Solomon Ratt: About Cree Names (th-dialect)

solsleepingofficeThe students in Sol’s Cree 225 class made him write this down because they couldn’t stop laughing when he told it in class. There are rules about when (and by whom) hilarious Cree nicknames can be used – just like there are rules for protecting your sacred name (as taught in the traditional story of the Little Startlers).

 nîhithawihthowinaCree Names
1âskaw mâna niwâpahtên ôta mihkwâkan-masinahikanihk ithiniwak î-nitawîthihtahkwâw ta-masinahamwak otithiniwihkâsowiniwâwa. namwâc mâna iyakoni ninohtî-masinahîn athisk iyakoni nîhithawiwihkâsowina kihcîthihtâkwana, nîhithaw-isihcikîwinihk poko ta-âpatahki.ᐋᐢᑲᐤ ᒫᓇ ᓂᐚᐸᐦᑌᐣ ᐆᑕ ᒥᐦᒁᑲᐣ ᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑲᓂᕽ ᐃᖨᓂᐘᐠ ᐄ ᓂᑕᐑᖨᐦᑕᐦᒁᐤ ᑕ ᒪᓯᓇᐦᐊᒷᐠ ᐅᑎᖨᓂᐏᐦᑳᓱᐏᓂᐚᐘ᙮ ᓇᒹᐨ ᒫᓇ ᐃᔭᑯᓂ ᓂᓄᐦᑏ ᒪᓯᓇᐦᐄᐣ ᐊᖨᐢᐠ ᐃᔭᑯᓂ ᓃᐦᐃᖬᐏᐏᐦᑳᓱᐏᓇ ᑭᐦᒌᖨᐦᑖᑿᓇ, ᓃᐦᐃᖬᐤ ᐃᓯᐦᒋᑮᐏᓂᕽ ᐳᑯ ᑕ ᐋᐸᑕᐦᑭ᙮
Sometimes I see on Facebook people wanting me to write their traditional Cree names for them. Usually I do not want to write those down because traditional Cree names are sacred, only to be used in Cree ceremony.
2mâka mihcît ithiniwak wawiyasi-wihthâwak, wawiyasihtâkwanithiwa owihthowiniwâwa. iyakoni nika-mâmiskôtîn ôta. namôtha ôho okihci-nîhithaw-wîhthowiniwâwaᒫᑲ ᒥᐦᒌᐟ ᐃᖨᓂᐘᐠ ᐘᐏᔭᓯ ᐏᐦᔭᐋᐘᐠ, ᐘᐏᔭᓯᐦᑖᑿᓂᖨᐘ ᐅᐏᐦᖪᐏᓂᐚᐘ᙮ ᐃᔭᑯᓂ ᓂᑲᒫᒥᐢᑰᑏᐣ ᐆᑕ᙮ ᓇᒨᖬ ᐆᐦᐅ ᐅᑭᐦᒋᓃᐦᐃᖬᐤᐑᐦᖪᐏᓂᐚᐘ᙮
But there are a lot of people with funny names, their names sound funny. I am going to talk about those. These are not their sacred names.
3iyakoni ôhi âthiht niwâhkômâkanak owihthowiniwâwa: piyak nisikos pahkwîsikanis kî-itâw; piyak nîstâw pâstîwâskomiw kî-itâw; ikwa kotak nîstâw wihmiyaki-John kî-itâw. nama-wihkâc mâna ikosi wîthawâw owihkwâkaniwâhk iyakoni nikî-isi-wihthânânak. ispî mâna kâ-ayamihâyâhkwâw niwâhkômâkaninânak nitâpacihtânân anihi itwîwina kâ-isi-itahkômâyâhkwâw. namwâc mwâsi owihthowiniwâwa nitâpacihtânân ispî kâ-pîkiskwâtâyâhkwâw niwâhkômâkaninânak wîtha athisk wihthowina î-kihcîthihtâkwahki.