Aston Family (Lac Sakami)
|Name Meaning||Aston family name.|
|Luperci Date of Founding||~1989|
|Age||> 21 years|
|Primary Species||Arctic Wolf |
Great Plains Wolf
Classification: Player Created (Request). Players must request permission to create a character originating from the area. However, they may create a character that spent a sizable period of time in the area and they may play a character that passed through the area or their character has heard of the area. For a character that spent a great deal of time in the area, their history should conform to the history written out in this page.
The Aston Family lives east of Lac Sakami and the La Grande watershed in the region known among the Cree as Wapanoutauw ("Lands East of James Bay"). It is a mix of French, Inuit, and Cherokee cultures that have blended together to form a new, multifacted pack.
A travelling caravan passed through the area between 2002 and 2009. Members are free to reference passing through the area, either as part of the gypsy group or their own creation.
Table of Contents (hide)
- 1. Description
- 2. History
- 3. Culture
- 4. Language
- 5. Significance
- 6. Further Information
The Aston family is situated east of the La Grande River watershed: Wapanoutauw. Following the demise of humans, these reservoirs fell into disrepair and eventually broke. Years after the failure of the reservoirs, the lands began to return to their previous condition. Without the constant pollution that followed the Baie James project, the land recovered slowly but surely. Eventually, wildlife returned to the region, although many stay away from the ruins of the reservoirs due to the mercury in the water and the soil.
The Aston Family is a mix of cultures, but their ancestry is primarily arctic wolf, with smatterings of tundra wolf from earlier ancestors. The arctic wolves originally descended from Victoria Island, Nunavut, Canada. The tundra wolves came from a mixed group in Russia that had ties to German wolves. These tundra wolves lived in a zoo in Montreal before they met up with the Aston arctic wolves. Some German culture remains in the Aston family, notably with names, but otherwise, it had mostly disappeared.
The arctic wolves moved south in 1999, settling in the area surrounding Lac Sakami in Québec. During the move, they met some of the tundra wolves, and moved to Lac Sakami together. When they arrived in the Lac Sakami region, it was completely devastated by the flooding of the lower lands by Hydro-Quebec. The mercury levels were too high to safely live there, and so, they continued east past Lac Sakami. They settled in Wapanoutauw, known traditionally as the lands east of James Bay. Slowly, the land began to recover and as the dams continued to break and erode, some wolves ventured farther west. These wolves inevitably ended up very sick, and so the lands were shrouded in secrecy and children were warned to never venture too close for fear that they would contract mercury poisoning and die.
After moving to Québec, most of the family assimilated with the culture, learned the language and took on French names. Some of their family remained in the more northern town of Salluit, Québec, which is almost entirely comprised of Nunavummiut wolves. However, the majority of the Victoria Islands wolves moved to Wapanoutauw.
In 2000, Torben Liebe and Amarante Reed were mates, but it was a poor pairing and after Amarante's puppies had grown up, Torben left her. Torben took a new mate, Céleste Aston-L'leh two years later and Amarante's fury grew all the more potent. She sought to destroy Torben's life with his new mate and she knew of Torben's love for his children. Céleste's second litter was her breaking point and with the assistance of her daughter Liesl, Amarante colluded to destroy their family. Amarante had two children: Liesl and Daedalus, but only Liesl was sympathetic to her cause. Daedalus, instead, befriended Tayui and her siblings while Liesl's jealousy grew. She chased her mother out of the territory after an argument. She executed a part of the plan: she killed Karina, Torben and Céleste's daughter from their second litter. Daedalus convinced her to do no more harm, but she couldn't handle the guilt and committed suicide. After her death, it looked as though Daedalus had murdered Karina. Tayui, suspecting betrayal, fled the pack.
In the chaos that followed, the deception was revealed. Liesl was revealed as the murderess and when Amarante tried to return to the pack, she was banished from returning.
The most prominent wolf subspecies include the Arctic Wolf (C. l. arctos) and the Great Plains Wolf (C. l. nubilis). Traditionally, the Arctic luperci were Inuktitut-speaking and there was a divide between the Arctic Wolves and the Great Plains Wolves, as each had their own language and culture. However, the two groups later assimilated and merged into one.
Very basic Cree technology is used for hunting and ceremonies. The area is quite remote, so there were few human resources to use even in the beginning. Inhabiting a human house is frowned upon and luperci are encouraged to live in traditional dens.
The luperci believe in an interesting mixture of Quebec and Cree myths. Sometimes, this overlap influences the myths and changes them slightly. Some examples include:
- Wesakechak — a benevolent culture hero, called the 'transformer' and the 'trickster.' Unlike other similar Native lore, the Cree see Wesakechak as a positive force.
- Kisemanito — the great spirit and the Creator. Mythology of Kisemanito has merged with Catholic constructs of God to create an omnipotent, non-human and divine force. He has no body, no physical being, no gender, and no physical attributes.
- Witiko — an evil man-eating spirit like the Windigo of the Anishinabe tribes. Witikos play the roles of monsters and bogeymen in some legends; in others, Cree people who commit sins (especially selfishness, gluttony, or cannibalism) are turned into a Witiko as punishment.
