A Christmas Residential School Memory from Solomon Ratt (th-dialect)

PA Residential School

An aerial view looking east over the Prince Albert Residential School grounds in March of 1965. The grounds are now part of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation urban reserve, just east of Victoria Hospital. The large building at centre is now the Senator Allen Bird Memorial Gymnasium. Prince Albert Historical Society archives

 

Thanks to Solomon for sharing this bittersweet memory to coincide with the release of the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission – and in time for Christmas.

(For more of Sol’s residential school stories, click on “Read Along with Solomon” above, or type his name into the search box on the right.)

ispî kâ-kî-awâsiwiyân nîsta nikî-kwâsihikawin ohpimî nîkihk ohci ta-nitawi-ayamihcikiyân, kistapinânihk nikî-nitawi-ayamihcikân, mihcîtwâw mâna nikî-kaskîthihtîn nîkih. ikwa ôma, î-pî-makosî-kîsikâk niwî-âtotîn tânisi mâna kâ-kî-itâkamikahk ispî kâ-makosî-kîsikâk ikota kiskinwahamâtowikamikohk.

ᐃᐢᐲ ᑳ ᑮ ᐊᐚᓯᐏᔮᐣ ᓃᐢᑕ ᓂᑮ ᒁᓯᐦᐃᑲᐏᐣ ᐅᐦᐱᒦ ᓃᑭᐦᐠ ᐅᐦᒋ ᑕ ᓂᑕᐏ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᒋᑭᔮᐣ, ᑭᐢᑕᐱᓈᓂᕽ ᓂᑮ ᓂᑕᐏ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᒋᑳᐣ, ᒥᐦᒌᑤᐤ ᒫᓇ ᓂᑮ ᑲᐢᑮᖨᐦᑏᐣ ᓃᑭᐦ᙮ ᐃᑿ ᐆᒪ, ᐄ ᐲ ᒪᑯᓰ ᑮᓯᑳk ᓂᐑ ᐋᑐᑏᐣ ᑖᓂᓯ ᒫᓇ ᑳ ᑮ ᐃᑖᑲᒥᑲᐦk ᐃsᐲ ᑳ ᒪᑯᓰ ᑮᓯᑳᐠ ᐃᑯᑕ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑐᐏᑲᒥᑯᕽ᙮

When I was a child I too got taken away to go to school away from my home, I went to Prince Albert (Prince Albert Indian Students Residential School.) A lot of times I was lonesome for home. Now that Christmas is coming I want to tell a story about what went on during Christmas at that school.

âtiht mâna awâsisak kî-pî-nâtitisahokowak onîkihikowâwa ta-kîwîcik, ta-nitawi-wîci-makosî-kîsikanimâcik owâhkômâkaniwâwa. namwâc mâna nîthanân. nîkân nistîs ikwa nimisak ikwa nisîmisak (mwîstas wîthawâw kâ-kî-pî-ayamihcikîcik) nikî-kisâcânân, osâm î-kî-mihcîtiyâhk, osâm kî-mistakisiw pôsotâpânâsk, namwâc kî-ispathihikowak ninîkihikwak ta-tipahahkwâw ta-kîwîyâhk nîstanân. ikwâni ikota kiskinwahamâtowikamikohk nikî-makosî-kîsikanisinân.

ᐋᑎᐦᐟ ᒫᓇ ᐊᐋᐧᓯᓴᐠ ᑮ ᐲ ᓈᑎᑎᓴᐦᐅᑯᐊᐧᐠ ᐅᓃᑭᐦᐃᑯᐋᐧᐊᐧ ᑕ ᑮᐄᐧᒋᐠ, ᑕ ᓂᑕᐃᐧ ᐄᐧᒋ ᒪᑯᓰ ᑮᓯᑲᓂᒫᒋᐠ ᐅᐋᐧᐦᑰᒫᑲᓂᐋᐧᐊᐧ᙮ ᓇᒫᐧᐨ ᒫᓇ ᓃᐟᐦᐊᓈᐣ᙮ ᓃᑳᐣ ᓂᐢᑏᐢ ᐃᑲᐧ ᓂᒥᓴᐠ ᐃᑲᐧ ᓂᓰᒥᓴᐠ (ᒦᐧᐢᑕᐢ ᐄᐧᐟᐦᐊᐋᐧᐤ ᑳ ᑮ ᐲ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᒋᑮᒋᐠ) ᓂᑮ ᑭᓵᒑᓈᐣ, ᐅᓵᒼ ᐄ ᑮ ᒥᐦᒌᑎᔮᐦᐠ, ᐅᓵᒼ ᑮ ᒥᐢᑕᑭᓯᐤ ᐴᓱᑖᐹᓈᐢᐠ, ᓇᒫᐧᐨ ᑮ ᐃᐢᐸᐟᐦᐃᐦᐃᑯᐊᐧᐠ ᓂᓃᑭᐦᐃᑲᐧᐠ ᑕ ᑎᐸᐦᐊᐦᑳᐧᐤ ᑕ ᑮᐄᐧᔮᕁ ᓃᐢᑕᓈᐣ᙮ ᐃᑳᐧᓂ ᐃᑯᑕ ᑭᐢᑭᓇᐧᐦᐊᒫᑐᐃᐧᑲᒥᑯᕁ ᓂᑮ ᒪᑯᓰ ᑮᓯᑲᓂᓯᓈᐣ᙮

