Ânskohk Aboriginal Literature Festival 2017: Saskatoon

For further information go to sawci.ca, or look up anskohk on FaceBook. 

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A Syllabic Text from Remy Wes

Remy Wes sent this image of a page of printed syllabics into the FaceBook Group nêhiyawêwin (Cree) Word of the Day, asking for a translation. It turned into a big team effort, with help from lots of directions. Ultimately, it was Solomon Ratt who completed transliteration into roman spelling, and provided a translation. The new transcription and translation appear below. 

It’s important to note in looking at this text that it is written in “plain” (not “pointed”) syllabics. Plain syllabics works well for fluent speaker/readers as a kind of shorthand. They don’t need the aspiration or length marks to understand what is meant. But the rest of us sure do! Thanks to Sol for filling in the gaps for those of us who are learning. The amount of work that goes into this is not trivial. And now we need Remy to find Page 9!

Looking for a syllabic chart to help work through this puzzle on your own? Look no farther than yesterday’s CLN Post: Syllabics and SRO: Two sides of the same coin.

kihcihtwâ-mitêᑭᐦᒋᐦᑤ ᒥᑌ Warrior Heart
âcimo-masinahikan ᐋᒋᒧ ᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑲᐣ Newsletter
masinahikanaᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑲᓇ books
pwak-cipwêyan âpêhtawᑅᐠ ᒋᐻᔭᐣ ᐋᐯᐦᑕᐤ ????mid-week>>>
piwâcakinasîs 24 ê-akimiht 1972ᐱᐚᒐᑭᓇᓰᐢ 24 ᐁᐊᑭᒥᐦᐟ 197224 December, 1972
asa asa niciwâ piyisk âtawiya nitakosinin wîsahkâcâhkk ê-kî- papâmi-wîcêwak kinwêsk. apisis âcimowin kika-miyitin. mêkwâc ôta kâ-ayâyâhk namôya awiyak kêhcinâc ahkosiw..ᐊᓴ ᐊᓴ ᓂᒋᐚ ᐱᔨᐢᐠ ᐋᑕᐏᔭ ᓂᑕᑯᓯᓂᐣ ᐑᓴᐦᑳᒑᕽᐠ ᐁ ᑮ  ᐸᐹᒥ ᐑᒉᐘᐠ ᑭᓊᐢᐠ᙮ ᐊᐱᓯᐢ ᐋᒋᒧᐏᐣ ᑭᑲ ᒥᔨᑎᐣ᙮ ᒣᒁᐨ ᐆᑕ ᑳ ᐊᔮᔮᕽ ᓇᒨᔭ ᐊᐏᔭᐠ ᑫᐦᒋᓈᐨ ᐊᐦᑯᓯᐤasa, asa, my cousin, at last I eventually arrive. I went about with Wîsahkêcâhk for a long time. I will give you a little bit of the story. While we are here, no one is sick.
