Memmere’s Rubaboo

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Title: Memmere’s Rubaboo
Creator: Andrea Menard
Subject: Michif, Songs, Andrea Menard
Description: Memmere’s Rubaboo is a storytelling ballad, told mostly in English. It follows a strong, fictional, Michif Matriarch from the early 1900’s who deals with the law in her own way. It’s poignant and funny and educational, with a Michif chorus for practise. There are always great teachings available when we pay attention to how our Matriarchs handle conflict.

Memmere's Rubaboo Introduction:

Memmere’s Rubaboo (key of E)
by Andrea Menard & Robert Walsh, translated by Marjorie Beaucage

My Memmere’s in trouble with the law,
Cuz she killed another Canada goose
With skillful hands she wrung it by the neck,
Now I’m a wreck! Better check!
Cuz the mounties are coming, Coming with a noose
All because Memmere killed a Canada goose

The last few winters have been hard on us all
And the Métis folk are looking too thin
Although Memmere’s the best cook around
She needs game to feed her kin
Memmere dreams of the times of the buffalo hunt
When she’d cook and feast for days
But the buffalo are a distant memory…
And she fears for traditional ways.

“Those Canadians have, come and taken all the land
And we’re not allowed to hunt as we were taught.”
She said, “There’s rules for this and mounties for that
So if you hunt you better not get caught!”
One day, Memmere looked hard at us all
And she marched right out the door
She didn’t come back till the sun went down…
And threw a goose right on the floor


She plucked and butchered and simmered that goose
Added herbs and roots she found
The sweet aroma of her tasty stew
Lured the people from miles around
Came friends and neighbours and cousins and kids
Came beggars and drunks as well
Cuz when Memmere makes her famous rubaboo
The whole settlement knows its smell

My Memmere is a Michif Matriarch
Known to laugh and sing and play
But when you cross a line with her
Even brave men run away
She knows what to do with the drunks and the beggars
But the one thing she can’t stand
Is a Canadian thief who takes everything he sees
And hoards the gifts of the land

Chorus in Michif
Ma Memmere a aen chi problême
Elle a attrapi aen zwé canayen
Pis la police s’envien l’attrapii
Tapwe? C’est vrai!
La police s’envien, s’envien la cherchii
Jus parse quelle a tué aen maudjee zwé

When the mounties came, they had their weapons drawn
Memmere was so mad she could burst
“If you think you’re dragging me out of here,
“Think again, you’ll have to shoot me first!”
The mounties hummed and the mounties hawed
And they didn’t know what to do
“While you boys are making up your mind.
Sit down and taste my rubaboo!”

Those redcoats tried very hard to resist
Their resolve was growing thin
They couldn’t help themselves, such heavenly smells
Before long, they were digging right in.
With bellies full, their choice was made
And they threw their orders away
That’s the power of the stew, Memmere’s rubaboo…
It saved a few lives that day

My Memmere was in trouble with the law,
Cuz she killed another Canada goose
With skillful hands she wrung it by the neck,
Now I’m a wreck! What the heck!
Cuz the mounties are coming, With any old excuse
All because Memmere killed a Canada goose
And we hope that she bags a moose.
Publisher: Gabriel Dumont Institute
Date: 2022
Type: Audio
Format: .mp3
Language: Michif
Date of Copyright: November 9, 2022
GDI Media Filename: 08_Memmere_s_Rubaboo.mp3

Related Categories

Category Anskoonamakew lii Shansoon—Andrea Menard