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Simple ways resumed

New home offers new luxuries

Dave Sullivan
Northern News Services

Fort Simpson (Aug 03/01) - George Salteaux and his sister Rosanna sort of appreciate their new house, but they miss the old one right next to it.

Both have lived simple lives in the bush all their lives. Their parents settled 100 kilometres downstream from Fort Simpson in the 1930s, building a small log cabin which still stands. In 1956, George and an older brother built a larger log house a few feet away.

Its hand-cut timbers look durable as ever, but after 45 years some began rotting and the roof started to go.

"When you get older you get tired," Salteaux says through a translator. So two years ago the government sent in a basic package home by barge.

He and Rosanna miss the old home, "because I made it. It feels good when I go in there," George says.

Still spartan by modern standards, the new house is heated with a wood stove like the old one, except it also has a modern propane stove. A generator lights up a single bare bulb hanging from a cord in the kitchen ceiling, and powers a small TV with a built-in VCR. No satellite TV for them, but friends provide George with videos of wildlife shows.

Rosanna still isn't used to the propane stove, and often returns to the old cabin to cook on the wood stove they used for so many years.