kahkiyaw sôskwâc nimiywâyânân mîna mistai nimiyo-takwâkinisinân ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᓲᐢᒁᐨ ᓂᒥᔼᔮᓈᐣ ᒦᓇ ᒥᐢᑕᐃ ᓂᒥᔪ ᑕᒁᑭᓂᓯᓈᐣ ᓇᒨᔭ ᐏᐦᑳᐨ ᐅᐦᒋ ᑭᓯᓈᐤ ᒦᓇ ᓇᒨᔭ ᐅᐦᒋ ᑰᓂᐘᐣ All of us, for sure, are well. We had a wonderful autumn.
namôya wihkâc ohci kisinâw mîna namôya ohci kôniwan namôya ayiwâk nêwo misisicân ohci kôniwan. ᓇᒨᔭ ᐊᔨᐚᐠ ᓀᐓ ᒥᓯᓯᒑᐣ ᐅᐦᒋ ᑰᓂᐘᐣ᙮ It was never cold and there was no snow, not even four 'feet' of snow.
êkwêyâc êkwa mistahi mah-mispon mîna kah-kisinâw. miywâsin ôta nôcihcikêwin ᐁᑵᔮᐨ ᐁᑿ ᒥᐢᑕᐦᐃ ᒪᐦ ᒥᐢᐳᐣ ᒦᓇ ᑲᐦ ᑭᓯᓈᐤ᙮ ᒥᔼᓯᐣ ᐆᑕ ᓅᒋᐦᒋᑫᐏᐣIt is finally now that we have lots of snow and it is cold. There is good trapping here as it is never (too) cold.
êkâ wihkâc ê-kisinâk. mâka namôya tâpwê ayâw ahtay âta mistahi miywakisow ahtay itwâniwiw .. nîsta nikî-nitawi-nôcihcikêsin.. 32 kîsikâw nikî-ayân. mitoni ê-pêyakoyân ê-mostohtêyân ê-nôcihcikêsiyân. namôya kahkiyaw nikî-kanakwân nimêskanâm mâka kêyâpic nipimâtisin. 151 wacaskwak ninipahâwak, 3 mêstacâkanak, 2 pisiwak, 1 amisk, 1 ocêk, 1 sâkwêsiw, 10 sihkosak.ᐁᑳ ᐏᐦᑳᐨ ᐁ ᑭᓯᓈᐠ᙮ ᒫᑲ ᓇᒨᔭ ᑖᐻ ᐊᔮᐤ ᐊᐦᑕᕀ ᐋᑕ ᒥᐢᑕᐦᐃ ᒥᔺᑭᓱᐤ ᐊᐦᑕᕀ ᐃᑤᓂᐏᐤ᙮ ᓃᐢᑕ ᓂᑮ ᓂᑕᐏ ᓅᒋᐦᒋᑫᓯᐣ᙮᙮ 32 ᑮᓯᑳᐤ ᓂᑮ ᐊᔮᐣ᙮ ᒥᑐᓂ ᐁ ᐯᔭᑯᔮᐣ ᐁ ᒧᐢᑐᐦᑌᔮᐣ ᐁ ᓅᒋᐦᒋᑫᓯᔮᐣ᙮ ᓇᒨᔭ ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᓂᑮ ᑲᓇᒁᐣ ᓂᒣᐢᑲᓈᒼ ᒫᑲ ᑫᔮᐱᐨ ᓂᐱᒫᑎᓯᐣ᙮ 151 ᐘᒐᐢᑿᐠ ᓂᓂᐸᐦᐋᐘᐠ, 3 ᒣᐢᑕᒑᑲᓇᐠ, 2 ᐱᓯᐘᐠ, 1 ᐊᒥᐢᐠ, 1 ᐅᒉᐠ, 1 ᓵᑵᓯᐤ, 10 ᓯᐦᑯᓴᐠ᙮But there isn't much fur although there it is told that there is a good price for fur. I too, went trapping, travelling by food, on my own. I was unable to take up all the traps from my trail but I am still alive. I killed 151 muskrats, 3 coyotes, 2 lynx, 1 beaver, 1 fisher, 1 mink, and 10 ermine. 
2. mêkwâc ôma kâ-masinahiwêyân nipêhtên pêyak nâpêw âkâ ê-pimâtisit ôta ohci kisêyiniw 86 pakahkam kî-itahtopiponêw pwa?k smik ahkosiwikamikohk ê-ayât êkâ kâ-pimâtisit. wiseowata kî-isiyihkâsow. nîso piko otawâsimisa..2᙮ ᒣᒁᐨ ᐆᒪ ᑳ ᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᐍᔮᐣ ᓂᐯᐦᑌᐣ ᐯᔭᐠ ᓈᐯᐤ ᐋᑳ ᐁ ᐱᒫᑎᓯᐟ ᐆᑕ ᐅᐦᒋ ᑭᓭᔨᓂᐤ 86 ᐸᑲᐦᑲᒼ ᑮ ᐃᑕᐦᑐᐱᐳᓀᐤ ᑅ?ᐠ ᐢᒥᐠ ᐊᐦᑯᓯᐏᑲᒥᑯᕽ ᐁ ᐊᔮᐟ ᐁᑳ ᑳ ᐱᒫᑎᓯᐟ᙮ ᐏᓭᐅᐘᑕ ᑮ ᐃᓯᔨᐦᑳᓱᐤ᙮ ᓃᓱ ᐱᑯ ᐅᑕᐚᓯᒥᓴ᙮As I am writing I hear that one man has passed away, an old man from here. I think he was 86 years old...///...he was in the hospital when he passed on. 'wisowata' was his name. He only had two children.
