Many people helped raise children including older siblings, uncles, aunts and elders. Although both boys and girls learned the skills necessary for survival, as they got older they received more specific training to prepare them for their adult roles. Boys played games with balls, toy bows and arrows and throwing sticks, geared to learning adult skills. At fish camp, girls practiced cutting fish using small suckers.
Like all children, they had an insatiable appetite for stories. Elders told them of how the world came to be in stories of Crow and Tsà’ Wëzhè the Traveller, cautionary tales about Bushmen, and many tales of the time when animals could speak and shape the landscape and affect the lives of humans. Children were encouraged to learn and eventually retell these stories themselves, all the while learning how to behave like a good person.
(Link: To learn about puberty rituals and rites of passage to celebrate key events in our children’s’ lives, see the website section: Milestones.)
Magdalene (Wood) Roberts with her son Archie and his infant sister Sarah at Moosehide in 1932.
Yukon Archives, Martha and Brian Kates coll., #5788
Children help place the foundations beams for their new Tr’inke Zho daycare centre, 17 October 2006.