Thomas was born in 1937 near the south end of Sucker River, Saskatchewan. At age 13 Thomas was working his own trap line when his family decided to move to Brochet. Thomas began trapping in Brochet, then at 25 years of age relocated to Granville Lake. Hunting, fishing and trapping was the only way to make a living. Said Thomas, “There were difficult times but it was largely my fault because I didn’t prepare well enough.”

Les Baker was a teenager when he began working with Thomas. “Thomas and I fished and trapped together for 36 years. He is a hard worker and good teacher. He is skillful at preparing meat which is important to survive on the land.” Les had a fishing camp at Suwanee River and in 1992 gave Thomas a cabin in the vicinity.

Thomas explained why he never married, “Married guys are tied down. I could go anywhere I wanted, at anytime. That is what I enjoyed. In Suwanee my four dogs gave me company.” Thomas retired from fishing and trapping in 2007. Two years later he settled in Leaf Rapids.

Recalling his many years in the bush, “There was always something to do and it was very cold in those days but we had to go out and trap or hunt. If not, we wouldn’t have survived.”

Back to Portrait Gallery

Thomas Bird
Cree, Granville Lake
Image size: 11 x 13 inches
Edition size: 275