3. mîna pêyakwâw kitisâpahtênaw nîpê-ayamihâwin... mihcêt mîna ka- namâtonaw kihtwâm nîpê-ayamihâki. êkwa wîsahkêcâhk nika-âcimâw ê-kî-âcimostawit tânisi ê-kî-tôtahk mîna tânisi ê-kî-ispayik..3᙮ ᒦᓇ ᐯᔭᒁᐤ ᑭᑎᓵᐸᐦᑌᓇᐤ ᓃᐯ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᐋᐏᐣ᙮᙮᙮ ᒥᐦᒉᐟ ᒦᓇ ᑲ  ᓇᒫᑐᓇᐤ ᑭᐦᑤᒼ ᓃᐯ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᐋᑭ᙮ ᐁᑿ ᐑᓴᐦᑫᒑᕽ ᓂᑲ ᐋᒋᒫᐤ ᐁ ᑮ ᐋᒋᒧᐢᑕᐏᐟ ᑖᓂᓯ ᐁ ᑮ ᑑᑕᕽ ᒦᓇ ᑖᓂᓯ ᐁ ᑮ ᐃᐢᐸᔨᐠ᙮Once again we have come upon a wake...we will go to many wakes ourselves. Now I will tell you a story about wîsahkêcâhk, that which he told me, about what he did and how things came to be.
4. kêtahtawê âsa mâmitonêyihtam kihci-mohkomâninâhk êisi-nitawi- kakwê-atoskêt êkotê ayisk kâkî-ohci- ohpikit êsa kî-itwêw, êkwa sipwêhtêw ê-âpihtâwi-kîsikâyik aywêpiw, ê-pôni-mîcisot pihtwâw. mâmitonêyihtam êsa kita-kîskisamawât mist-asiniya êkota ê-apiyit “âhpô nika-nîsohkamâk ta-miyopayiyân ôma kâ-wî-nitawi-atoskêyâ,” itêyihtam. miyêw êsa cistêmâsa. 4᙮ ᑫᑕᐦᑕᐍ ᐋᓴ ᒫᒥᑐᓀᔨᐦᑕᒼ ᑭᐦᒋ ᒧᐦᑯᒫᓂᓈᕽ ᐁᐃᓯ ᓂᑕᐏ  ᑲᑵ ᐊᑐᐢᑫᐟ ᐁᑯᑌ ᐊᔨᐢᐠ ᑳᑮ ᐅᐦᒋ  ᐅᐦᐱᑭᐟ ᐁᓴ ᑮ ᐃᑘᐤ, ᐁᑿ ᓯᐻᐦᑌᐤ ᐁ ᐋᐱᐦᑖᐏ ᑮᓯᑳᔨᐠ ᐊᔰᐱᐤ, ᐁ ᐴᓂ ᒦᒋᓱᐟ ᐱᐦᑤᐤ᙮ ᒫᒥᑐᓀᔨᐦᑕᒼ ᐁᓴ ᑭᑕ ᑮᐢᑭᓴᒪᐚᐟ ᒥᐢᐟ ᐊᓯᓂᔭ ᐁᑯᑕ ᐁ ᐊᐱᔨᐟ “ᐋᐦᐴ ᓂᑲ ᓃᓱᐦᑲᒫᐠ ᑕ ᒥᔪᐸᔨᔮᐣ ᐆᒪ ᑳ ᐑ ᓂᑕᐏ ᐊᑐᐢᑫᔮ,” ᐃᑌᔨᐦᑕᒼ᙮ ᒥᔦᐤ ᐁᓴ ᒋᐢᑌᒫᓴ᙮All of a sudden he thought he would go work in the United States for that is where he came from, where he grew up." He had said that. So he left. At noon he rest and when he had finished eating he smoked. He thought he should cut some tobacco for the Bif Rock who was there. "Maybe he will help me to have good fortune where I am going to work," he thought. He gives him tobacco.
“nimosôm ta-pihtwâyan ta-nîsohkamawiyan ta-sôniyahkêyân,” itêw êsa. êkosi sipwêhtêw.“ᓂᒧᓲᒼ ᑕ ᐱᐦᑤᔭᐣ ᑕ ᓃᓱᐦᑲᒪᐏᔭᐣ ᑕ ᓲᓂᔭᐦᑫᔮᐣ,” ᐃᑌᐤ ᐁᓴ᙮ ᐁᑯᓯ ᓯᐻᐦᑌᐤ᙮