ᐃᔭᑯᓂ ᐆᐦᐃ ᐋᖨᐦᐟ ᓂᐚᐦᑰᒫᑲᓇᐠ ᐅᐏᐦᖪᐏᓂᐚᐘ: ᐱᔭᐠ ᓂᓯᑯᐢ ᐸᐦᑹᓯᑲᓂᐢ ᑮ ᐃᑖᐤ ᐱᔭᐠ ᓃᐢᑖᐤ ᐹᐢᑏᐚᐢᑯᒥᐤ ᑮᐃᑖᐤ ᐃᑿ ᑯᑕᐠ ᓃᐢᑖᐤ ᐏᐦᒥᔭᑭ jᐅᐦᐣ ᑮ ᐃᑖᐤ᙮ ᓇᒪ ᐏᐦᑳᐨ ᒫᓇ ᐃᑯᓯ ᐑᖬᐚᐤ ᐅᐏᐦᒁᑲᓂᐚᕽ ᐃᔭᑯᓂ ᓂᑮ ᐃᓯ ᐏᐦᔭᐋᓈᓇᐠ᙮ ᐃᐢᐲ ᒫᓇ ᑳᐊᔭᒥᐦᐋᔮᐦᒁᐤ ᓂᐚᐦᑰᒫᑲᓂᓈᓇᐠ ᓂᑖᐸᒋᐦᑖᓈᐣ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᐃᑜᐏᓇ ᑳᐃᓯᐃᑕᐦᑰᒫᔮᐦᒁᐤ᙮ ᓇᒹᐨ ᒹᓯ ᐅᐏᐦᖪᐏᓂᐚᐘ ᓂᑖᐸᒋᐦᑖᓈᐣ ᐃᐢᐲ ᑳ ᐲᑭᐢᒁᑖᔮᐦᒁᐤ ᓂᐚᐦᑰᒫᑲᓂᓈᓇᐠ ᐑᖬ ᐊᖨᐢᐠ ᐏᐦᖪᐏᓇ ᐄᑭᐦᒌᖨᐦᑖᑿᐦᑭ᙮
Here are a few of my relatives' names: I have an aunt who was named “Little Bannock;” I have a cousin named “Dry Shit;” and another cousin named “Shit Smelling John.” We never use those names in front of their faces. When we spoke to them we would use the terms we have on how we are related to them. It is rare to use names when talking to our relatives because names are sacred.
4ikwa nîtha? âtiht nîtisânak ‘mahkos’ nititikwak. ispî kâ-kî-apisîsisiyân î-kî-kisowâhit piyak nitôsisipan îkâ î-wî-nitohtawit sôskwâc ‘macinâkos’ nikî-kakwî-itâw. mâka pihtaw namîskwa ikospî nikî-ohci-nihtâwân ‘mahkos’ poko kâ-kî-kaskihtâyân ta-itwîyân. ikospî ohci ‘mahkos’ nikî-itikawin. âskaw îtokî kiwâpahtînâwâw nimis Maggie ikosi î-isit ôta mihkwâkan-masinahikanihk, ikota ohci kâ-pî-nôkwahk iyako wihthowin. âtiht mîna niwâhkômâkanak “sâlamonis” nitisithihkâtikwak.ᐃᑿ ᓃᖬ? ᐋᑎᐦᐟ ᓃᑎᓵᓇᐠ ᒪᐦᑯᐢ ᓂᑎᑎᑿᐠ᙮ ᐃᐢᐲ ᑳᑮᐊᐱᓰᓯᓯᔮᐣ ᐄᑮᑭᓱᐚᐦᐃᐟ ᐱᔭᐠ ᓂᑑᓯᓯᐸᐣ ᐄᑳ ᐄᐑᓂᑐᐦᑕᐏᐟ ᓲᐢᒁᐨ ᒪᒋᓈᑯᐢ ᓂᑮ ᑲᑹ ᐃᑖᐤ᙮ ᒫᑲ ᐱᐦᑕᐤ ᓇᒦᐢᑿ ᐃᑯᐢᐲ ᓂᑮ ᐅᐦᒋ ᓂᐦᑖᐚᐣ ‘ ᒪᐦᑯᐢ ’ ᐳᑯ ᑳ ᑮ ᑲᐢᑭᐦᑖᔮᐣ ᑕ ᐃᑜᔮᐣ ᙮ ᐃᑯᐢᐲ ᐅᐦᒋ ᒪᐦᑯᐢ ᓂᑮ ᐃᑎᑲᐏᐣ᙮ ᐋᐢᑲᐤ ᐄᑐᑮ ᑭᐚᐸᐦᑏᓈᐚᐤ ᓂᒥᐢ Maggie ᐃᑯᓯ ᐄᐃᓯᐟ ᐆᑕ ᒥᐦᒁᑲᐣ ᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑲᓂᕽ, ᐃᑯᑕ ᐅᐦᒋ ᑳᐲᓅᑿᕽ ᐃᔭᑯ ᐏᐦᖪᐏᐣ᙮ ᐋᑎᐦᐟ ᒦᓇ ᓂᐚᐦᑰᒫᑲᓇᐠ ᓵᓬᐊᒧᓂᐢ ᓂᑎᓯᖨᐦᑳᑎᑿᐠ᙮
And me? Some of my siblings call me “mahkos.” When I was little an aunt got me angry because she wouldn’t listen to me so I called her “Ugly One.” But unfortunately I was unable to talk properly yet, “mahkos” was all I was able to say. Maybe sometimes you see my older sister Maggie call me “mahkos” here on Facebook, that name came from that moment. Some of my relatives call me “Sâlamonis – Little Solomon.”