Some children’s parents were able to send for their children to go home to spend Christmas with their relatives. Not us. First my older brother, and my older sisters and later my younger siblings (when they too came to school), we stayed behind because there were too many of us, the bus was too expensive, it was not possible for my parents to be able to afford the bus for all of us to go home too. So there we stayed to spend Christmas.

kî-nâh-nitomâwak mâna aniki awâsisak kâ-kî-pî-nâtitisahohcik. âta mâna nikî-nitohtîn nânitaw-isi nîstanân nitomikawiyâhki, mâka nama-wihkâc ikosi kî-ispathin. piyakwâw mâka, î-pôni-âpihtâ-kîsikâk, nipihtîn nimis î-matwî-nitomiht.

ᑮ ᓈᐦ ᓂᑐᒫᐊᐧᐠ ᒫᓇ ᐊᓂᑭ ᐊᐋᐧᓯᓴᐠ ᑳ ᑮ ᐲ ᓈᑎᑎᓴᐦᐅᐦᒋᐠ᙮ ᐋᑕ ᒫᓇ ᓂᑮ ᓂᑐᐦᑏᐣ ᓈᓂᑕᐤ ᐃᓯ ᓃᐢᑕᓈᐣ ᓂᑐᒥᑲᐃᐧᔮᐦᑭ, ᒫᑲ ᓇᒪ ᐃᐧᐦᑳᐨ ᐃᑯᓯ ᑮ ᐃᐢᐸᐟᐦᐃᐣ᙮ ᐱᔭᑳᐧᐤ ᒫᑲ, ᐄ ᐴᓂ ᐋᐱᐦᑖ ᑮᓯᑳᐠ, ᓂᐱᐦᑏᐣ ᓂᒥᐢ ᐄ ᒪᑏᐧ ᓂᑐᒥᐦᐟ᙮

The children who were sent for would be called (to the office). Although I listened hard, always hoping to hear we too being called, but that was never the case. Once, however, I heard my older sister being called.

kwayask nikî-kisowâsin, ikwa pîthisk nikî-mâton, wîtha poko nimis î-pî-nâtitisahoht, mistahi nikî-pakwâtîn.

ᑲᐧᔭᐢᐠ ᓂᑮ ᑭᓱᐋᐧᓯᐣ, ᐃᑲᐧ ᐲᐟᐦᐃᐢᐠ ᓂᑮ ᒫᑐᐣ, ᐄᐧᐟᐦᐊ ᐳᑯ ᓂᒥᐢ ᐄ ᐲ ᓈᑎᑎᓴᐦᐅᐦᐟ, ᒥᐢᑕᐦᐃ ᓂᑮ ᐸᑳᐧᑏᐣ᙮

I was so angry, and eventually I cried, only my older sister gets to go home, I hated that so much.

ispî kâ-nitawi-otâkwani-mîcisoyâhk, awîna mâka kâ-wâpamak? nimis! tâpokâni ninâcipahâw. nikakwîcimâw tânihki îkâ kâ-kî-kîwît. nikî-wihtamâk tîpithahk î-kî-nitomiht ta-nitawi-wâciyîmât owîcîwâkana onîkihikothiwa.

ᐃᐢᐲ ᑳ ᓂᑕᐃᐧ ᐅᑖᑲᐧᓂ ᒦᒋᓱᔮᐦᐠ, ᐊᐄᐧᓇ ᒫᑲ ᑳ ᐋᐧᐸᒪᐠ? ᓂᒥᐢ! ᑖᐳᑳᓂ ᓂᓈᒋᐸᐦᐋᐤ᙮ ᓂᑲᑮᐧᒋᒫᐤ ᑖᓂᐦᑭ ᐄᑳ ᑳ ᑮ ᑮᐄᐧᐟ᙮ ᓂᑮ ᐃᐧᐦᑕᒫᐠ ᑏᐱᐟᐦᐊᕁ ᐄ ᑮ ᓂᑐᒥᐦᐟ ᑕ ᓂᑕᐃᐧ ᐋᐧᒋᔩᒫᐟ ᐅᐄᐧᒌᐋᐧᑲᓇ ᐅᓃᑭᐦᐃᑯᐟᐦᐃᐊᐧ᙮

When it was time to go for supper, who did I see? My older sister. I ran to her right away. I asked her why she hadn’t gone home. She told me that she was called only to go shake hands with her friends parents.

ikwâni osâm-poko kahkithaw awâsisak kî-kîwîwak, âtiht poko nîthanân nikisâcânân. ispî kâ-kihci-tipiskâk, î-mwayî-makosî-kîsikâk, nikî-pôsinân pôsotâpânâskohk î-nitawi-kah-kanawâpahtamâhk makosî-kîsikani-wâsaskocînikanisa ôtînâhk. nikî-môcikinîn. ikwa kâ-takosiniyâhk kiskinwahamâtowikamikohk nikî-akotânânak nitasikaninânak.