Grandfather, for you to smoke, so you can help me make money, he said to him. He leaves then.
ê-otâkosiniyik kapêsiw. mâka esa nihtâ-pihtwâw wîsahkêcâk. ᐁ ᐅᑖᑯᓯᓂᔨᐠ ᑲᐯᓯᐤ᙮ ᒫᑲ ᐁᓴ ᓂᐦᑖ ᐱᐦᑤᐤ ᐑᓴᐦᑫᒑᐠ᙮In the evening he makes camp. But apparently he is known to be a smoker, wîsahkêcâhk.
kapê-tipisk pah-pihtwâw. kâ-kîkisêpâk âsay namôya mistahi ayâwêw cistêmâsa. ᑲᐯ ᑎᐱᐢᐠ ᐸᐦ ᐱᐦᑤᐤ᙮ ᑳ ᑮᑭᓭᐹᐠ ᐋᓴᕀ ᓇᒨᔭ ᒥᐢᑕᐦᐃ ᐊᔮᐍᐤ ᒋᐢᑌᒫᓴ᙮He smokes all night. In the morning he has very little tobacco.
mâmitonêyihtam “tâpwê mistahi nimohcowin asiniy kâ-miyak ciscêmâsa,” itêyihtam. ᒫᒥᑐᓀᔨᐦᑕᒼ “ ᑖᐻ ᒥᐢᑕᐦᐃ ᓂᒧᐦᒍᐏᐣ ᐊᓯᓂᕀ ᑳ ᒥᔭᐠ ᒋᐢᒉᒫᓴ,” ᐃᑌᔨᐦᑕᒼ᙮He contemplates a bit. "I am very foolish to have given my tobacco to the rock," he thinks.
“nika-nâtâw cistêmâw.” kâwi kîwêw ê-nâtât cistêmâwa. otinêw mist-asiniya kâ-kî-pihtwâhât. “ᓂᑲ ᓈᑖᐤ ᒋᐢᑌᒫᐤ᙮” ᑳᐏ ᑮᐍᐤ ᐁ ᓈᑖᐟ ᒋᐢᑌᒫᐘ᙮ ᐅᑎᓀᐤ ᒥᐢᐟ ᐊᓯᓂᔭ ᑳ ᑮ ᐱᐦᑤᐦᐋᐟ᙮I will go get the tobacco. He goes back home to fetch the tobacco. He picks up the big rock to whom he had given the tobacco.
“nimosôm nipê-nâtâw ciscêmâs kâkî-miyitân. misawâc kika-kaskihtân kîkway takî-nîsohkamawiyan âhpô namôya kika-kaskihtân“ᓂᒧᓲᒼ ᓂᐯ ᓈᑖᐤ ᒋᐢᒉᒫᐢ ᑳᑮ ᒥᔨᑖᐣ᙮ ᒥᓴᐚᐨ ᑭᑲ ᑲᐢᑭᐦᑖᐣ ᑮᑿᕀ ᑕᑮ ᓃᓱᐦᑲᒪᐏᔭᐣ ᐋᐦᐴ ᓇᒨᔭ ᑭᑲ ᑲᐢᑭᐦᑖᐣGrandfather, I have come for the tobacco I had given you. In any case you can succeed in helping me, or mayhap you can't succeed in helping me.
takî-.......ᑕᑮ AND THAT'S ALL....the story is cut off at the last line.

