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Senator Recalls His Livlihood

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      MAY 15 1975      v05 n08 p08  
Senator Roy Musqua Keeseekoose - "My whole life consisted of many trades, hardships and a lot of hard work," recalls FSI Senator Roy Musqua of this reserve.

Senator Musqua to date has a family of 12 children, 77 grandchildren, and 35 great grandchildren living. He and his wife, Nellie, have celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary last year in March. All the relatives chipped in and gathered from far and near to help this dear couple renew their wedding vows.

Mr. Musqua started life out as a farmer and a trapper breaking in 100 acres of land for crop. He said, "I had a four-horse outfit. My two oldest daughters, Mable and Pauline, used to help me run this farm.

We also had some cattle on and off. Whenever I needed extra cash, I'd sell them and buy some when I had extra money."

Mable today is married to Delbert Whitehawk of Cote Reserve, and Pauline, the oldest daughter, is also married on Cote Reserve to Joe Pelly.

Mr. Musqua enlisted in the army in the last World War. He was discharged after s even months in the Armed Forces, He says, "I wore moccasins all my life. My feet couldn't adjust to the hard army boots. I would break out in big blisters all over my feet." This was the reason for his discharge.

After being discharged from the Canadian Army, he worked in the bush camp north of Pelly for two years. He then came back to the reserve to settle on his farm permanently.

He also took contracts building houses on the reserve at the same time. He retired about three years ago, turning his farm over to his sons. He says, "I am satisfied with my life. I made a good clean living and I taught all my children to be hard working like they are today."

Mr. Musqua has had quite a political background being Chief for 14 years on seven different terms. Today, he is still a councilor on the Keeseekoose Reserve. He was one of the forefathers in the formation of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians and realized the importance of Saskatchewan Indians forming together in order to recognize the rights of the Indian nation to the general public.

At 71 years of age, Senator Musqua is an eager sports enthusiast. Travel is of no importance to him when he hears of an Indian hockey tournament somewhere he'll go.

His eyes lit up with excitement as he recalls the 22-years he managed the St. Philips Rangers Indian hockey team. He also had a brief experience managing a baseball team called the Keeseekoose Royals.

Mr. Musqua also was quite an all-around athlete, himself, even though he was quite modest about it. Gathering information from various elders in the Cote and Keeseekoose Reserves, he was a bronc buster, soccer player, wrestler, boxer, and one of the best sprinters in the district.

Mr. Musqua is saddened by the way the Treaties have been ravaged by the white man's greed. He recalls his grandfather, Old Kakakaway, who attended the signing of the Treaties.

"I remember Old Kakakaway a very wise old man," he recalls, "saying that I will sign over the lands to you, but I will not give you the game I use for food."

Then the government officials assured the Indians, "I don't want your game, I only want the land. As a matter of fact, we will protect your game from the white man in order that only you people can hunt,' he said.

"Now today," he says. "I see my people being persecuted in the white man's courts for hunting the game that he was given at the signing of the Treaties."

"Old Kakakaway lived long enough for the Treaties to be honoured as promised," he said He concluded, "Now today, a lot of the Treaties are being twisted around by the white man's words, but actually destroying the unkept promises given to our Indian nation."