Goodhaiinagwaanaii Ji’ Gwa’ohtsuu

Told by: 
Kenneth Frank

Ch’ihłan shiti’ shaagwaandak.

Ohtsuu eegwaandak.

Ohtsuu, vadzaih dhaa ohtsuu giizhit nilii iłdlii.

Nilii gaih giizhit iłdlii.

Shitsuu gweedhaa datthak dahaa neeyaaha’ak yahnyaa.

Deeghaih yił’aii ts’ą’ nijin neerihiidal googaa dahaaneeyaaha’ak tł’ee.

“Tr'iinleii googaa duuyee vizhik goraah’in ch’yaa,” yahnyaa.

“Łyaa goodhaii nagwaanaii ji’ aii eenjit aii eenjit t’ee dahaaneeyaha’ak doonch’yaa,” yahnyaa.

Vizhit chan jidii ch’ik’eh googaa tthak gwizhit dhidlii, 

nilii gaih kwaii datthak chan jidii tsal haa.

“Jidii tsal yiinghan ts’ą’ datthak vizhit dhidlii ts’ą’ geetak hee ch’aghwaa ghwai’ googaa vizhit 

dhidlii,” yahnyaa, “ch’aghwaa ghwai’.”

Ch’aghwaa ghwai’ kwaii zhit gwa’an, aii chan ohtsuu tsal giiyeenjit ahtsii.

Aii geetak hee ch’itriłdril giiyahnyaa aii zhit giiyiłdlii, geetak chan, 

geetak łarhthaa ohtsuu gahtsii aii zhit chan giiyiłdlii yahnyaa.

Aiikwaii aii gwizhit dhidlii.

Aiits’ą’ geetak hee tr’eedaa dai’ vats’an jidii tsal, jidii tsal diiteenahchak yahnyaa.

Dahthee vadzaih, vadzaih dinjik tr’ahaahkhwaa gwats’ą’, 

diishih kwaa dai’ jidii tsal ts’an diiteenaazhik yahnyaa. 

“Aiit’ee łyaa akaii,” yahnyaa.

Aii t’iiyahnyaa łyaa vizhit nilii gaih kwaii akaii inch’yaa giiyahnyaa, 

“Vizhit nilii gaih neeraazhik dai’ shih gwiinzii vagwaandaii,” yahnyaa.

“Łyaa akaii,” yahnyaa, taihnyaa.

Aii ts’ą’ aii ginch’yaa ohtsuu aii t’ee łyaa nats’ą’ ts’ą’ giiyuuzhrii vaashandaii kwaa, gaa łyaa. . .

Gaa łizhyaa goodhaiinagwaanaii ji’, 

aii eenjit t’ee shitsuu geenjit adahaaneeyaaha’ak, yahnyaa.

Deeghaih yił’aii ts’ą’.

Aii łyaa, aii ginch’yaa łyaa sheenjit gwandak nizii.

Ya’, it’ee.

Emergency Survival Food Sack
Translated by: 
Kenneth Frank, Allan Hayton, and Craig Mishler

One time my father told me a story.

He spoke of a sack.

She (my grandmother) kept meat inside of a caribou skin sack.

She kept dry meat in it.

My grandmother always carried that sack with her, he said.1

She kept it by her and carried it with her wherever they traveled.

“There were many of us, but still we weren’t allowed to look in that sack,” he said.

“She carried it with her in case times became desperate,” is what he said. 

Inside that sack also there were fat and dry meat, 

along with some other little foods.

“She had made it into small pieces, and she put all of that inside that sack, 

and sometimes she even put bone grease in there,” he said, “bone grease.”

At the same time they would also make a little pouch for the bone grease.

Sometimes they would leave it in the heart sac (pericardium), 

and they also made a bag from the bladder and put it inside there, he said.

That’s what’s inside.

And so then when we travel she would hand us just a little bit, he said.

Until caribou, until we kill caribou and moose, whenever we have no food 

she would ration out just a little bit to each one of us, he said. 

He said, “It tasted very good.”

He said the dry meat from inside tasted very good, they say. 

He said, “When we put dry meat inside of the sack, it’s very tasty.” 

I’m telling you, he said, “It tastes really good.”

Also I really don’t know what they call that kind of a sack, but. . .

But whenever we got into a really desperate situation, 

my grandmother carried it with her for exactly that purpose, he said.

She kept it close to her.

Truly, that kind of story is a very good one for me.

Yes, that’s all.


1 Kenneth Frank’s father was Hamel Frank, and his grandmother was Sarah Frank.