 

 

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Man-made Rainbows: Solomon Ratt (th-dialect, audio)

Brocken Inaglory: Sprinkler Supernumerary Rainbow and Anticrepuscular rays (Wikipedia Commons)

nikotwâsik poko nikî-itahtopiponân nistam kâ-wâpahtamân ôtînaw. mistahi kîkway nikî-mâmaskâsâpahtîn.ᓂᑯᑤᓯᐠ ᐳᑯ ᓂᑮ ᐃᑕᐦᑐᐱᐳᓈᐣ ᓂᐢᑕᒼ ᑳᐚᐸᐦᑕᒫᐣ ᐆᑏᓇᐤ᙮ ᒥᐢᑕᐦᐃ ᑮᑿᕀ ᓂᑮᒫᒪᐢᑳᓵᐸᐦᑏᐣ᙮I was six years old when I first saw a town. I looked at many things with wonder.
“tâpwî mamâhtâwisowak môniyâwak!” nikî-itîthihtîn ispî î-kî-ati-pimitâpasoyâhk kiskinwahamâtowitâpânâskohk kiskinwahamâtowikamikohk isi. î-kî-kanawâpahtamân wâskahikana ikwa î-kî-koskwâpisiniyân pîsimoyâpiy mohcihk î-ohci-pathik owathawîtimiskwâtîmihk piyak môniyâw.“ᑖᐿ ᒪᒫᐦᑖᐏᓱᐘᐠ ᒨᓂᔮᐘᐠ” ᓂᑮᐃᑏᖨᐦᑏᐣ ᐃᐢᐲ ᐄᑮᐊᑎᐱᒥᑖᐸᓱᔮᕽ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑐᐏᑖᐹᓈᐢᑯᕽ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑐᐏᑲᒥᑯᕽ ᐃᓯ᙮ ᐄᑮᑲᓇᐚᐸᐦᑕᒫᐣ ᐚᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᓇ ᐃᑿ ᐄ ᑮ ᑯᐢᒁᐱᓯᓂᔮᐣ ᐲᓯᒧᔮᐱᕀ ᒧᐦᒋᕽ ᐄᐅᐦᒋ ᐸᖨᐠ ᐅᐘᖬᐑᑎᒥᐢᒁᑏᒥᕽ ᐱᔭᐠ ᒨᓂᔮᐤ᙮“These white people are truly gifted!” I thought when we were riding on a school bus to the school. I was watching the houses and I was surprised by a rainbow coming out of the ground just outside of one white person’s house.
“mâmaskâc ôko! î-kaskihtâcik ta-osihtamâsocik pîsimoyâpiy!”“ᒫᒪᐢᑳᐨ ᐆᑯ ᐄᑲᐢᑭᐦᑖᒋᐠ ᑕᐅᓯᐦᑕᒫᓱᒋᐠ ᐲᓯᒧᔮᐱᕀ”“Holy, these people! They are able to make rainbows for themselves!”
mitoni mwîstas kâ-kî-ati-kiskîthihtamân ôma nipiy-siswîwîpinikan îsa î-kî-âpacihtâcik.ᒥᑐᓂ ᒱᐢᑕᐢ ᑳᑮᐊᑎᑭᐢᑮᖨᐦᑕᒫᐣ ᐆᒪ ᓂᐱᕀ ᓯᓻᐑᐱᓂᑲᐣ ᐄᓴ ᐄᑮᐋᐸᒋᐦᑖᒋᐠ᙮Much later I came to realize that they were using water sprinklers.
Posted in Audio (th-dialect), Audio (y-dialect), Solomon Ratt | Tagged | Leave a comment

Cree Classes for Kids at Maskwacîs (October 2017)

Cree language and traditional games for kids at Maskwacîs!

For more information, call Jordan Littlepoplar at 780.585.3012

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Syllabics and SRO: Two sides of the same coin

I realize that nobody asked my opinion (!) but this is what a good, contemporary Plains Cree syllabic chart looks like to me, and to my colleagues at the Cree Literacy Network. This was designed by Arok Wolvengrey, and printed and distributed by First Nations University of Canada (until they ran out). Here are the most important points:

  • The columns follow the order that was used on the original Evans chart: ᐁ ᐃ ᐅ ᐊ
  • Extra columns are added to contrast the “long” and “short vowels: ᐁ ᐃ ᐄ ᐅ ᐆ ᐊ ᐋ (This is the order they should follow in a syllabic dictionary.)
  • These columns are labelled with the same vowels that are used in SRO
  • The rows show the order of consonants the way they are traditionally taught (not in English alphabetical order!)
  • This chart corresponds to the Syllabic Song that has been used for teaching for years. Here’s a link that includes the song performed by Wayne Jackson!
  • The finals are of the “reduced” type – a kind of shorthand shape for consonants that appear in isolation (without a vowel sound of their own). In this case, the “y-final” takes the shape of a plus sign. In some communities it is a dot.
  • Most important of all: Using this chart, you can convert from Syllabics from SRO – and back again! And increasingly, there are computer programs that can help with this work. But here’s a warning: Always remember the old computer programming adage: Garbage in, garbage out. Your conversion can only be as accurate as the material you begin with!

