A Call to Action to the Government of Canada by participants in #ANVILS16

ANVILSMembers of the Cree Literacy Network joined a group of about 150 academic and community language advocates at the University of Alberta this past weekend for preliminary talks about A National Vision for Indigenous Language Sustainability. One important outcome of that meeting is a Call to Action – in petition form – drafted at the end of the meeting by Skeetchestn Chief Ron Ignace and others. In calling for adequate funding for revitalization of Indigenous languages, the petition echoes the sentiment repeated at the meetings that restorative funding really ought to be equivalent to the funding that attempted to destroy the languages in the first place. Continue reading

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Wolf and the Moon Dog – adapted and translated by Solomon Ratt (th-dialect)

Solomon Ratt: Moon Dog

Solomon Ratt: Moon Dog

(Story adapted by Solomon Ratt from “Papagayo and the MoonDog,” a Central American myth – where Papagayo is one very raucous parrot. One telling of the story in English is from Gerald McDermott, and an be found on Amazon (Did you catch that? Central America? Amazon?)

mahihkan ikwa tipiskâwi-pîsim-atim – Wolf and the Moon Dogᒪᐦᐃᐦᑲᐣ ᐃᑿ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ ᐲᓯᒼ ᐊᑎᒼ
kayâs îsa tahto-tipiskâw mâna kî-wâsîsiw tipiskâwi-pîsim. piyak awa mahihkan kî-sâkihîw iyakoni tipiskâwi-pîsimwa. kî-nikamôstawîw mâna kapî-tipisk. kapî-tipisk mâna î-kî-ôthot. mitoni kîtahtawî kî-ati-kisowâhîw kotaka anihi pisiskiw kâ-wîkithit ikota nohcimihk athisk î-wâh-waspâwîmikocik ôho mahihkana. namwâc kî-kaskihtâwak ta-mitho-nipâcik athisk îkâ wihkâc î-pônowitamithit anihi mahihkana, kapî tipisk î-ôthothit.A long time ago the moon shone every night. This one wolf loved the moon. He sang to her every night. He would howl all through the night every night. Eventually he got the other animals of the forest angry because the wolf would wake them up. They were unable to sleep because the wolf just wouldn’t shut up, he would howl all night.ᑲᔮᐢ ᐄᓴ ᑕᐦᑐ   ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐤ ᒫᓇ ᑮ   ᐚᓰᓯᐤ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ   ᐲᓯᒼ ᙮ ᐱᔭᐠ ᐊᐘ ᒪᐦᐃᐦᑲᐣ ᑮ   ᓵᑭᐦᐄᐤ ᐃᔭᑯᓂ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ   ᐲᓯᒷ ᙮ ᑮ   ᓂᑲᒨᐢᑕᐑᐤ ᒫᓇ ᑲᐲ   ᑎᐱᐢᐠ ᙮ ᑲᐲ   ᑎᐱᐢᐠ ᒫᓇ ᐄ   ᑮ   ᐆᖪᐟ ᙮ ᒥᑐᓂ ᑮᑕᐦᑕᐑ ᑮ   ᐊᑎ   ᑭᓱᐚᐦᐄᐤ ᑯᑕᑲ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᐱᓯᐢᑭᐤ ᑳ   ᐑᑭᖨᐟ ᐃᑯᑕ ᓄᐦᒋᒥᕽ ᐊᖨᐢᐠ ᐄ   ᐚᐦ   ᐘᐢᐹᐑᒥᑯᒋᐠ ᐆᐦᐅ ᒪᐦᐃᐦᑲᓇ ᙮ ᓇᒹᐨ ᑮ   ᑲᐢᑭᐦᑖᐘᐠ ᑕ   ᒥᖪ   ᓂᐹᒋᐠ ᐊᖨᐢᐠ ᐄᑳ ᐏᐦᑳᐨ ᐄ   ᐴᓄᐏᑕᒥᖨᐟ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᒪᐦᐃᐦᑲᓇ , ᑲᐲ ᑎᐱᐢᐠ ᐄ   ᐆᖪᖨᐟ ᙮