- Memekwesiw — small river-dwelling water spirits (or "little people.") They are mischievous and often play tricks but are not usually dangerous, although they sometimes capsize canoes if they are not treated with proper respect.
- Misikinebik — an underwater horned serpent, common to the legends of most Algonquian tribes. Its name literally means Great Serpent, and it is said to lurk in lakes and eat humans.
Feasts are among the most important and sacred moments in the Cree tradition. Feasts symbolize the relationship between the luperci and the animals and the importance of sharing, especially food. By carrying the feast out properly, they pay their respects to the animals, who give themselves for the benefit of the luperci.
First, a prayer of thanks is offered. Then, the host throws a small portion of the different feast foods into the fire. All food is sacred, and so no food is to be wasted or spoiled in any form. Food is taken back to the den to be eaten later. To ensure that this food does not spoil, it is wrapped in woven, greased leaves and stored properly.
The Walking Out Ceremony
This ceremony welcomes young puppies into the society. This occurs when puppies are 2 to 3 weeks old. It is traditionally conducted from a ceremonial den facing east toward the rising sun, a symbol of optimism and hope for the future. The puppies are given tools used by Cree hunters: knives and scraping tools. Although humans traditionally gave knives for the boys and scraping tools for the girls, this practice has been forgotten as all genders of luperci hunt together. The puppies are brought to the ceremonial den where elders wait. The elders then send the puppies, with a parent or close relative, from the tent. The puppies bring with them a hunted and decorated animal -- usually a beaver, goose, or small game. They circle around a small, decorated tree. They then brandish their knife or scraping tool -- depending on which they select -- to the sky. They then return to the cave and return the game.
The Great Plains wolves from Southern Quebec spoke French and brought this tradition with them. When the Arctic Wolves from Nunavut arrived in Lac Sakami, French and Cree were the two most popular languages. The Arctic Wolves hailing from Nunavut originally spoke Inuktitut, but have since forgotten it.
Quebec French is one of the most popular languages in the Lac Sakami region, though many are bilingual and speak French and Cree. Cree was and is spoken by the wolves traditionally from the Baie-James and Lac Sakami area.
All characters in the Aston family speak Quebec French as their first language, and most are either minimally fluent or conversationally fluent in English. English is spoken mostly with traders and therefore is not necessary for day-to-day use.
Characters speak with a "Northern" accent with long, stretched vowels in the middle of words. While a Quebecker would pronounce "père" as "pehr" quickly, with the Northern accent, the 'e' would be stretched out as "pè-~-~-re". For a good example of how this happens, check out this Youtube video comparing Quebec and Parisian accents. When the female Quebecker pronounces "vocabulaire" at 00:49, she stretches the "aire" and there's a slight inflection. It sounds less like "voh-cah-bu-lehr" and more like "voh-cah-bu-lay-ahr".
They also use a lot of slang and generally incorrect grammar, as might any native speaker. For example:
- Ça marche — It works
- Ça marche pas — It doesn't work
- J'suis pas — I am not (proper French: Je ne suis pas)
Particularly note that many of the vowels are lost and instead, they are more like a series of consonants spoken very quickly. In addition, when written, negation always has two parts:
- NE [verb] PAS — standard negation
- I do not like — Je n'aime pas
- NE [verb] RIEN — nothing.
- Je n'ai rien mangé — I did not eat anything
However, when spoken, the "ne" is dropped and the phrase becomes "J'aime pas" or "J'ai rien mangé".
They also use a lot of Quebec-specific slang that wouldn't make sense to Parisian-French speakers, such as:
Idioms are fun!
And they mash words together a lot:
They also use some joual phrases:
Check the Quebec French lexicon for a full list of words that are used in Quebec as well as comparisons between French and Quebecois usage.
Many of the older generations speak fluent Cree and some younger generations can speak it, but only minimally. It used primarily in rituals and for certain traditions. While all luperci understand the traditional words and phrases, not all can proficiently create entire sentences. Some can understand the basic words.
Since the 'original' wolves of the local area were the James Bay Cree wolves, their language is still preserved today. Most of the older generations speak one, or both, languages; while the younger generation prefer a mish-mash of both languages. It is common to hear sentences constructed with French grammar, but use Cree words instead of French words. For example, instead of saying, c'est ma mère, a child may instead use the Cree word for mother, nikaawii and say, c'est ma nikaawii.
While youth use French grammar and Cree words, the inverse is less popular and is usually only seen with very young puppies who are trying to learn the two languages.
As with the spoken language, it is common for the luperci to give children French names, Cree names, or a mix of both. Some children are given names of traditional mythical creatures to honour them.
Most of the Aston family was born in the Lac Sakami region, with the exception of the younger generations (second- and third-generations).
Children of Tayui Aston and Aurèle Aston were born in 'Souls; Allegro Aston was born somewhere in Nova Scotia; the children of Barthélémy Aston were born in New Brunswick. However, Barthélémy Aston later moved to Salluit, Québec, the second northernmost Inuit community in Québec.
- East of the La Grande River and the James Bay Project
- Eeyou Istchee ("The People's Land")
- Wapanoutauw ("Lands East of James Bay")