Neal McLeod Day 101: okihcitawak / providers

UR100I’m not promising we’ll get all the way to 200, but while we wait for Neal’s new book to come out via University of Regina Press, we can enjoy some of Neal’s newer Cree word studies via Facebook.

okihcitawak ‘providers’

these are the ones that would provide for others. i have heard it said that they would often eat last- after everyone else had been feed.

they were also the ones who would protect the camp from danger. i have heard oral history that women were also part of these societies sometimes.

english speaking academics have translated okihictawak as “warriors.” this is misleading as it limits their function and purpose.

okihcitaw is a VTA verb – it means “to provide for others.”

related word: okihcitaw-iskwêw. female ceremonial helper.

imagine the social power and collective strength if the okihcitawak were to be widely revived and restored. it would give young people a healthy alternatives to gangs. revived and renewed okihcitawak societies could help our kêhtê-ayak– our elders.

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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