Midnight Shine: Heart of Gold (n-dialect)

Zach Tomatuk, Adrian Sutherland, [drummer], Stan Louttit: Midnight Shine

It was great surprise to run into my colleague Stan Louttit from Moose Factory in Winnipeg. It was even better to hear Midnight Shine (Stan is the bassist) live at The Forks at APTN’s Indigenous Day Live 2018. Not sure you could find a better choice for a Winnipeg audience than a Neil Young cover – and singing along in Cree is always cool. In this case, the Cree is n-dialect, as spoken in Attawapiskat, the home of lead singer Adrian Sutherland.

Cree text in SRO (with thanks to Ken Paupanekis): 

niwî-pimâtisin, niwî-mîniwân
ninanâtawâpamâw kâ-mino-têhêt
môna nitayân ôhi kêkwâna
ê-nâtawâpamak kâ-mino-têhêt
âsay (ê)-kisênîwiyân
ê-nâtawâpamak kâ-mino-têhêt
âsay (ê)-kisênîwiyân

ᓂᐑᐱᒫᑎᓯᐣ,  ᓂᐑᒦᓂᐚᐣ
ᓂᓇᓈᑕᐚᐸᒫᐤ  ᑳᒥᓄᑌᐦᐁᐟ
ᒨᓇ ᓂᑕᔮᐣ ᐆᐦᐃ  ᑫᒁᓇ
ᐁᓈᑕᐚᐸᒪᐠ  ᑳᒥᓄᑌᐦᐁᐟ
ᐋᓴᐩ  ᐁᑭᓭᓃᐏᔮᐣ
ᐁᓈᑕᐚᐸᒪᐠ  ᑳᒥᓄᑌᐦᐁᐟ
ᐋᓴᐩ  ᐁᑭᓭᓃᐏᔮᐣ

I wanna live, I wanna give
I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold
It’s these expressions I never give
That keep me searching for a heart of gold
And I’m getting old
That keep me searching for a heart of gold
And I’m getting old

From the Midnight Shine’s original YouTube post:

Heart of Gold (Cover) performed by Midnight Shine, posted with permission from Wixen Music Publishing, Inc. Written by Neil Young. Mushkegowuk Cree translation by Adrian Sutherland.

The lead single from Midnight Shine’s new album HIGH ROAD is an exceptional cover of Neil Young’s HEART OF GOLD, bringing a timely new sound to this timeless classic. Midnight Shine’s version is distinctly different, yet honours the heart and soul of the original. It was produced by Midnight Shine, along with John-Angus MacDonald (The Trews). FUN FACT: Listen for Chris Gormley (Big Sugar) on drums!

  • “Quite a fascinating version of Neil’s song. Love the First Nations’ feel of it. Very cool…” – John Einarson, Neil Young Biographer & Music Historian
  • “In a bold choice, the band pays tribute to one of Canada’s greatest songwriters and folk music’s greatest innovators, Neil Young. Their cover of his 1972 hit “Heart Of Gold” is stunning and not only links the group to the folk roots of rock and roll but also highlights the group’s Indigenous heritage through the vocal styling and with the final verse being translated into Mushkegowuk Cree. The track is not only a definite highlight among High Road, but also holds up to the original…” – Gerrod Harris, Canadianbeats.ca
  • “Putting a fresh spin on a classic is a tough task, but James Bay-area Indigenous roots-rockers Midnight Shine manages to do just that. The familiar strummed guitar intro is accompanied by wailing Indigenous vocals that grab your attention instantly… Adrian Sutherland delivers a heartfelt and convincing vocal performance, and a section of the tune is sung in his Cree language. We reckon Neil would approve.” – Kerry Doole, FYI Music News
  • “Anytime you take a popular song and make it your own it’s a risk. In this case Adrian, with permission from Young’s publisher, included cuts of powwow singing, and the last verse of “Heart of Gold” was translated into Mushkegowuk Cree. The result is incredible. Midnight Shine’s “Heart of Gold” has breathed new life into a classic song…” – Hendrik Pape, Soundcheck Entertainment

MORE INFO AT: https://www.midnightshineonline.com

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2018: paskowipîsim / ᐸᐢᑯᐏᐲᓯᒼ / July

Thanks to Solomon Ratt for allowing the Cree Literacy Network to share his 2018 calendar, complete with his own original illustrations. Following his request, we will post one image at the beginning of each month.


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Medicine Dog makes the CBC News

Mansil Fiddler at the CBC Regina studio. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

Mansil Fiddler is still hard at work promoting Indigenous language reclamation one song at a time. He recently phoned to tell me about this recent CBC news interview – and remind me to check on updates to his list of Champions (which includes Wayne Jackson’s “Tonight’s the Night” in Cree). Seems to me there’s room for a lot more Cree on his list!

