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When the Trees Crackle with Cold : A Cree Calendar was inspired by Bernice Johnson-Laxdal’s childhood memories of growing up in Ile-a-la-Crosse. The Predominantly Métis community is the second oldest settlement in Saskatchewan and is situated along one of Western Canada’s major fur trade routes. Its Cree name is Sakitawak, which means “where the rivers empty into the lake.”

From an early age, Bernice was also involved in her family’s traditional activities, such as gathering, growing and preparing food, hunting, trapping, and making clothing. Then-as today- most of those activities are dependant on the season of the year.

The Cree calendar consists of six seasons divided into twelve moons, which reflect the traditional knowledge of the natural cycle.