pîthisk iskatîthimîwak ôho mahikana. nitomîwak ta-wîci-mâmawipîstâkocik, î-wî-othasowâtâcik ta-kakwî-kipihtinâcik ôma kapî-tipisk kâ-ôthothit. wihtamawîwak anihi mahikana ta-pônâhkamikisithit, ta-pôni-ôthothit tahto-tipiskâw. kîspin îkâ pônahkamikisithici ikota ohci nohcimihk ta-sîpwîtisahwîwak, ta-nitawi-piyakwahkamikisithit wahthaw ikota ohci. ikwâni, namôtha nohtî-piyakwahkamikisiw awa mahikan. tâpwîthihtam ta-pônahkamikisit. namwâc awasimî ta-ôthot kâ-tipiskâthik.Eventually they got tired of the wolf. They called him to meet with them, to try get him to quit his activities, to quit his nightly howling. If he didn’t quit his activity they would banish him from the forest, to go live on his own elsewhere far from there. The wolf did not want to live on his own. He agreed to quit his activities. He would no longer howl all night.ᐲᖨᐢᐠ ᐃᐢᑲᑏᖨᒦᐘᐠ ᐆᐦᐅ ᒪᐦᐃᑲᓇ ᙮ ᓂᑐᒦᐘᐠ ᑕ ᐑᒋ ᒫᒪᐏᐲᐢᑖᑯᒋᐠ , ᐄ ᐑ ᐅᖬᓱᐚᑖᒋᐠ ᑕ ᑲᑹ ᑭᐱᐦᑎᓈᒋᐠ ᐆᒪ ᑲᐲ ᑎᐱᐢᐠ ᑳ ᐆᖪᖨᐟ ᙮ ᐏᐦᑕᒪᐑᐘᐠ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᒪᐦᐃᑲᓇ ᑕ ᐴᓈᐦᑲᒥᑭᓯᖨᐟ , ᑕ ᐴᓂ ᐆᖪᖨᐟ ᑕᐦᑐ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐤ ᙮ ᑮᐢᐱᐣ ᐄᑳ ᐴᓇᐦᑲᒥᑭᓯᖨᒋ ᐃᑯᑕ ᐅᐦᒋ ᓄᐦᒋᒥᕽ ᑕ ᓰᐿᑎᓴᐦᐑᐘᐠ , ᑕ ᓂᑕᐏ ᐱᔭᑿᐦᑲᒥᑭᓯᖨᐟ ᐘᐦᖬᐤ ᐃᑯᑕ ᐅᐦᒋ ᙮ ᐃᒁᓂ , ᓇᒨᖬ ᓄᐦᑏ ᐱᔭᑿᐦᑲᒥᑭᓯᐤ ᐊᐘ ᒪᐦᐃᑲᐣ ᙮ ᑖᐿᖨᐦᑕᒼ ᑕ ᐴᓇᐦᑲᒥᑭᓯᐟ ᙮ ᓇᒹᐨ ᐊᐘᓯᒦ ᑕ ᐆᖪᐟ ᑳ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᖨᐠ ᙮
ikwâni ikospî kâ-ati-tipiskâk, pî-sâkâsiw awa tipiskâwi-pîsim mâka namwâc pihtâkosiw awa mahihkan, mosci kanawhâpamîw poko anihi kâ-sâkihât, anihi tipiskâwi-pîsimwa. ikosi tahto-tipiskâw ispathin. kîtahtawîw piyak tipiskâw awa mahihkan kâ-wâpamât awiya î-kaskitîsithit ikwa î-misikitithit, piyakwan atim î-isinawât, î-kwâskohtotawâthit anihi tipiskâwi-pîsimwa. iyako îsa awa tipiskâwi-pîsim-atim, ikwa iyako kâ-pahkwîmât anihi tipiskâwi-pîsimwa. kwayask sîkihik anihi tipiskâwi-pîsim-atimwa awa mahikan. ikwâni tahto-tipiskâw ikosi itahkamikisiw awa tipiskâwi-pîsim-atim atim, î-pahpahkwîmât anihi tipiskâwi-pîsimwa.When night came, the moon rose but the wolf made no sound. He merely looked longingly at the one he loved, the moon. That’s what happened every night. All of a sudden one night the wolf saw someone black and huge, it looked to him like a dog, jumping up at the moon. It was this Moon Dog, and he would take a bite out of the moon. The wolf was really afraid of the Moon Dog. So every night the Moon Dog would take a bite out of the moon.