Things that might be even better:

  • If it were clearer (for beginners) that a dot on the right of any character means a w sound is inserted between the consonant and the following vowel.
  • It would also work for Woodlands Cree (th-dialect) if it had a row for ᖧ ᖨ ᖩ ᖪ ᖫ ᖬ ᖭ, the “th” syllabic characters.
  • Instead of using English words and English sounds across the top, we could use actual Cree words, the same way Arok Wolvengrey and Jean Okimâsis did on pages 7-8 of their book “How to Spell it in Cree.” Thanks to both of them, you can click through to download your own copy of the book here and learn more about spelling Cree in SRO.

For comparison, here is an older syllabic chart, photographed by Crystal Anderson, and shared by John James Spence in the FaceBook Group nêhiyawêwin (Cree) Word of the Day. This example, John James says, is from Norway House, where his grandfather was a minister. You’ll see that the *sounds* of the syllabics are really the same, even though different English letters are used at the tops of the columns. There is no “right” or “wrong” – we’re really talking about the same thing. 

Posted in Learn to Read - SRO, Syllabics | 3 Comments

Cree Classes in Edmonton (October 2017)

Via FaceBook from Les Skinner (aka Miskinâhk Askiy):

ᐦᐋ ᓂᐋᐧᐦᑰᒫᑲᓂᑎᐠ ᐊᓄᐦᐨ ᐆᒪ ᑳᐃᐧ ᐁᓀᐦᐃᔭᐁᐧᑭᐢᑭᓄᐦᐊᒫᑯᓯᕽ ᐯᓀᐦᐃᔭᐁᐧᐠ!

hâ n’wâhkômâkan’tik, anohc ôma kâwi ênêhiyawêkiskinohamâkosihk— pênêhiyawêk!

Cree class starting again today! Highlands Library (Edmonton) at 67 St and 118 Ave, come speak some Cree!

Class runs Monday evenings from 6-8pm, beginning 16 October 2017. There are rumours of moose meat and bannock (at least for this evening!)

Need further details? Look for Les on Facebook (Miskinâhk Askiy), email him at  skinner1@ualberta.ca or try (587) 785-9437.

The poster below is for Les’s Thursday night sessions at Edmonton’s Enterprise Square.

 

 

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What is SRO, and how can it help me learn Cree?

Best friends, now departed. Cecilia Masuskapo and Freda Ahenakew of Ahtahkakoop FN (photo by Arden Ogg)

Cree speakers as fluent as nôhkomipaninânak (our late grandmothers) in this photo are precious and rare in 2017. Many of them fought to retain their language in spite of Residential Schools that tried to beat it right out of them. While they were being taught to read and write English in school, exactly how and when did they have a chance to be instructed in reading and writing their own language?

So it’s understandable that some speakers would make it up as they go along instead, using what they know about English – and being justifiably suspicious of the interference of môniyaw education systems. Some of them argue that since Cree is traditionally an oral language, spelling really doesn’t matter at all. But, all over the world, reading and writing are skills that need to be taught. Reading is not a skill that comes naturally anywhere. And if you’re struggling to write things out using English phonetics, remember: somebody else is going to have to try to struggle just as hard (or even harder) to read what you’ve written.

The late Freda Ahenakew was set on her path by the late Ida McLeod, choosing to use SRO because it gives everybody an equal chance, and builds the opportunity to learn even more as a library of materials gets built using the same tools. Standard Roman Orthography (SRO) uses the letters of English alphabet (with a few modifications) to represent Cree language sounds. Each meaningful sound (or phoneme) gets its own character. Each letter represents the same sound every time. It is this consistency of the sound-to-symbol correspondence that makes SRO effective.

SRO is also the spelling system used for most print publications in Cree, and has the greatest number of published books. As of 2017, SRO is taught and used in Cree language programs in schools, colleges and universities across the Western Canada.

One of the main purposes of the Cree Literacy Network is to offer the tools for reading and writing Cree to those who already speak the language, or those who are struggling to learn. And the added bonus for fluent speakers who learn to read is that they can then access the Cree language stories and books that were intended all along for them to read and enjoy. An added bonus for the students, is that they can read whatever genuine speakers write.

In learning to read Cree, a review of the sound system is Step One. Here is a table of sound correspondences adapted from Ken Paupanekis’s Introduction to Cree Language 1, Text and Student Handbook (First Nations University, 2011). You can find the audio recordings from Ken’s lessons elsewhere on this site. And although Ken is demonstrating with n-dialect, the words he chooses for models are Cree words that are the same for all of the western dialects.

By giving examples of each sound *in Cree* Ken is stepping away from English-based phonetic spelling that may seem easier initially, but gives speakers very little in terms of long-term learning.

