Tape Transcripts on Elder Ronnie Sheshamush
Whapmagoostui First Nation Member
Transcriber: Mary Shem
March 15, 2006
I will tell you what I have heard and what I have seen. During the time of my forefathers, people used to travel from their inland camps to the coast, when the post was at Richmond Gulf, people used to go there. There was a company there, it was not a company store but another company, and I think they were Les Gros Radisson? (oopistiquayaow), Fur Traders who also used called the Whiskey traders.
As you know there the waters at Richmond Gulf are turbulent therefore sailing ships could not go into the Gulf so they moved the post to Little Whale River. It was a little community there, if one goes up the river, one will see the remains of the many camps that were there.
When whaling came up north, big boats could not sail into the Little Whale River so they moved the post to Great Whale River. This is what I have heard and as a young man, I saw the community of Whapmagoostui grow to what it is today.
I once asked an Inuk what was the purpose of hunting whales, he had told me that Whale fat was accumulated for heating fuel, (chisapisjawan pimi). My aunt, my mother’s sister told me the story of Little Whale River and it is her recollection that I will tell you because I find it interesting. She told of how the fort at Little Whale River was destroyed by the Inuit as they had raided the premise and the people who had stayed there could not sleep due to a threat of an attack of the post. There are stories that the post was raided because the people needed food and supplies.
Then another company HBC came into existence and I recall seeing the movie on the move from Little Whale River to Great Whale River. The old church of the 1800’s which is now used as a museum was being transported by boat from there to here.