John was born in 1934 in the northeastern corner of Manitoba. John’s father, Elijah, supplied wood for many years to the H.B.C. at York Factory. After grade 3, John left home to attend a Residential School at Elkhorn for one year then went on to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan till Grade 11. During the summers John's father taught him how to hunt, fish and trap. By age 12, John was hunting alone for ducks and geese.

John began working as a laborer then apprenticed as heavy equipment operator on a drag line for 6 months. Forty years later John has worked from British Columbia to Ontario as an operator. It is a work history he is proud of. He now passes on his expertise as an instructor.

In 1986 John, his wife, Sara, and his family moved to Fox Lake. If not operating machinery, John is usually experiencing the wilderness. John’s shed holds many of his creations such as paddles and two pairs of snowshoes, one of tamarack and the other, birch. Outside is a smoke shack for sturgeon.

For over 20 years John has plied the Nelson River hunting and fishing. His reputation preceded our meeting in the fall of 2007 in Fox Lake. After spending a day with John on the mighty river, he is rightfully, ‘The master of the Nelson River.’


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John Beardy
Cree, Fox Lake First Nation
Image size: 11 x 13 inches
Edition size: 125