Click on the highlighted links to hear audio of Solomon Ratt’s “Chants” to teach pronunciation of consonants and vowels. And when you’re ready for your next lesson, you can download How to Spell it in Cree – shared here as a gift to by Arok Wolvengrey and Jean Okimāsis.

SRO Vowels: sounds as in English: sounds as in Cree:

a

about maskwa      ‘bear’

â

cat âstam           ‘come here’

i

sit mikot           ‘nose’

î

machine nîna              ‘I, me’ (n-dialect)

o

foot mispon        ‘it is snowing’

ô

food kôna             ‘snow’

ê

café pimohtê      ‘walk’
SRO Consonants:

p

pin or bin pêtâ               ‘bring it here’

hp

akohp            ‘blanket’

t

tin or din tânisi             ‘hello’

ht

mitâtaht       ‘ten’

c

chin kêkâc            ‘already’

hc

anohc            ‘now, today’

k

kin or grin kîmôc            ‘secretly’

hk

âhkosiw        ‘he/she is sick’

s

sin sêmâk            ‘right away’

m

me namôna         ‘not’ (n-dialect)

n

no nîna                ‘I, me’ (n-dialect)

w

will wiyâs             ‘meat’

y

yes âsay                ‘already’

l

leaf palacîs           ‘pants’  (l-dialect)

r

red arîkis             ‘frog’ (r-dialect)

About vowels: Cree uses seven distinct vowel sounds. Three are “short vowels” (a, i, o). Four are “long vowels” which get a special mark (â, ê, î, ô). Some people call it a “roof” or a “hat”. We use a circumflex accent here, but others use macrons or acute accents. It doesn’t matter which symbol we choose, as long as we mark long vowels every time, because the difference between long and short vowels can change the meaning of a word.

About consonants: The English sound pairs p/b, t/d and k/g each represent two distinct phonemes. Cree only uses one of each pair, so the Cree sound of p, t and k falls can fall anywhere between English p and b, t and d, and k and g.

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Ermineskin offering free Cree classes: Ponoka News

This fall there is a chance to get in on free Cree cultural courses in Maskwacis. The new offering is open to the public and includes a variety of courses including Cree language, sewing and more. File photo

(October 2017)

See the original article here: http://www.ponokanews.com/local-news/ermineskin-offering-free-cree-classes-to-the-public/

The Neyaskweyahk Cree Department is offering a free course selection that brings the Cree language, arts and culture to those interested in taking part. Classes started Sept. 26 but there’s still a chance to sign up as they continue until Dec. 19 2017. 

The inspiration for the courses came from a 2004 Wellness plan, explained Patti Johnson, from Miyo Wahkohtowin Education on the Ermineskin Cree Nation where the classes are hosted. “The goal is to sustain and revitalize the language and culture and provide language and cultural services to the community and surrounding areas.”

“It is important to teach the learner the connection we have with ‘Mother Earth’ and the ways in which we do this,” explained Johnson.

Along with beginner Cree, there’s syllabics, beginners youths and adults as well as Cree arts as well as sewing. On top of those classes are what’s called Adventure Saturdays with dates set for Oct. 14, Nov. 18 and Dec. 2.

These Saturday classes are designed to understand land-based Cree values and natural law, which include activities such as Protocol, sage and sweetgrass picking, ice fishing and overnight camping trips.

“Adventure Saturdays are opportunities for learners to experience cultural practices in a fun way,” said Johnson.

“During these sessions, students have the opportunity to experience land-based survival skills. The hope is that students connect to the land and identify how it can be used while attaining language skills associated with the land, culture and Nehiyaw practices.”

For more information call 780-585-2879.

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Cree Classes at Alexander First Nation

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First Nations Circle of Knowledge and Practices Conference: Winston Wuttunee and William Dumas

William Dumas, Winston Wuttunee, Gerri Wuttunee, October 2017

Thanks to Winston Wuttunee and William Dumas for their workshop session on teaching through songs and story-telling (we never got around to the dancing part). It was so much fun listening to master storytellers stringing us along that I attended twice. Wish I could remember half of their jokes. Having had William’s help with language puzzles by email, it was a delight to finally see him in action as MFNERC’s conference emcee, and finally meet him in person. It was also a treat to see Gerri and catch up. Now that they’ve back in Winnipeg. I sure hope to see them again soon!

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