ᐃᑳᐧᓂ ᐅᓵᒼ ᐳᑯ ᑲᐦᑭᐟᐦᐊᐤ ᐊᐋᐧᓯᓴᐠ ᑮ ᑮᐄᐧᐊᐧᐠ, ᐋᑎᐦᐟ ᐳᑯ ᓃᐟᐦᐊᓈᐣ ᓂᑭᓵᒑᓈᐣ᙮ ᐃᐢᐲ ᑳ ᑭᐦᒋ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐠ, ᐄ ᒪᐧᔩ ᒪᑯᓰ ᑮᓯᑳᐠ, ᓂᑮ ᐴᓯᓈᐣ ᐴᓱᑖᐹᓈᐢᑯᕁ ᐄ ᓂᑕᐃᐧ ᑲᐦ ᑲᓇᐋᐧᐸᐦᑕᒫᕁ ᒪᑯᓰ ᑮᓯᑲᓂ ᐋᐧᓴᐢᑯᒌᓂᑲᓂᓴ ᐆᑏᓈᐦᐠ᙮ ᓂᑮ ᒨᒋᑭᓃᐣ᙮ ᐃᑲᐧ ᑳ ᑕᑯᓯᓂᔮᕁ ᑭᐢᑭᓇᐧᐦᐊᒫᑐᐃᐧᑲᒥᑯᕁ ᓂᑮ ᐊᑯᑖᓈᓇᐠ ᓂᑕᓯᑲᓂᓈᓇᐠ᙮

Now then most of the children had gone home, just a few of us left behind. When it was time of the Great Night (Christmas Eve) before Christmas Day, we went on a bus to view the Christmas lights in town. I loved the sights! When we got back to the school we hung our stockings.

ispî kâ-makosî-kîsikâk, nitasikaninâninâhk nikî-miskînân mîthikowinisa, ikwa sîwicîsak. kapî î-kîkisîpâyâk nikî-mîtawâkânân nitoski-mîtawâkaninâna. ikwa kâ-âpihtâ-kîsikâk nikî-misi-mîcisonân. ispî kâ-pôni-âpihtâ-kîsikâk nikî-mâmawinitonân ta-nah-nikamoyâhk. ikwa kîtahtawî mâna kâ-pî-takosihk wîsahkîcâhk, î-mâh-mîthikoyâhk mîthikowinisa.

ᐃᐢᐲ ᑳ ᒪᑯᓰ ᑮᓯᑳᐠ, ᓂᑕᓯᑲᓂᓈᓂᓈᕁ ᓂᑮ ᒥᐢᑮᓈᐣ ᒦᐟᐦᐃᑯᐃᐧᓂᓴ, ᐃᑲᐧ ᓰᐃᐧᒌᓴᐠ᙮ ᑲᐲ ᐄ ᑮᑭᓰᐹᔮᐠ ᓂᑮ ᒦᑕᐋᐧᑳᓈᐣ ᓂᑐᐢᑭ ᒦᑕᐋᐧᑲᓂᓈᓇ᙮ ᐃᑲᐧ ᑳ ᐋᐱᐦᑖ ᑮᓯᑳᐠ ᓂᑮ ᒥᓯ ᒦᒋᓱᓈᐣ᙮ ᐃᐢᐲ ᑳ ᐴᓂ ᐋᐱᐦᑖ ᑮᓯᑳᐠ ᓂᑮ ᒫᒪᐃᐧᓂᑐᓈᐣ ᑕ ᓇᐦ ᓂᑲᒧᔮᐦᐠ᙮ ᐃᑲᐧ ᑮᑕᐦᑕᐄᐧ ᒫᓇ ᑳ ᐲ ᑕᑯᓯᕁ ᐄᐧᓴᐦᑮᒑᐦᐠ, ᐄ ᒫᐦ ᒦᖨᑯᔮᕁ ᒦᖨᑯᐃᐧᓂᓴ᙮

When it was Christmas Day in our stockings we found toys and candy. All morning we played with our new toys. At noon we had a big meal. In the afternoon we were gathered together and sang songs, and who should arrive but Santa, giving toys to all of us.

 

 

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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.
This entry was posted in Audio (th-dialect), Christmas, Solomon Ratt and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A Christmas Residential School Memory from Solomon Ratt (th-dialect)

  1. Solomon Ratt says:

    Great! Please post to my timeline

    Sent from my iPhone

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