ᐃᒁᓂ ᐃᑯᐢᐲ ᑳ ᐊᑎ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐠ , ᐲ ᓵᑳᓯᐤ ᐊᐘ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ ᐲᓯᒼ ᒫᑲ ᓇᒹᐨ ᐱᐦᑖᑯᓯᐤ ᐊᐘ ᒪᐦᐃᐦᑲᐣ , ᒧᐢᒋ ᑲᓇᐤᐦᐋᐸᒦᐤ ᐳᑯ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᑳ ᓵᑭᐦᐋᐟ , ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ ᐲᓯᒷ ᙮ ᐃᑯᓯ ᑕᐦᑐ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐤ ᐃᐢᐸᖨᐣ ᙮ ᑮᑕᐦᑕᐑᐤ ᐱᔭᐠ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐤ ᐊᐘ ᒪᐦᐃᐦᑲᐣ ᑳ ᐚᐸᒫᐟ ᐊᐏᔭ ᐄ ᑲᐢᑭᑏᓯᖨᐟ ᐃᑿ ᐄ ᒥᓯᑭᑎᖨᐟ , ᐱᔭᑿᐣ ᐊᑎᒼ ᐄ ᐃᓯᓇᐚᐟ , ᐄ ᒁᐢᑯᐦᑐᑕᐚᖨᐟ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ ᐲᓯᒷ ᙮ ᐃᔭᑯ ᐄᓴ ᐊᐘ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ ᐲᓯᒼ ᐊᑎᒼ , ᐃᑿ ᐃᔭᑯ ᑳ ᐸᐦᑹᒫᐟ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ ᐲᓯᒷ ᙮ ᑿᔭᐢᐠ ᓰᑭᐦᐃᐠ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ ᐲᓯᒼ ᐊᑎᒷ ᐊᐘ ᒪᐦᐃᑲᐣ ᙮ ᐃᒁᓂ ᑕᐦᑐ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐤ ᐃᑯᓯ ᐃᑕᐦᑲᒥᑭᓯᐤ ᐊᐘ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ ᐲᓯᒼ ᐊᑎᒼ ᐊᑎᒼ , ᐄ ᐸᐦᐸᐦᑹᒫᐟ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ ᐲᓯᒷ ᙮
ikwa ôko pisiskiwak ati-kwîtawîthimîwak anihi tipiskâwi-pîsimwa wîtha kaciskaw poko î-wâpamâcik î-pî-sâkâsothit, kîkâc î-mîstakocinithit. kakwîcimîwak anihi mahikana tânihki ana anihi tipiskâwi-pîsimwa kâ-ati-mîstakocinithit. wîthawâw athisk mâna î-nipâcik, namwâc ohci wâpamîwak anihi tipiskâwi-pîsim-atimwa kâ-kwâskohtitawâthit ikwa kâ-pâhkwîmâthit anihi tipiskâwi-pîsimwa. ikospî kâ-tipiskâthik aswahîwak anihi tipiskâwi-pîsim-atimwa.And these animals started to wonder about the moon because they could hardly see it rising, as it was almost gone. They asked the wolf why the moon was almost gone. Because they would be asleep at night they did not see the Moon Dog jumping and taking a bite of the moon. That night they waited for the Moon Dog.ᐃᑿ ᐆᑯ ᐱᓯᐢᑭᐘᐠ ᐊᑎ ᑹᑕᐑᖨᒦᐘᐠ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ ᐲᓯᒷ ᐑᖬ ᑲᒋᐢᑲᐤ ᐳᑯ ᐄ ᐚᐸᒫᒋᐠ ᐄ ᐲ ᓵᑳᓱᖨᐟ , ᑮᑳᐨ ᐄ ᒦᐢᑕᑯᒋᓂᖨᐟ ᙮ ᑲᑹᒋᒦᐘᐠ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᒪᐦᐃᑲᓇ ᑖᓂᐦᑭ ᐊᓇ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ ᐲᓯᒷ ᑳ ᐊᑎ ᒦᐢᑕᑯᒋᓂᖨᐟ ᙮ ᐑᖬᐚᐤ ᐊᖨᐢᐠ ᒫᓇ ᐄ ᓂᐹᒋᐠ , ᓇᒹᐨ ᐅᐦᒋ ᐚᐸᒦᐘᐠ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ ᐲᓯᒼ ᐊᑎᒷ ᑳ ᒁᐢᑯᐦᑎᑕᐚᖨᐟ ᐃᑿ ᑳ ᐹᐦᑹᒫᖨᐟ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ ᐲᓯᒷ ᙮ ᐃᑯᐢᐲ ᑳ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᖨᐠ ᐊᔁᐦᐄᐘᐠ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ ᐲᓯᒼ ᐊᑎᒷ ᙮
