Absalom was born April 10, 1923 in Grand Rapids to Neil Cook and Kate Turner. Absalom recalled, “My mother died when I was 5, so I was raised by my maternal grandparents.” At age 11, Absalom followed his grandfather, Cornelius, on the trap line. At season’s end the fox, lynx, mink and coyote furs were traded locally at Campbell’s Store.

Absalom’s education was limited. “I started school at age 7 but quit after grade 5. I can remember working hard in my teenage years. Uncle Walter taught me how to fish. We’d leave by dog team before the sun came up and arrive home really late at night, usually half frozen because there was no shelter out on the lake.”

Absalom spent the latter half of his teenage years working in parts of Manitoba. Trapping on Cedar Lake proved lucrative. Some seasons produced over 500 skins. Absalom married Eva Beardy in 1945. In their 51 years of marriage, the couple raised 16 children plus one they adopted.

The community of Grand Rapids changed dramatically in the 1960’s. The rivers and lakes were transformed in order to raise the water upstream 3.5 meters for the dam. Absalom’s traditional way of life, hunting and trapping, would never be the same. Absalom fished the Rapids for 35 years before the dam’s construction. He never forgot the day in 1965, when the legendary waters were silenced forever. Absalom Cook passed away in April, 2006.


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Absalom Cook
Cree, Grand Rapids
Image size: 11 x 13 inches
Edition size: 275 Lithographs