5ninîkihikwak nikî-wihthikwak mâka iyako wihthowin nimanâcihtân, athisk withowina.ᓂᓃᑭᐦᐃᑿᐠ ᓂᑮ ᐏᐦᖨᑿᐠ ᒫᑲ ᐃᔭᑯ ᐏᐦᖪᐏᐣ ᓂᒪᓈᒋᐦᑖᐣ, ᐊᖨᐢᐠ ᐏᖪᐏᓇ᙮
My parents did name me but I cannot reveal that name because names are sacred.
6î-kihcîthihtâkwahki. mâka ôma nika-kî-âtotîn: piyakwâw nikî-ayapinân nîkinâhk, nohtâwîpan kî-nah-nipâsow kihci-thôski-tîhtapowinihk ikwa nikâwîpan kî-mîkisihkâcikîw onipîwikamikowâhk ikwa nîtha mâka-mîna nikî-ayamihcikân. kîtahtawî kîkway kâ-pihtamân.ᐄᑭᐦᒌᖨᐦᑖᑿᐦᑭ᙮ ᒫᑲ ᐆᒪ ᓂᑲᑮᐋᑐᑏᐣ: ᐱᔭᒁᐤ ᓂᑮ ᐊᔭᐱᓈᐣ ᓃᑭᓈᕽ, ᓄᐦᑖᐑᐸᐣ ᑮᓇᐦᓂᐹᓱᐤ ᑭᐦᒋ ᖫᐢᑭ ᑏᐦᑕᐳᐏᓂᕽ ᐃᑿ ᓂᑳᐑᐸᐣ ᑮᒦᑭᓯᐦᑳᒋᑮᐤ ᐅᓂᐲᐏᑲᒥᑯᐚᕽ ᐃᑿ ᓃᖬ ᒫᑲ ᒦᓇ ᓂᑮᐊᔭᒥᐦᒋᑳᐣ᙮ ᑮᑕᐦᑕᐑ ᑮᑿᕀ ᑳᐱᐦᑕᒫᐣ᙮
But this I can talk about: Once we were sitting at home, my late father was napping on the couch, my late mother was beading in their bedroom, and I as usual was reading. All of a sudden I hear something!
7“âh?” nititâw nohtâwîpan, î-koskomak.ᐋᐦ? ᓂᑎᑖᐤ ᓄᐦᑖᐑᐸᐣ, ᐄᑯᐢᑯᒪᐠ᙮
“What?” I say to my late father, waking him.
8“namôtha nânitaw nikî-itwân,” itwîw. “î-kî-pwîkitowân ôma. wahwâ! namwâc mâna kipihtawin kâ-pîkiskwâtitân, mâka ispî kâ-pwîkitowân kipihtîn! ‘pwîkitowin-kâ-pihtahk’ taki-isithihkâtitân,’ kî-itwîw. ᓇᒨᖬ ᓈᓂᑕᐤ ᓂᑮᐃᑤᐣ, ᐃᑜᐤ᙮ ᐄᑮᐿᑭᑐᐚᐣ ᐆᒪ᙮ ᐘᐦᐚ ᓇᒹᐨ ᒫᓇ ᑭᐱᐦᑕᐏᐣ ᑳᐲᑭᐢᒁᑎᑖᐣ, ᒫᑲ ᐃᐢᐲ ᑳᐿᑭᑐᐚᐣ ᑭᐱᐦᑏᐣ ᐿᑭᑐᐏᐣ ᑳᐱᐦᑕᕽ ᑕᑭ ᐃᓯᖨᐦᑳᑎᑖᐣ, ᑮᐃᑜᐤ᙮
“I didn’t say anything,” he says. “I farted. Wah, You don’t usually hear me when I speak to you but when I fart you hear! I should name you ‘One Who Hears Farts,’” he said.

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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