Nancy Scannie

Nancy Scanie, a Denesuline woman, was born January 6, 1939 in a tent on the shores of Cold Lake. She knew the land before it had the military base, before the there was an ‘air weapons range’ and before oil and gas industries were overtaken on the lands and waters.

She grew up off the land and says this ‘we never had to worry about our water, we could just go get water and drink it from anywhere; lakes, rivers, sloughs, anywhere’. She states ‘I have seen a lot of
changes since my childhood and now I fight to keep the water clean and land clean for ourselves and our animals, it has unbelievable what has happened in this time, big time change. Today, all I want to do at my age, I want to see our water clean and have more respect for our land, our water. Its our life, without water we are nothing. Our children haven’t seen anything yet, they have just as much as right
as we have to have clean water. Our medicines are so important, I remember growing up our mom used to make us tea out of plants from the land, we used to drink this to help keep us from getting sick
in winter time. One day we won’t be able to go to drugstores, we will have to learn our medicines, respect your elders and they will tell you that our medicine is important’.

Nancy Scanie ends with this message; ‘another thing with us native people is the Queens bargain, I knew about this, my dad used to say to us ‘as long as sun is shining, the grass is growing and the rivers are flowing’ he used to say this to us and I knew it had to come from somewhere. I went and found the Queen Victoria bargain, Ottawa archives wouldn’t give this document to me, I had to go to New York
archives to get this Queens Bargain. It was written to only the native people; it wasn’t written to the rest of Canada. The bargain is out there all over Canada now, don’t just file it away, study it and work with it, use it for your benefit’.

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