Sakami Outlet, from Municipalité de Baie-James
|Name Meaning||Lake Sakami|
|Primary languages||Cree and French|
|Luperci Date of Founding||~1989|
|Age||> 21 years|
|Primary Species||Arctic Wolf |
Great Plains Wolf
The Lac Sakami pack that 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, Cree, and Inuit cultures that have blended together to form a new, multifacted pack. It is usually referred to as Wapanoutauw for the large northern region of Cree-speaking Quebec, whereas the pack referenced on this page is generally referred to as the Lac Sakami 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 travelling trader group or their own creation.
On this page... (hide)
- 1. Description
- 2. History
- 3. Culture
- 4. Language
- 5. Significance
- 6. Further Information
- 7. Status
- 8. References
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, Adélaide 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. Adélaide'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. Liesl chased her mother out of the territory after an argument. She executed a part of the plan: she killed Karina, Torben and Adélaide's daughter from their second litter. She had planned to attack and kill Éloise, too, but that piece of the plan never came to fruition. Daedalus tried to persuade Liesl not to hurt anyone else, but ultimately, it was her own conscience that was her undoing: she couldn't handle the guilt and committed suicide. After her death, it looked as though Daedalus had murdered Karina. Tayui, suspecting betrayal from Daedalus, fled the pack.
In the chaos that followed, the deception was revealed. Daedalus returned from chasing after Tayui, but he refused to speak of his confrontation with his sister. He regretted chasing after her and was bitter that she refused to hear his side of the story. Worse, he felt ashamed for attacking her and injuring her when he had been trying to help.
Daedalus' initial silence caused a flurry of questioning, as Liesl's suicide note seemed to paint Daedalus as the villain. However, careful investigation into the matter revealed that Liesl's quickly-fading scent was still apparent on Karina's body and Daedalus' explanation of events convinced the pack of his innocence.
Liesl was revealed as the murderess and when Amarante tried to return to the pack, she was banished from returning.
In the years that followed Tayui's departure, peace returned--slowly, but surely.
Daedalus lived with his guilt for many years and eventually decided to venture out beyond the pack lands. There, he discovered that word of the turmoils of the Aston family had reached other packs. Hesitant to communicate with the Aston family, these packs avoided the pack for years. Even before news of the incident left the packlands, the land on which the family settled, once an electric dam, was believed to be cursed and ill-fitting for life. As a consequence, nearby packs traded secrets of a "cursed" and "mutated" pack of wolves who spoke neither English nor French and were neither alive nor dead.
Eventually returning to the pack to bring news of these terrible rumours, the Aston family realized that they would have to extend their diplomatic connections if they wished not to be cut off from the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this too was spurred by the departure of Éloise and Barthélémy. Éloise had departed when she discovered that Liesl was out to hurt Karina and herself and Barthélémy took after her, hoping to find his most sympathetic sister.
Hoping to strengthen their communications with neighbouring packs, the Aston family sought to train their children to become traders and ambassadors. Viola bore two sons and a daughter, who were hoped to take on these roles. However, Yehudi and Brahms were seized with wanderlust and sought adventure outside the pack's borders. Antoinette, too, found her trading took her far from her home. While on a trading trip, she found herself pregnant with children of her own. Too far to return to Wapanoutauw, she chose to raise her children in Nova Scotia instead.
Luckily for the Aston family, Antoinette encouraged her children to follow their instincts and this led her two sons back to their birthpack.
Unfortunately for the Aston family, many of the members departed from the pack: Aurèle left in 2007 and Honoré followed suite in 2009. Thus, when Francesch del Fraysse arrived in 2011, the pack leaders immediately launched a campaign to convince him to succeed then-Trader, Angélique Vallières. Adélaide and Torben were pleased to see their Great-Grandson taking on such an important role. However, their joyful mood soured when Francesch hesitated to take over from Angélique when she stepped down from her role. At first, they thought he had found his place in the pack, but Francesch suddenly vanished from the pack, leaving them without a trader once again.
Angélique quickly promised to train her own children in the role, but during the interim, they sought to find another individual to represent the pack.
Aurèle surprised the pack when she returned to Lac Sakami with an injury and the intent to live out her golden years among family. She took up the mantle of Culture-Keeper, while her loyal son Anatole settled in as a skilled hunter. Native-born Lutaaq became Anatole's mate, and in August 2012 gave birth to their children: Siginik, Tuktu, and Timmiak. Another AniWayan Aston found their way to the pack in June 2013, when Tayui's daughter Ocèane arrived in Lac Sakami. Francine Taylor found her with her two young daughters, Amorette and Olivia and took them in to the pack to raise them. Francine swore to Ocèane to keep her secret until the girls were old enough, and thus Ocèane departed again to satisfy her wanderlust.
Within the pack, there are two dominant sub-species and two less-dominant sub-species:
- The arctic wolves (C. l. arctos) were Inuktitut-speaking, originally hailing from Victoria Island. When they joined with the other local wolves, they lost their language, but many of the wolves continued to mate with one another, resulting in a line of wolves with mostly-Arctic Wolf blood.
- The great plains wolves (C. l. nubilis) were the original inhabitants of the lands east of James Bay. They speak Cree and allowed the Inuit wolves to join their pack.
