Neal McLeod Day 106: masinâstê-pêyak-ayiwinis / zoot suit

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.

masinâstê-pêyak-ayiwinis ‘zoot suit’

(a striped suit – proposed term by Neal McLeod).

Here is a little zoot story about my great-grandfather. My câpân often ê-kî-kikimasinâstê-pêyak-ayiwinisit (“wore a zoot suit”). He would do this especially when he would go to môniyânâhk (“white territory”, a.k.a “town”).

pêyakwâw nicâpân (one time my great-grandfather) got ready to go to town. He got dressed up in his masinâstê-pêyak- ayiwinis, he put brill cream in his hair, and got his neechie swag on. . êkosi! He was ready to go.

VandalYoungHe was dandied up and went to town with okosisa (“his son”). kî-takosinwak atâwêwikamikohk. They arrived at the store, looking for parts.

He walked around the store, but the môniyâwa ê-kî-ati-pâhpihikot (“the white people started to laugh at him”), ahpô êkosi êsa itêyihtam (“or so he thought”).

Being a proud man, a man who valued his dignity, he asked my uncle, (*I called him uncle because he was my father’s brother) “Why are they laughing at me?”

“What did you put in your hair?” itwêw êsa nôhcâwîs (“my uncle said”).

“Brill Cream nikî-âpacihtân,” itwêw nicâpân.

“cah! (“cha!”) You have toothpaste in your hair nôhtâ!”

masinâstê-pêyak-ayiwinisa can make a man, but it pays to read the labels on things when you get ready to go to town!

THANKS TO Arok Wolvengrey for helping to edit this.

photo: picture of my câpânpan (my late câpân, Peter Vandall). I know that this is not a zoot suit in this picture, but it gives you an idea of what he looked like as a young man.

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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