wahwâ! kwayask sîkisiwak ispî kâ-wâpamâcik anihi tipiskâwi-pîsim-atimwa î-kwaskohtawâthit tipiskâwi-pîsimwa, mitoni kahkithaw î-ati-kitamwât anihi tipiskâwi-pîsimwa. ikwâni mitoni î-kaskitipiskâk ikota nohcimihk. mistahi mâh-mâtowak oko pisiskiwak, î-pônâskîwithik îtokî î-itîthihtahkwâw. sihkimîwak mahihkana ta-nikamôstawâthit ikosi îtokî kâwi ta-pî-sâkîwîw ana tipiskâwi-pîsim. ikwâna ikota ohci âh-ôthow awa mahihkan, tahto-tipiskâw âh-ôthow. pîthisk kitahtawî kâ-pî-nôkosit awa tipiskâwi-pîsim, mâka apisîsisiw nistam, kaciskaw î-nôkosit. ikota ohci tahto-tipiskâw nâh-nikamôstawîw awa mahihkan anihi tipiskâwi-pîsimwa, pîthisk ati-wâwiyîsithiwa, kapîtipisk âh-ôthow awa mahihkan. namwâc awasimî nânitaw itîthihtamwak aniki pisikiwak, î-ati-mithohtawâcik î-nikamothit mahihkana athisk tipiskâwi-pîsim î-wâsîsot.Wah! They were surely terrified when they saw the Moon Dog jumping at the moon, swallowing all that was left of the moon. It was then very dark in the forest. The animals cried and cried as they thought surely it was the end of the world. The encouraged the wolf to sing to the moon maybe in that way the moon will rise again. The wolf started to howl, every night he howled. All of a sudden the moon rose, but it was very small at first, hardly noticeable. Every night the wolf sang to the moon and eventually it became round, the wolf howled every night. The rest of the animals in the forest didn’t thing anymore bad thoughts of him, as they started to like the sound of the wolf singing because the moon was shining.ᐘᐦᐚ ᑿᔭᐢᐠ ᓰᑭᓯᐘᐠ ᐃᐢᐲ ᑳ ᐚᐸᒫᒋᐠ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ ᐲᓯᒼ ᐊᑎᒷ ᐄ ᑿᐢᑯᐦᑕᐚᖨᐟ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ ᐲᓯᒷ , ᒥᑐᓂ ᑲᐦᑭᖬᐤ ᐄ ᐊᑎ ᑭᑕᒹᐟ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ ᐲᓯᒷ ᙮ ᐃᒁᓂ ᒥᑐᓂ ᐄ ᑲᐢᑭᑎᐱᐢᑳᐠ ᐃᑯᑕ ᓄᐦᒋᒥᕽ ᙮ ᒥᐢᑕᐦᐃ ᒫᐦ ᒫᑐᐘᐠ ᐅᑯ ᐱᓯᐢᑭᐘᐠ , ᐄ ᐴᓈᐢᑮᐏᖨᐠ ᐄᑐᑮ ᐄ ᐃᑏᖨᐦᑕᐦᒁᐤ ᙮ ᓯᐦᑭᒦᐘᐠ ᒪᐦᐃᐦᑲᓇ ᑕ ᓂᑲᒨᐢᑕᐚᖨᐟ ᐃᑯᓯ ᐄᑐᑮ ᑳᐏ ᑕ ᐲ ᓵᑮᐑᐤ ᐊᓇ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ ᐲᓯᒼ ᙮ ᐃᒁᓇ ᐃᑯᑕ ᐅᐦᒋ ᐋᐦ ᐆᖪᐤ ᐊᐘ ᒪᐦᐃᐦᑲᐣ , ᑕᐦᑐ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐤ ᐋᐦ ᐆᖪᐤ ᙮ ᐲᖨᐢᐠ ᑭᑕᐦᑕᐑ ᑳ ᐲ ᓅᑯᓯᐟ ᐊᐘ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ ᐲᓯᒼ , ᒫᑲ ᐊᐱᓰᓯᓯᐤ ᓂᐢᑕᒼ , ᑲᒋᐢᑲᐤ ᐄ ᓅᑯᓯᐟ ᙮ ᐃᑯᑕ ᐅᐦᒋ ᑕᐦᑐ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐤ ᓈᐦ ᓂᑲᒨᐢᑕᐑᐤ ᐊᐘ ᒪᐦᐃᐦᑲᐣ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ ᐲᓯᒷ , ᐲᖨᐢᐠ ᐊᑎ ᐚᐏᔩᓯᖨᐘ , ᑲᐲᑎᐱᐢᐠ ᐋᐦ ᐆᖪᐤ ᐊᐘ ᒪᐦᐃᐦᑲᐣ ᙮ ᓇᒹᐨ ᐊᐘᓯᒦ ᓈᓂᑕᐤ ᐃᑏᖨᐦᑕᒷᐠ ᐊᓂᑭ ᐱᓯᑭᐘᐠ , ᐄ ᐊᑎ ᒥᖪᐦᑕᐚᒋᐠ ᐄ ᓂᑲᒧᖨᐟ ᒪᐦᐃᐦᑲᓇ ᐊᖨᐢᐠ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐏ ᐲᓯᒼ ᐄ ᐚᓰᓱᐟ ᙮

