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FC: The Day the Loon Cried | Written and Illustrated by Pearl M. Last

1: The Day the Loon Cried | © 2013 by Pearl M. Last. The author/illustrator retains sole copyright to the contents of this book.

2: This book is dedicated to my wonderful grandson; Elijah Joseph Ephraim, my many nieces and nephews and their beautiful children. They are the descendants of the children in this story. Special acknowledgement goes to Lisa Bjarnason who appreciates a good story, Jodi McLean for her artistic direction, and Tim Talbot and Anne Matchett for their encouragement. I would also like to thank Meghan Tulak and Anita Sinclair for the title and support. | This story is based on true events in the life of the author.

4: Tse'kene language (Sekani) Atsoo - Gramma Atse - Grampa Khuda - moose Uba - dad Uma - mom

5: It was a sunny day in late August. Uma (Mom), Uba (Dad), Atsoo and Atse (Grama and Grampa) were busy working on a khuda (moose) in the woodshed, preparing our food for the long winter months ahead. Martin, Beatrice, Marilyn and I were sent outside to play in the sunshine.

6: We played hide and seek, chase bees, climbed trees, and collect frogs from the nearby marshes. When we got hungry we picked berries that grew all around us. Uma (mom) alway had a supply of bannock on hand just in case there were no berries to be found.

7: We all liked to play at the river, the water was only ankle to waist deep in the summer.We felt safe because we looked out for one another. Our dog Wuskul would tag along on all our adventures, alway happy to be a part of the fun.

8: We were playing tag by the river when we heard a strange splashing noise. We ran to see what the noise was. My brother yelled, "over there!" as he pointed across the river. There was a large black and white bird flapping it's wings around in the water. It looked like it was stuck.

9: We walked across the river towards the bird, it began to hiss and flap its wings at us because it was afraid of us. The bird had unusual red eyes and a long sharp beak. Atsoo's fishnet was tangled around its body.

10: We gathered around, staring silently, as the bird struggled and splashed about. The Trembling Aspen tree shook in the wind, creating a calming shhhhhh all around us.

11: I had a plan! I asked my brother to get behind the bird and hold it still so we could help get it free from the net.

12: We didn't have anything to cut the bird free so I began chewing through the net with my teeth. The net tasted fishy and there were half eaten fish parts floating near my face.

13: I chewed and I chewed and I chewed some more. My sister Beatrice laughed and called me silly, but I didn't mind because this bird wasn't able to free it self. It needed a helping hand.

14: Once we freed it from the net, Martin picked it up gently and that's when we saw that Its' wing joints were rubbed raw from the net. It looked quite sore.

15: My older sister Anita came over to see what we were doing. She helped us straighten its feathers before Martin carefully put the bird back in the water to swim away to join its family. We were glad to see it was ok, but sad to see it go.

16: As if to say," Thank You", the bird turned our way and made a haunting loon cry, that echoed along the river. | Martin said it was a loon we had freed from Atsoo's net. He said that they can dive deep in the water to hunt for fish and that they mate for life.

17: Martin showed us how to make a good loon call. Maybe you would like to try too! Turn the page to find out how....

18: Starting with your left hand, cross your little pinky with your index finger, then cup your left hand. Keep it crossed! Then wrap your right hand over around your left hand and bring your thumbs together, side by side. Your hands should be cupped together, side by side! Now, whistle into the small space between your thumbs, where the knuckles touch. With practice you'll have a loon call! If you can wet your hands first with river water, it will improve the sound and quality of your loon call.

20: Struggling, floundering hissing and jabbing useless to no avail loon fastened to the net a crime committed too lazy to hunt nature accusingly watches and waits intrigue is in the air How will it end? running, laughing children playing nearby trembling aspen soothing the loon help is on the way innocence belies the little ones, their senses sharpened compassion compels A rescue is underway but how? by what means? to rescue this netted loon, then chew I will hold still giant bird while I gnaw my way to you free at last, a bird should be fly away loon to your family. | Netted Loon | ~Pearl M. Last

21: Tse'khene's Nations author/illustrator, Pearl M. Last, was born in Prince George, B.C. She grew up in McLeod Lake along the Pack River. As a child she was sent away to Lejac Residential School for eight years with her siblings, then onto public school in Mackenzie. Pearl learnt first-hand the hardships of living in isolated communities, and both the pleasures and problems of co-habiting with nature and wildlife. | Ron & Pearl were married in 1981, and had three beautiful children, Monique, Ernie and Grace, before settling in the Arrow Lakes region, where they still live in amongst the majestic Selkirk mountains of Nakusp, B.C. Canada. | Pearl's vibrant personality, love of Native arts and crafts, and vast knowledge of nature, all combine to produce many wonderful stories. Her other passions include traditional Indian beadwork and cooking Bannock for family and friends. She has also taught several courses to keep alive the traditional customs of her people.

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