when they grow older.”