 

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Stand By Me – Performed by Tristin Greyeyes and Saskatchewan Express

Gotta love this video from Sandra Ahenakew, with all its family connections. Tristin Greyeyes performs Stand By Me in Cree with backup from Saskatchewan Express – a travelling “stars of tomorrow” youth review, in concert in Regina, August 2016.

Tristin’s kôhkompan, Freda Ahenakew would sure be proud.

I’m not sure whose translation Tristin is singing, but I’m reading the translation prepared by Tristin’s auntie, Dolores Sand, as I try to work out the differences. (For Dolores’s translations of other “Classics in Cree” – along with her recordings, please click here!

Stand By Me
By Ben E. King, Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller;
as translated into Cree by Dolores Sand.

tipiskâw êkwa wanitipiskâw askiy
nîpâyâstêw êwako piko
moy sôskwāc nika-kostên kîkway
têpiyahk wîcikâpawîstawiyani

chorus
wîcimwâ wîcikâpawîstawin
ôta nîpawi wîcikâpawîstawin

kîspin kîsik ka-tihtipikwâskwêsîk
êkwa ê-pâkisîk
kîspin asinîwacihk ka-sikopayik
ê-pîkinipayik kihcikamihk
namoy nika-mâton
namoy ahpo nika-pâkwêwâpin
kîspin wîcikâpawîstawin,

chorus
wîcimwâ wîcikâpawîstawin
ôta nîpawi wîcikâpawîstawin

coda
wihkâc wanêyihtamani wîcikâpawîstawin
wîcikâpawîstawin, wîcikâpawîstawin

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The Nêhiyawak Cree Language Experience 2016

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Thanks to Solomon Ratt for permission to post this gallery of photos from this summer’s “Nêhiyawak Summer Language Acquisitioning Experience” hosted by Belinda Daniels at Don Allen Trails, 18km north of La Ronge, between July 24th and 28th. The instructor in the photos is Bill Cook. It looks like a whole lot of us missed a whole lot of fun!

