Cree Hunter, Kansas, 10, connected through message delivered by pink balloons
A Cree hunter from northern Quebec plans to meet a 10-year-old boy in Kansas, after finding a bunch of balloons that has traveled nearly 3,000 kilometers with a note attached.
David Bertie Longchap was goose hunting on his family’s traditional territory, located 20 kilometers south of the airport in Chibougamau, a small mining town in northern Quebec, more than 700 kilometers north of Montreal.
“I found them on the water…about a kilometer from my camp,” said the 51-year-old. “I thought ‘Oh what is this?'”
Longchap tied the balloons to the back of his truck when he returned home to dry them.
If you find them, write to me.-Reid Habbart, 10 years old
The note attached to the bundle of pink and silver balloons took another day to dry before Longchap could read the words: “Hi, my name is Reid. I’m 10 years old and I live in Manhattan, Kansas… This are my sister’s balloons. If you find them, write to me.
Longchap’s sister posted the story on Facebook along with photos, where it captured the imagination of many Cree communities in northern Quebec.
“Awww these balloons have traveled so far. Make sure the little guy gets a letter and knows how far he’s travelled,” Juliette Neeposh wrote on Facebook.
“This is so cool,” wrote Amanda Miansum. “Tell him that all of us Crees also said ‘Hi’!”
The request also included Reid’s address and Longchap says he is very happy to write the boy a letter about the balloon adventures, how far they traveled and where they ended up.
They also plan to include a beaded rainbow keychain, honoring their mother, Emma Trapper Longchap, who was the first Cree person from Quebec to die of COVID-19 in 2020.
“Someone asked to send something like a keychain, I thought of mom so David could add it to his [letter]“, said Hattie Longchap, the younger sister of David in Facebook Messenger.
Hattie tracked down Reid’s family through Facebook.
“Well he hasn’t come home from school yet but I’m sure he will be thrilled and amazed at the journey it took,” dad Keith Habbart wrote in response.
He also said Reid wrote the note and dropped the balloons around noon CT on April 24.
“The wind was blowing strong from the north that day. I thought they would end up in Texas. Not north,” Keith wrote.
I thought they would end up in Texas. Not north.-Keith Habbart, Reid’s father
Longchap said he also plans to talk to Reid a bit about Eeyou Istchee, which is the traditional name for the Cree territory in northern Quebec. He also plans to include a photo.
“I’m a hunter…not a writer…but I’m glad I found his sister’s balloons,” Longchap said. He said that many balloons still contained air.
Longchap says he’s also curious if the balloons are from his sister’s birthday party and plans to ask.
“I’ll ask him to answer me.”