Thanks to Solomon Ratt for the brand new audio recording to accompany this original Residential School story, written in his own th-dialect Woods Cree (and translated into English).
Click the audio link to listen and read along!
Dog Biscuits –
When I was a child I went to school away from my reserve. It was at Prince Albert where I went to school, there was a Residential School there where I went. There was a lot of ill treatment, but I’m not going to talk about that, I’m going to tell a story about my fellow pitiful ones, my fellow students.
 pah-piskihc mâna nikî-kitîthimikawinân; piyakwan ka-itahtopiponîyahk î-isi-kitîthimikawiyahk. ikwa mâna âtiht kâ-misikicik nâpîsisak kî-kah-kitimahîwak anihi nâpîsa nawac kâ-apisîsisithit. ikwa mîna kî-nânôtinitowak nâpîsisak mahti awîna nawac kâ-maskawisît.
We were kept separate from each other; according to age we were kept that way Some boys who were bigger than the rest would be mean on the smaller boys and they would fight amongst themselves to see who was the strongest: this was the way of it.
 ikosi ôma kâ-kî-ati-ihkihk. ana nawac kâ-maskawisît “First Boss,” kî-itâw ikwa mîna kotak “Second Boss,” ikwa mîna kotak “Third Boss.” nîtha wîtha “Last Boss,” athisk î-kî-apisîsisiyân ikwa mîna î-kî-pâwanîsiyân ikospî mîna. nama nânitaw, kiyâm, nikî-itîthihtîn mâna wîtha mâna nistîs î-kî-nâ-nâtamawit.
The one who was the strongest we called “First Boss,” the next was “Second Boss,” and another was “Third Boss.” Me, I was “Last Boss” because I was small and skinny even then. It didn’t matter. No worries, I thought, because I had an older brother to look out for me.
 piyak awa nâpîsis nikî-pakwâtik, kapî mâna î-kî-kakwî-nôtinit. mâka kî-kostîw nistîsa. nikî-paspân. piyak askiy mâka nistîs namwâc kî-pî-nitawi-ayamihcikîw, ayaya, nikî-kostâcin, nikî-kostâw awa nâpîsis kâkî-kakwî-nôtinit. ohcitaw poko ta-kakwî-kaskimak ana First Boss ta-nâtamawit.
There was this one boy who disliked me, he always tried to fight me. But he was afraid of my older brother so I was safe. But one year my older brother did not come to school. Uh oh, I was afraid of that boy who always tried to fight with me. I would have to try to convince the First Boss to look after me.
 “Frank Misti-sikâk” nika-isithihkâtâw ana nâpîsis kapî kâ-kakwî-nôtinit, ikwa “Joseph Misti-kiyâsk” nika-itâw ana First Boss.
I will call that boy who tried to fight me “Frank Bigskunk,” and “Joseph Biggull” is what I will call the First Boss.
 nikî-âh-awihâw mâna ana First Boss nikomikbookima, ikwa mîna nikî-kakwî-asotamawâw ta-atoskâtamowak otatoskîwin. pihtaw mâka kî-âtawîthihtam kahkithaw kîkway, âhpô mîna anihi nisîwi-mîciwina kâ-kî-itisahamawak tahtwâw kâ-kî-mîcisowahk. hay, nikî-ati-wawânîthihtîn athisk kîtahtawî nika-kahcitinik ana Frank Misti-sikâk. tânisi mâka ôma takî-itôtamân?
I would lend my comic books to First Boss, and I also promised that I would do his work for him. Unfortunately he rejected everything, even that dessert I would send him every time we ate. Hey, I began to be in a fuddled state of mind because eventually Frank Bigskunk would catch me. What then should I do?
 tahto tipiskâw mâna, î-mwayî-kawisimoyâhk nikî-asamikawinân mâna piyak î-misikitit biscuit. kwayask mâna nikî-wihkipwâw iyako. “Dog biscuits” mâna nikî-isithihkâtânik iyakonik biskitisak.
Every night, before we went to bed, we were fed one big biscuit. I really liked the taste of that biscuit. We called those biscuits “dog biscuits.”
 haw, piyakwâw nikî-itisahamowâw Joseph Misti-kiyâsk iyakoni, kî-mithwîthihtam! nikî-ati-nipân iskospî î-nohtîkatîyân mâka nikî-cihkîthihtîn athisk ikwâni î-kaskimak Joseph Misti-kiyâsk ta-nah-nâtamowit ispî ana Frank Misti-sikâk kakwî-nôtinici. ikwâni, iskospî ohci tahto-tipiskâw nitisahamowâw Joseph Misti-kiyâsk nidog-biscuitima. namôtha awasimî nikî-kostâw Frank Misti-sikâk.
Okay, once I sent Joseph Biggull that biscuit, he liked that! I began to sleep then, hungry but happy because I was successful convincing Joseph Biggull to look out for me when that Frank Bigskunk tried to fight me. There, from then on, every night I sent my dog biscuit to Joseph Biggull. I was no longer scared of Frank Bigskunk.
 kinwîsîs ikosi nikî-itôtîn.
I did that for a while.
 tahto mâtinâwi-kîsikâw mâna nikî-kanawâpahtînân cikâstîpathihcikana. ikwa mâna kâ-kîsi kanawâpahtamahk iyako nikî-mîtawânân iyakoni cikâstîpathihcikana î-nanâspitâtamahk ikosi mâna, Pirates, Cowboys and Indian: kahkithaw kîkway. nikî-nanâspitâtînân. piyakwâw nikî-kanawâwahtînân “The Great Escape,”
Every Saturday we watched a movie and when we finished watching, we would role play those movies, copying the movie that way. Pirates, Cowboys and Indians: everything. We copied all. Once we saw “The Great Escape.”
 ayâhihkinwî! ikospî kâ-tipiskâk, kinwîsîs aspin ohci kâ-kî-ati-kawisimoyâhk nipihtawâwak nâpîsisak î-wâwathawihtawîcik wâsînamânihk ohci. kitahtawî Joseph Misti-kiyâsk kapî nâsit.
Uh oh! That night, a little after we went to bed, I heard boys climbing out the window. All of a sudden Joseph Big-Gull came to get me.
 “haw, âstam! wîciwinân!” nititik.
“Okay, come! Come with us!” he says to me.
 “namôtha-katâc, osâm nohtâwiy kâwi nika-pî-itisahok” nititâw. niwâpahtîn kîkway î-miciminahk, maskimocis îsa.
“Not even, my father will only send me back,” I say to him. I see that he is holding something, a small bag apparently.
 “kîkway anima?” nititâw, î-itwahamak omaskimocis.
“What is that?” I say to him, pointing to his bag.
 “ninîmâwin ôma,” itwîw, “Dog biscuits!” ikwâni, aspin kâ-wathawîyahtawît wâsînamânihk.
“This is my lunch,” he says, “Dog biscuits!” Then he was off, out the window.
 ikwâni iskwâyâc î-kî-wâpamak. kahkithaw aniki nâpîsisak kâ-kî-tapasîcik kâwi kî-pî-itohtahâwak, mâka namwâc Joseph Misti-kiyâsk.
That’s the last I ever saw of him. All the boys got brought back, but not Joseph Biggull.
 ikospî kâ-tipiskâk namwâc nikî-ohci-nipân. nikî-kostâw and Frank Misti-sikâk.