Read the whole CBC article here:


Search for Medicine Dog on YouTube and hit Subscribe to follow his many adventures sharing Cree. Check “Playlists” to see his latest champions. And don’t be shy: send him an entry!


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Rhonda Head sings O Canada with the Toronto Symphony (n-dialect)

Rhonda Head is a classically trained singer from Opaskwayak Cree Nation in Manitoba. Her recording in Cree was one of 12 versions of O Canada recorded with the TSO in honour of Canada 150.

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Frog Lake Memories: CBC 1994

Twenty-four years since this CBC video was made, the same issues remain to be addressed. A link to this video appeared recently on FaceBook thanks to Mary Cardinal Colins and Peter Desjarlais. It reflects on the distinct role of the Cree people at Frog Lake as they fought the starvation policies of Sir John A MacDonald and his department of Indian Affairs. The mass execution that followed is the largest in Canadian history, yet still virtually unknown to most Canadians. Here’s the original CBC link:   http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1765700403/

I’d like to hear more about the Cree-language interviews that were recorded by Blair Stonechild and others. Perhaps Brenda (Gardipy) Ahenakew can help us track them down!

Additional stories/photos of this event:

An infamous anniversary: 130 years since Canada’s Largest Mass Hanging 27 November 1885

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Louis Says: Cree Language Episodes Online at APTN

If you’re not already a fan of the APTN animated kids’ series Louis Says, you’re probably about to become one. Solomon Ratt recently shared this APTN link which includes full Cree-language episodes of the series. The idea of the show (in English) is Randy finding help to understand the Cree words that Louis teaches him (sometimes with hilarious results). When the show is translated into Cree (th-dialect), the producers chose Denesułine as the mystery language.

Listen carefully to see whose voices you recognize, including Solomon Ratt and Cynthia Cook (who does a fantastic kohkom!)

In addition to full episodes, the APTN site includes the viewing schedule and printables suitable for young language learners.



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Four Sacred Smudges & Protocol

Thanks to Ramona Washburn sharing this great poster identifying the four sacred medicines used for smudging.

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âsônamakêwin: Passing on Teachings (Wayne Jackson, y-dialect)

âsônamawâtânik kitawâsimisinawak êkwa kitôskayôminawak kinêhiyawêwinaw. kinêhiyawêwinaw kimaskihkêminaw, tâpiskôc ê-nâtawihikoyahk.

ᐋᓲᓇᒪᐚᑖᓂᐠ  ᑭᑕᐚᓯᒥᓯᓇᐘᐠ  ᐁᑿ ᑭᑑᐢᑲᔫᒥᓇᐘᐠ ᑭᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᓇᐤ᙮  ᑭᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᓇᐤ  ᑭᒪᐢᑭᐦᑫᒥᓇᐤ, ᑖᐱᐢᑰᐨ  ᐁᓈᑕᐏᐦᐃᑯᔭᕽ᙮

Let us all pass our nêhiyaw language on to our children and our youth. Nêhiyawewin is our medicine: it heals us all.

What better way to honour National Indigenous People’s Day than helping traditional wisdom make its way to the next generations? Thanks to Hal Cameron for permission to use his image here, and to Wayne Jackson for providing text and audio.

  • âsônamawêw (Verb, VTA)  s/he passes (it/him) on to s.o.
  • âsônamâtowin (Noun, NI-1)  passing things on
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Indigenous People’s Day 2018 – Solomon Ratt

mitho-ithiniw-kîsikanisik  /  ᒥᖪᐃᖨᓂᐤᑮᓯᑲᓂᓯᐠ

mino-ininiw-kîsikanisik  /  ᒥᓄᐃᓂᓂᐤᑮᓯᑲᓂᓯᐠ

miyo-iyiniw-kîsikanisik  /  ᒥᐅ ᐃᔨᓂᐤ ᑮᓯᐊᑲᓂᓯᐠ

Happy Indigenous People’s Day!

Indigenous People’s Day falls on the Summer Solstice. We don’t have a word that means “solstice” but kâ-mâwaci-kino-kîsikâk means ‘longest day of the year’. It’s also the time the sun starts moving south on the horizon as it rises and sets: sâwanaham pîsim.

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The Tipi that Mosôm Built – MESC

Thanks to Maskwacis Education Schools Commission for sharing this great video, created by grade 4 and 5 students from Montana School- Meskanahk Ka Nipa Wit. Their amazing mini-movie is titled “This Is The Tipi Mosom Built”. It was directed by teacher Alison Peoples and features voiceovers by the class using the Cree vocabulary listed below. Nice work, grades 4 and 5!


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