Traditional feast feeds over 500 at Listuguj powwow | CBC News

Francis Isaac says eating moose meat brings him back to his childhood.

When he was growing up in Listuguj First Nation, wild meat like moose, deer and sometimes bear was a central part of his diet.

“Bear is tough meat. You gotta cook it twice, ’cause it’s like a rubber puck,” Issac, 68, laughed, knocking on the wooden table where he sat.

Isaac is one of over 500 people who shared the free traditional meal prepared by his Mi’kmaq community in eastern Quebec near the border of New Brunswick on Aug. 5.

The feast was part of the Listuguj traditional powwow last weekend. Under the main tent, heaping plates of moose meat, salmon, fiddleheads, potatoes and warm buns were served by a dozen volunteers who jumped in to help when organizers announced they needed extra hands.

The food was blessed by Listuguj Elder Rosanne Martin before it was shared with the public, with elders served first.

Listuguj powwow organization committee member Pam Isaac prepares to serve plates of salmon, moose meat, fiddleheads and potatoes for the traditional meal. (Brianne Fequet/CBC)

Pam Isaac has been a part of the powwow’s co-ordination team for more than 25 years.

The event is a family affair. Her sister Lita is the powwow’s co-ordinator, and her sister Audrey is also a member of the team.

Pam Isaac says the dishes prepared for the traditional meal are cherished by her community because they are sourced from the land where the Mi’kmaq have lived for time immemorial.

“They marinated [the moose meat] in applesauce, apple juice and soya sauce. So when you taste it, my God, it is so good,” she said. “I just love it.”

Many of the ingredients used to cook the meal were hunted and gathered by Listuguj community members, like Pam Isaac’s cousin Jill Metallic-Condo and her husband Ricky Condo.

A woman and man sit on chairs. Earrings are displayed in front of them.
Jill Metallic-Condo and Ricky Condo help provide the meat and fish for the annual feast. (Kim Garritty/CBC)

The two have been donating meat and fish for the community meal for over a decade, providing a moose and up to 30 salmon every year.

Condo says that it is only natural to give back to the community. His father taught him early to share with those in need — or in this case, who don’t know how to hunt.

“We shoot moose here for regular people that don’t have the means. They don’t have a rifle, they don’t have a truck, they don’t know where the resources are to get it. So, we do that for them,” said Condo.

Metallic-Condo says it’s important to teach the importance of sharing with others, especially for their children.

Passing on traditions

Like most people, Pam Issac’s eyes lit up when she spoke about the desserts that would be served that evening.

Molasses and blueberry cakes were on the menu, both favourites in Listuguj.

They were prepared using recipes passed down through generations of Mi’kmaq women.

Isaac’s voice quivered as she spoke of the precious handwritten recipes that were left to her by her mother and aunts.

“My mom, she had a lot of recipes. She was a very important cook in the reserve, as an elder and as we were growing up,” Isaac said.

But one recipe that was passed down by her aunt has been particularly hard to replicate due to a copying mistake, as if the relative was trying to play a joke by leaving out an ingredient.

“I have to go tell people it’s mushrooms,” Isaac giggled. “You have to add the mushrooms!”

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