Jules Koostachin the AskiMOM
With everything AskiBOYZ, we figured we would change it up by featuring our first official Aski-blog on Director & Creator, Jules Koostachin. With work and raising her twin sons, Jules managed to find time by providing Muskrat Magazine with an exclusive interview on AskiBOYZ.
Where did the idea for AskiBoyz come from?
J.K. My Cree grandfather Abraham was a leader in the community of Lake River north of Attawapiskat in the early to mid 1930s, and was a trapper/hunter. Because he was a ‘traditional’ leader his responsibility was to ensure that the next generation had the tools and skills they required to survive off the land. He also ensured that children in his community who had lost a parent/s who was the provider; had obtained the skills necessary to help their family. At this time in the far north it wasn’t about money it was about survival. He also made sure that families without food had their share from the hunting/trapping. No one went without, and because he was a “Okimaw” (leader), my eldest brother would have been the next hereditary ‘leader’… things have changed as we all know, now being governed by the Indian Act, therefore, our Indigenous governance system has been systematically taken from our people.
I believe that my grandfather’s first great grandson, my eldest son Asivak (19) would have been next in line to lead or take on this responsibility, but unfortunately my grandfather never had the opportunity to take out my brothers and I, nor my sons. We have all lost something important and customary in his passing, as well as my grandmother. This series is dedicated to our Native boys, soon to be Native men who did not receive all of our traditional Cree teachings; teachings in turn which are embedded in the truth, our truth about respecting the Earth, hence our women.
To make a long story short, this series is about my sons, putting them out there on the land, with the spirit of my grandparents watching over them. They have been raised in the city of Toronto, and I wanted them so badly to have this experience. Using media I have been able to provide them this important opportunity to learn from Elders/Knowledge Keepers across this nation and hopefully beyond, they learn from both women and men, as my grandfather did.Cassius, their mentor on the show I met in Banff at a Native Leadership program years ago. I was new ‘friends’ with his wife and as soon as I met him I knew he was the one to take them on this journey.
Because I was a single mother when raising my eldest boys in my twenties/thirties, I knew they were missing something in their lives that I could not provide; Cassius was perfect for this journey. His values, energy, teachings, and kindness reminded me right away of my late grandfather, Abraham. I knew in my heart I had my show! A show that wasn’t just about my boys struggling out in the land to entertain the audience, but hopefully seen to help encourage and inspire our Native youth who are feeling a void in their lives to go out on the land, feel the connection!
I was always taught that it takes a village to raise our children, and we need to do this again, so we need to open our arms and take on this responsibility as my grandparents did and welcome our youth back to the land.
How would you like this series to impact young people?
J.K. I want youth to feel inspired and to be able to laugh at themselves if they fail at something the first time, to at least try something new once. Living off the land is hard work and, because my boys are funny and don’t take themselves too seriously, it will hopefully appeal to other kids. I want kids to remember where they come from and understand that we have a rich history. We come from strong people who cared about the land and each other. I’m not trying to say we lived in a utopia, but we were led by our teachings passed on for generations. I hope kids will want to go back out on the land, get off the video games and computers, feed their souls with our traditional way of life. Push their limits, and see that we are here for the long run, and because we carry the ways of our ancestors we will continue to thrive. We need our kids on board; we need our kids to understand that we are why the newcomers have survived and thrived, thrived because we kept our resources in tact.
Any chance you’ll be doing an AskiGirlz show?
J.K. I would love to create a brand, and spin off shows, if there is a desire within our community to learn, than the show will have a long prosperous life indeed.
Interview in Cree:
misowe kekwana AskiBOYZ, niki onasowe tentenan chiki achatayak apishish ekomaka kanokitanan nimasinakenan oskach Aski-Blog anta kaki onashwatak eko maka nesta kaki oshitat oma takastepanichikan Jules Koostachin ishinikasow
e kichi otamiisiit eko maka opikihat ochwashhimisa, Jules kiyapich kikaskataw kichi naskaskwat Muskat Tipachimowimasinahikan e tipachimowat AskiBOYZ
chiki takotakwak oma tipachimowin, oho takastepanichikana nikosisak nokosowak e nochichikechik pakitaskihk mekwach e kokomopana e nakotwakomochik. ki ophikohk Torontonihk eko maka niwi tenimawak mistahi chiki nisotenikihk chiki nato kiskentakik winawaw pakistaskiniw. apachitayan sinowapaskehikana niki kaskatan chik wapatinamakiyan chiki otinakik kishehawak okiskinahamakewina ota misowe ataskesiwina eko maka wasite chiki kiskinohamasochik kakini iskwewak eko maka napewak ashich, kaki pechi ishinakosipan nimoshompan nesta kakiniw
niwi tenamawak oshkatisak chiki kaskohenamochik eko maka nesta chiki papitachik ketatoon mona shaposkatakik animisowina mina nesta chiki koschitachik pitoosh kekwana. Animetakwan tapwe e pimatisinanohk pakitaskihk, sakoch mina witetakosowak nikosisak mina mona tapwetakosowak wesa wiitentakwan eko maka nimischonowesoon chiki minetahkik kotakiyak oshkatisak wapatakihk oma, niwi tenimawak oshkatisak chiki kiskishichik tante ka ochichik eko maka chiki nisitotakihk maka nesta e kichi mikisiwimakahk otanahk kipimatisiwinanan