Cree hunter, Kansas 10-year-old connect thanks to message delivered by pink balloons

·3 min read
Reid Habbart released a bunch of balloons from his sister's birthday party with a note attached. David Bertie Longchap came across them while out hunting near Chibougamou, Que.  (submitted by Ann-Bella L. Mianscum,  submitted by Keith Habbart, submitted by Ann-Bella L. Mianscum - image credit)
Reid Habbart released a bunch of balloons from his sister's birthday party with a note attached. David Bertie Longchap came across them while out hunting near Chibougamou, Que. (submitted by Ann-Bella L. Mianscum, submitted by Keith Habbart, submitted by Ann-Bella L. Mianscum - image credit)

A Cree hunter in northern Quebec is planning to write back to a 10-year-old boy in Kansas, after finding a bunch of balloons that travelled close to 3,000 kilometres with a note attached.

David Bertie Longchap was out hunting geese on his family's traditional territory, located 20 kilometres south of the airport of Chibougamau, a small mining town in northern Quebec, over 700 kilometres north of Montreal.

"I found them on the water … about a kilometre 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 drove home to dry them out.

If you find these, please write me. -Reid Habbart, 10-year-old

The note attached to the bundle of pink and silver balloons took another day to dry out before Longchap could read the words: "Hi, my name is Reid. I'm 10-years-old and I live in Manhattan, Kansas …These are my sister's balloons. If you find these, please write me."

submitted by Ann-Bella L. Mianscum
submitted by Ann-Bella L. Mianscum

Longchap's sister posted the tale to Facebook with pictures, where it's captured the imagination of many in northern Quebec Cree communities.

"Awww, those balloons travelled so far. Make sure the little guy gets a letter and knows how far they travelled," wrote Juliette Neeposh on Facebook.

"That is so cool," wrote Amanda Miansum. "Tell him all of us Crees said 'Hi' back too!"

The request also included Reid's address and Longchap says he is very happy to write the boy a letter about the balloon's adventures, how far they traveled and where they ended up.

They also plan to include a beaded rainbow keychain, in honour of their mother, Emma Trapper Longchap, who was the first Quebec Cree person to die of COVID-19 in 2020.

"Someone asked to send something like a keychain, I thought about mom so that David can add this to his [letter]," said Hattie Longchap, David's younger sister in Facebook messenger.

submitted by Keith Habbart
submitted by Keith Habbart

Hattie tracked down Reid's family through Facebook.

"Well, he is not home from school yet but I'm sure he will be excited and amazed of the journey it took," wrote dad Keith Habbart in response.

He also said Reid wrote the note and released the balloons around noon CT on April 24.

"The wind was out of the north that day blowing hard. I figured they would end up in Texas. Not north," wrote Keith.

I figured they would end up in Texas. Not north. -Keith Habbart, Reid's dad

Longchap said he also plans to tell Reid a little 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 happy to have found his sister's balloons," said Longchap. He said quite a few of the balloons still have air in them.

Longchap says he's also curious whether the balloons are from his sister's birthday party and plans to ask.

"I'm going to ask him to write me back."

submitted by Hattie Longchap
submitted by Hattie Longchap
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