Undercover Reading – A residential school story from Solomon Ratt (th-dialect)

Sol's Bunk

namôtha nikî-nisitohtîn âkathâsîmowin ispî ohpimî kâ-kî-nitawi-ayamihcikîyân. mâka namôtha kinwîsk nikî-ati-nisitohtîn wîtha tahto-kîsikâw î-kî-pihtamân, ikwa mîna tahtwâw kâ-mâtinâwi-kîsikâk î-kî-kanawâhpahtamâhk cikâstîpathihcikana. nikî-mithwîthihtîn mîna kita-ayamihcikîyân. tahto-tipiskâw nikî-ayamihtân âcimowini-masinahikanisa ikwa mîna kihci-masinahikan, sîpâ nitakohpimihk mâna î-âpacihtâyân wâsaskohcîpicikanis ta-kîmôci-ayamihcikîyân.

ᓇᒨᖬ  ᓂᑮ ᓂᓯᑐᐦᑏᐣ  ᐋᑲᖭᓰᒧᐃᐧᐣ  ᐃᐢᐲ  ᐅᐦᐱᒦ  ᑳ ᑫ ᓂᑕᐃᐧ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᒋᑮᔮᐣ᙮  ᒫᑲ  ᓇᒨᖬ  ᑭᓀᣉᐢᐠ
ᓂᑮ ᐊᑎ ᓂᓯᑐᐦᑏᐣ  ᐑᖬ  ᑕᐦᑐ ᑮᓯᑳᐤ  ᐄ ᑮ ᐱᐦᑕᒫᐣ,  ᐃᑲᐧ  ᒦᓇ  ᑕᐦᑖᐧᐤ  ᑳ ᒫᑎᓈᐃᐧ ᑫᓯᑳᐠ  ᒦ ᑫ ᑲᓇᐋᐧᐦᐸᐦᑕᒫᕁ  ᒋᑳᐢᑌᐸᖨᐦᒋᑲᓇ᙮  ᓂᑫ ᒥᖧᐧᖨᐦᑏᐣ  ᒣᓇ  ᑭᑕ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᒋᑫᔮᐣ᙮  ᑕᐦᑐ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐤ  ᓂᑮ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᑖᐣ  ᐋᒋᒧᐃᐧᓂ ᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑲᓂᓴ  ᐃᑲᐧ  ᒣᓇ  ᑭᐦᒋ ᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑲᐣ,  ᓰᐹ  ᓂᑕᑯᐦᐱᒥᕁ  ᒫᓇ  ᐄ ᐋᐸᒋᐦᑖᔮᐣ  ᐋᐧᓴᐢᑯᐦᒌᐱᒋᑲᓂᐢ  ᑕ ᑫᒨᒋ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᒋᑮᔮᐣ᙮

I did not understand English when I went to school far away from home. However, it did not take me long to begin understanding because I would hear it every day and every Saturday we’d watch movies. I also like to read. Every night I read stories and even the Bible under my blankets using a flashlight to read in secret.

piyakwâw î-tipiskâk nikî-ayamihtân kwâmik-poka sîpâ nitakopimihk. kîtahtawî
kâ-pihtawak ana kâ-kanawîthimikoyâhk nâpîw î-pî-tohtît ninipîwinihk isi. kîsiskaw nipakicowîpinîn anima kwâmik-pok kâ-kî-ayamihtâyân ikwa nitotihtinîn kihci-masinahikan. ispî kâ-îkatîpitahk nitakohpim ana nâpîw nimiskâk î-ayamihtâwak
kihci-masinahikan.

ᐱᔭᑳᐧᐤ  ᐄ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐠ  ᓂᑮ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᑖᐣ  ᑳᐧᒥᐠ ᐳᑲ  ᓰᐹ  ᓂᑕᑯᐱᒥᐦᐠ᙮  ᑫᑕᐦᑕᐑ  ᑳ ᐱᐦᑕᐊᐧᐠ  ᐊᓇ
ᑳ ᑲᓇᐑᖨᒥᑯᔮᕁ  ᓈᐲᐤ  ᐄ ᐲ ᑐᐦᑏᐟ  ᓂᓂᐲᐃᐧᓂᕁ  ᐃᓯ᙮  ᑫᓯᐢᑲᐤ  ᓂᐸᑭᒍᐁᐧᐱᓀᐣ  ᐊᓂᒪ  ᑳᐧᒥᐠ ᐳᐠ
ᑳ ᑫ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᑖᔮᐣ  ᐃᑲᐧ  ᓂᑐᑎᐦᑎᓀᐣ  ᑭᐦᒋ ᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑲᐣ᙮  ᐃᐢᐯ  ᑳ ᐄᑲᑏᐱᑕᕁ  ᓂᑕᑯᐦᐱᒼ  ᐊᓇ  ᓈᐲᐤ  ᓂᒥᐢᑳᐠ  ᐄ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᑖᐊᐧᐠ  ᑭᐦᒋ ᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑲᐣ᙮

One night I was reading comic books under my blankets. I heard the supervisor who looked after us approaching my bed. I quickly dropped the comic book and picked up the Bible. When the supervisor pulled my blanket off he found me reading the Bible.

“hâw, hâw-mâka, tâpwî-kihci, kiyâm ayamihcikîyani.”

“ᐦᐋᐤ,  ᐦᐋᐤ ᒫᑲ,  ᑖᐿ ᑭᐦᒋ,  ᑭᔮᒼ  ᐊᔭᒥᐦᒋᑮᔭᓂ᙮”

“Okay, okay then, very good. It’s okay if you keep on reading.”

ati-sipwîhtîw ikwa kâwi-nitotinîn nikwâmik-pokim. ikospî kâ-askîwik mihcît kwâmik-poka nikî-ayamihtân, nama wihkâc nikî-pisiskîthimik ana nâpîw kâ-kî-kanawîthimikoyâhk.

ᐊᑎ ᓯᐿᐦᑏᐤ  ᐃᑲᐧ  ᑳᐃᐧ ᓂᑐᑎᓃᐣ  ᓂᑳᐧᒥᐠ ᐳᑭᒼ᙮  ᐃᑯᐢᐯ  ᑳ ᐊᐢᑮᐃᐧᐠ  ᒥᐦᒌᐟ  ᑳᐧᒥᐠ ᐳᑲ  ᓂᑮ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᑖᐣ,  ᓇᒪ  ᐃᐧᐦᑳᐨ  ᓂᑮ ᐱᓯᐢᑮᖨᒥᐠ  ᐊᓇ  ᓈᐲᐤ  ᑳ ᑮ ᑲᓇᐑᖨᒥᑯᔮᐦᐠ᙮

He left and I picked up my comic book once again. That year I read lots of comic books. The supervisor never bothered me again.

namôtha kinwîsk kâ-ati-nisitohtamân âkathâsîmowin.

ᓇᒨᖬ  ᑭᣉᐢᐠ  ᑳ ᐊᑎ ᓂᓯᑐᐦᑕᒫᐣ  ᐋᑲᖭᓭᒧᐃᐧᐣ᙮

It wasn’t long before I started understanding English.

About Arden Ogg

Arden Ogg is Director of the Cree Literacy Network, a not-for-profit-in-the-making with the goal of creating Cree language literacy materials suitable for use by learners of all ages.
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