This year marked the 12th such camp, in which speakers and learners come together to collectively, as a team, restore, revitalize and reclaim spoken nêhiyaw language.

Learn more about the Nêhiyawak Language Experience and watch participant videos here: https://www.onestory.com/interviews/the-nehiyawak-cree-language-experience

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2016: ohpahowipîsim / ᐅᐦᐸᐦᐅᐏᐲᓯᒼ / August

2016Calendar_Page_08

 

 

Thanks to Solomon Ratt for allowing the Cree Literacy Network to share his 2016 calendar, complete with his own original illustrations. Following his request, we will post one image at the beginning of each month. For those who like to plan a little further in advance, a link to a complete pdf is included here:  2016Calendar.

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Dance along with Powwow Sweat

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 2.34.45 PMThanks to Facebook friend Una Verdandi for sharing the CBC article about the amazing (and hilarious) Powwow Sweat dance/workout series created by Stylehorse Collective and the Coeur d’Alene tribe in Idaho. The videos feature energetic powwow dancer Shedaezha Hodge.

My favourite visual is Shedaezha standing in full regalia against a Teletubby background.

Makes me think we should begin gathering some basic dance vocabulary to work in some total physical response language learning at the same time:

Follow the Powwow Sweat Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/powwowsweat/

Or search Youtube for “Powwow Sweat” to find these and many more:

Full Music Videohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4bWbJlIUjs

Warm uphttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhfglbhKCo0&list=PLAqhuhVuo9ao4EKra0FYh8r5hcPEVpDYp&index=9

Jingle Dresshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vS9-ZlX7KE8&list=PLe5h-eBi9JlWYEfHjIifq_TUEknXXsdzr&index=1

Men’s Fancy Dancehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlfVPjeb1Xo&list=PLe5h-eBi9JlWYEfHjIifq_TUEknXXsdzr&index=2

Crow Hophttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOTUP9CoXBQ&index=3&list=PLe5h-eBi9JlWYEfHjIifq_TUEknXXsdzr

Double Beathttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBhTOkGr6_c&list=PLe5h-eBi9JlWYEfHjIifq_TUEknXXsdzr&index=5

Men’s Grass Dancehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuZBx5cz0TA&list=PLe5h-eBi9JlWYEfHjIifq_TUEknXXsdzr&index=6

Traditional: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ITu9KaiIF4

Looking for some dance fitness action closer to home? In Lloydminster, you might be able to check out Brandyy-Lee Maxie’s (Nakota) Powfit: 

http://www.powwows.com/2016/04/12/powfit-get-shape-one-pow-wow-step-time/

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All About Colours in Cree

paint_colours_creative_commonsnanâtohkinâkwan masinahikan: This [blog post] has many colours

In English, we learn to name our colours just as we name shapes or animals. Cree works differently. Just as French divides its nouns into “masculine” and “feminine” (and calls that system “gender”), Cree uses gender to divide its nouns into “animate” and “inanimate” groups.* But Cree doesn’t stop at nouns. In Cree, verbs must also change their shape to match the gender of associated nouns. And if a noun is plural, the colour verb must be plural too. Because colour words in Cree are verbs, we need to learn both animate and inanimate forms for every colour, and we need to know whether each noun is animate or inanimate.**

Another way of expressing colour in Cree attaches a special form of the colour word as a prefix to a noun. This happens in special cases where the colour is not just a description, but an important part of the noun itself.

The chart below lists basic colours in each of these three forms. Plural forms are created by adding the suffixes shown in brackets.