- The common gray wolves (C. l. lupus) and the tundra wolves (C. l. albus) hailed from a zoo in Montreal. The gray wolves were brought to Canada from Germany before the virus, and as a result, spoke German. The gray wolves and tundra wolves set out to find a new home during the chaos of the virus and eventually made their way north. Unfortunately, many of the gray wolves perished, while the tundra wolves joined up with the Cree plains wolves. Some of the tundra wolves learned German, but by the early 2000's, it was mostly lost.
All wolves are luperci. Although the Arctic wolves originally hailing from Nunavut were not luperci, they were quick to contract the virus from their packmates and are now all luperci by birth.
The pack is named after the eponymous lake lying directly west to the central hub of activity. For the most part, the pack lays claim to forested and swampy lands, a consequence of the James Bay Project, a series of hydroelectric dams undertaken by the Quebec government during the 1980s. Although the government had plans to expand the project and continue building dams and reservoirs, the demise of humanity prevented the expansion. Although the dams were mostly self-sufficient, beginning in the early 2000's, the dams suffered small structural damages and since then, have begun to disintegrate. As a result, members of the pack are warned to stay far away from the dams, as it is unknown when or if they will burst.
The Lac Sakami pack lays claim to the regions south of the Réservoir Bourassa, east of the Route de la Baie-James, and as far south as Nemaska. The claimed regions also extend farther east beyond the confines of the James Bay Project.
The primary humanized settlement is located in Wemindji. Although most of the wolves prefer a more feral lifestyle, much of the humanized business is located in Wemindji.
The region’s climate is subarctic. Winters are long and last, on average, from October 22 to May 4.1 Summers are short and mild, with temperatures averaging 13.6 °C (56.5 °F) in July, while dropping to −22.9 °C (−9.2 °F) in January. Annual precipitation average 765 mm (30.1 in), a third in snow. Highest monthly rainfalls are registered in the summer and snow depth varies from 50 to 100 cm (20-40 in) in the winter. Precipitations are significantly lower than the annual average of 1,050 mm (41 in) recorded in Montreal.2
Active Reservoirs and Hydroelectric dams
With the demise of humans in 1988, some of the dams were not completed.
|Completed projects||Incomplete projects|
As a result of the hydroelectric dam projects, the health of wolves living in Lac Sakami is compromised. The flooding of the forests during La Grande-1 project caused Methryl-mercury contamination.3 Many of the wolves and the fish on which they prey have higher than average levels of mercury. Some wolves may suffer from mercury poisoning, which can include damage to the brain, kidneys and lungs.
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.
Ranks in the pack are quite simple: the leaders are the Alphas, who are assisted by their pair of Betas. However, beyond these four wolves, the rest of the pack are ranked in terms of age and longevity. Most refer to themselves by the tasks they perform. For example, former Trader Angélique Vallières would likely simply refer to herself as a Mother now that she no longer performs her role as a Trader, but would have used her title as her rank when she was still a Trader.
Lac Sakami Ranks
|Alpha:||George Asquabaneskum||Zoë Bouchard||32 members|
|Beta:||Mähsette de la Jamésie||18 female, 14 male|
|Culture-Keepers: (Historians and Advisors)||31 adult, 3 puppies|
|Inusiq (Inuit culture)||Maria Asquabaneskum (Cree culture, Advisor)||Angélique Vallières (Mother, Former Trader, Quebec culture)||
|-- (Quebec culture)||-- (German culture)||--||Mateship|
|Skilled Ranks: (Members)||Secondary role or skill|
|Ocèane Aston (Dancer, fire-keeper)||Maël Simmoneau (Healer)||Lutaaq (Aspiring Culture-Keeper)||The above key is used to track relations within the tribe. Further notes regarding the packs relations, gossip, etc can go here!|
|Raymond Bouchard (Crafter)||Clément Barbotin (Healer)||Inès Bouchard (Hunter)|
|Andante Duceppe (Warrior)||Coda Gagnon (Warrior)||Tobias Gagnon (Scout)|
|Mikak (Story Teller, Singer)||Paul (Healer)||Francine Taylor (Scout)|
|Cyprien Gagnon (Pup-Sitter)||Léa Simmoneau (Tracker)||Humbert Weapinicappo (Hunter)|
|Orianne Taylor (Aspiring Culture-Keeper)||Judikael Weapinicappo (Pup-Sitter and Herbalist)||Hyacinthe Taylor (Hunter)|
|Amoux Aston (Explorer)||Béatrice Vallières (Scout)||Raphaël Vallières (Fisher)|
|Unskilled Ranks: (Young/New Members)|
|Tuktu Aston (Undecided)||Timmiak Aston (Undecided)||Sarissa Kusugak (Undecided)|
|Hasta Tukkiapik (Undecided)||--||--|
|Out of Pack Ranks: (Ambassadors, Long-Term Traders, Emissaries)|
|Mathieu Barbotin (Ambassador to Whapmagoostui)||--||--|
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.
1 Société d'énergie de la Baie James (1987), Complexe hydroélectrique de la Grande-Rivière. Réalisation de la première phase (in French), Montreal: Société d'énergie de la Baie James/Éditions de la Chenelière, ISBN 2-89310-010-4. p 21. ⇑
2 Société d'énergie de la Baie James 1987, p. 4. ⇑
3 "Sustainable Development in the Hudson Bay / James Bay Bioregion," CARC - Northern Perspectives 19.3 (1991): n. pag. Web. 14 Feb. 2015. ⇑