Cree Colour Terms

prefix form animate verb form(s) inanimate verb form(s)
wâpiski- wâpiskisiw(ak) wâpiskâw(a)
kaskitêwi- kaskitêsiw(ak) kaskitêwâw(a)
mihko- mihkosiw(ak) mihkwâw(a)
kaskitê-osâwi- kaskitê-osâwisiw(ak) kaskitê-osâwâw(a)
osâwi- osâwisiw(ak) osâwâw(a)
wâposâwi- wâposâwisiw(ak) wâposâwâw(a)
askihtako- askihtakosiw(ak) askihtakwâw(a)
sîpihko- sîpihkosiw(ak) sîpihkwâw(a)
cîpêhtako- cîpêhtakosiw(ak) cîpêhtakwâw(a)
nipâmâyâtisi- nîpâmâyâtisiw(ak) nîpâmâyâtân(wa)
wâpikwanîwinâkosi- wâpikwanîwinâkosiw(ak) wâpikwanîwinâkwan(wa)

In many cultures, people also divide the rainbow differently than we do as speakers of English.

In Cree, speakers may use the word osâwi– for yellow, orange or brown. They may use the word sîpihko– for blue, green, or grey. They may also create new colour words – just as we do in English – by combining the colour words from the chart with each other, or by modifying them with wâpi- (meaning ‘bright’ or ‘light’), and kaskitê- (meaning ‘dark’ or ‘black’).

If you talk to other speakers of Cree, they may use different terms, or combinations of terms from the ones we use here, that are still correct. The colour words used in this chart were selected by one particular speaker on one particular day: on a different day, even he may have chosen differently.

*The Gift of Language and Culture at Onion Lake provides separate lessons for animate and inanimate colour terms, in material developed by Leda Corrigal. A Youtube video from Moberley Lake (featuring the one and only Art Napoleon as Joe-Louis) teaches a great song for inanimate colour terms. But remember: these terms in the song only work for items that are inanimate and singular!

**This explanation of colours was developed by members of the Cree Literacy Network as introductory text for the Julie Flett’s new board book Black Bear, Red Fox: Colours in Cree coming out in 2016 from Native Northwest (ordering details to be supplied as soon as they are available). Click here to view her counting board book, We All Count – also with introductory text prepared by the Cree Literacy Network: http://www.nativenorthwestselect.com/products/boardbook-flett-allcount-cree

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nêhiyaw pimâtisiwin comes to Hawai’i – NAISA 2016

It was a great honour to travel to Honolulu in May as cheerleader for the nêhiyaw pimâtisiwin /‘Living the Cree Way’ panel at the 2016 Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) conference, hosted this year by the University of Hawai’i. (And do some genuine Cree language advocacy work in the process!)

The panel, chaired by Jodi Stonehouse (University of Alberta) included:

  • Dorothy Thunder (UofA) : Teaching nêhiyawêwin (Cree) Language Classes
  • Roxanne Tootoosis (UofA): A Narrative Inquiry with Aboriginal Women Who Have Experienced Perinatal Loss
  • Marcus Pahtayken (Blue Quills): Cree Language Revitalization

Here (at last) are a few photos from their presentation.

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Google Mapping for Oral History

Dr. Brian Thom, UVic anthropologist and key indigenous leader with Google Earth Outreach, speaks with Stz'uminus First Nation elder Ray Harris near Ladysmith, B.C., on May 29, 2014, about how they can map their territories using Google Earth. (Chad Hipolito for The Globe and Mail)

Dr. Brian Thom, UVic anthropologist and key indigenous leader with Google Earth Outreach, speaks with Stz’uminus First Nation elder Ray Harris near Ladysmith, B.C., on May 29, 2014, about how they can map their territories using Google Earth. (Chad Hipolito for The Globe and Mail)

This Globe and Mail article features Stz’uminus elder Ray Harris along with Brian Thom, a UVic anthropologist and Google mapping specialist. Continue reading

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Visiting CILLDI

I feel truly honoured to be in Edmonton this weekend – and to have had a chance this week to sit in at CILLDI on the Cree immersion course. Hay-hay, Dorothy Thunder, and all the students, including Angela Essen. One of the assignments given to the students was to work with Julie Flett’s beautiful book, Wild Berries, that introduces some Cree vocabulary. Dorothy and the students are working together to complete a translation into Plains Cree. The class will present the story as a play – in Cree – at the annual CILLDI banquet. And if we’re all really lucky, maybe we’ll have a new edition for Julie to propose to her publisher!

IMG_5557

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