Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum): A Lesson from the Elders on Pity (y-dialect)

Thanks first to Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum) for permitting this experiment, and then to Solomon Ratt and his transcription students – and to Dorothy Thunder – who all contributed to providing this full SRO transcript of this Elders’ teaching that Sylvia recorded on Facebook this past summer. Sylvia is one of the co-founders of Idle No More, and author of the book Nationhood Interrupted: Revitalizing nêhiyaw Legal Systems, published by Purich Publishing in 2015. I appreciate her feedback on the translation, to help us get things just right. The task is truly a challenging one: giving the opportunity to students is priceless! As always, constructive comments and corrections are gratefully welcomed.

 SRO TranscriptionSyllabics
1tânisi. Sylvia McAdam Saysewahum nitisîyihkason.ᑖᓂᓯ᙮ Sylvia McAdam ᓭᓯᐘᐦᐊᒼ ᓂᑎᓰᔨᐦᑲᓱᐣ᙮
Hello, my name is Sylvia McAdam Saysewahum.
2otê ôma ohci niya, pwâtasâkahikan, êkwa mîna mistatihkamêk-sâkahikan. êkwa, êwako ôma kîsikaw ê-nôhtê-nakatamâtakwâw âcimowin.ᐅᑌ ᐆᒪ ᐅᐦᒋ ᓂᔭ, ᑇᑕᓵᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ, ᐁᑿ ᒦᓇ ᒥᐢᑕᑎᐦᑲᒣᐠᓴᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ᙮ ᐁᑿ, ᐁᐘᑯ ᐆᒪ ᑮᓯᑲᐤ ᐁᓅᐦᑌᓇᑲᑕᒫᑕᒁᐤ ᐋᒋᒧᐏᐣ᙮
I'm from over here: Stony Lake, and also Whitefish Lake, and I want to quickly leave this teaching for you.
3êkwa aya, êwako ôma kêhtê-ayak ota-itwêwiniwâw.ᐁᑿ ᐊᔭ, ᐁᐘᑯ ᐆᒪ ᑫᐦᑌᐊᔭᐠ ᐅᑕᐃᑘᐏᓂᐚᐤ᙮
This is an Elders' teaching.
4mistahi mâna nimâmitonêyihtên tânisi ôma aya ta-isi-pîkiskwâtihcik oskâyak mîna aya ayisiyiniwak mâka aya êwako ôma nika-âpacihtân kîsikaw ka-pâkonamân apisîs kêhtê-ayak opîkiskwêwiniwâw.ᒥᐢᑕᐦᐃ ᒫᓇ ᓂᒫᒥᑐᓀᔨᐦᑌᐣ ᑖᓂᓯ ᐆᒪ ᐊᔭ ᑕᐃᓯᐲᑭᐢᒁᑎᐦᒋᐠ ᐅᐢᑳᔭᐠ ᒦᓇ ᐊᔭ ᐊᔨᓯᔨᓂᐘᐠ ᒫᑲ ᐊᔭ ᐁᐘᑯ ᐆᒪ ᓂᑲᐋᐸᒋᐦᑖᐣ ᑮᓯᑲᐤ ᑲᐸᐦᑭᓇᒫᐣ ᐊᐱᓰᐢ ᑫᐦᑌᐊᔭᐠ ᐳᐄᑭᐢᑵᐏᓂᐚᐤ᙮
I often think about how to speak to the young and to people, but I will quickly use this to reveal a little of the Elders' teaching.
5êwako ôma ê-pê-pihtamân aya ê-âcimicik ê-itwêcik mâna, kâya nitona kîc-âyisiyiniw ka-kitimâkinâsk,ᐁᐘᑯ ᐆᒪ ᐁᐯᐱᐦᑕᒫᐣ ᐊᔭ ᐁᐋᒋᒥᒋᐠ ᐁᐃᑘᒋᐠ ᒫᓇ, ᑳᔭ ᓂᑐᓇ ᑮᒋ ᐊᔨᐢᔨᓂᐤ ᑲᑭᑎᒫᑭᓈᐢᐠ, ᑳᔭ ᓂᑐᓇ ᐃᑕ ᑲᐹᐦᐸᑯᓭᔨᒧᔭᐣ, ᑲᑭᑎᒫᑭᓈᑲᐏᔭᐣ,
This is what I heard; they talk of this often: Don't look for your fellow people to take pity on you.
6kâya nitona ita ka-pâh-pakosêyimoyan, ka-kitimâkinâkawiyan,ᑳᔭ ᓂᑐᓇ ᐃᑕ ᑲᐹᐦᐸᑯᓭᔨᒧᔭᐣ, ᑲᑭᑎᒫᑭᓈᑲᐏᔭᐣ,
Don't look for a place from which to beg for someone to take pity on you.
7osâm ispîhk aya wî-nakataskêyani, ispîhk ôma kisê-manitow ôtê ka-nakiskawat êkâ cî ôki âtayohkanak ka-mêsinamâson êkota anima kâ-kitimâkinâkawiyan.ᐅᓵᒼ ᐃᐢᐲᕽ ᐊᔭ ᐑᓇᑲᑕᐢᑫᔭᓂ, ᐃᐢᐲᕽ ᐆᒪ ᑭᓭᒪᓂᑐᐤ ᐆᑌ ᑲᓇᑭᐢᑲᐘᐟ ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᐋᑕᔪᐦᑲᓇᐠ ᑳᑲᑭᑎᒫᑭᓈᑲᐏᔭᐣ᙮
Because when the time comes for you to leave this earth, when you meet the Creator over where you are a spirit, you will have used up all of your pity.
8osâm aya kinêsowâtisinaw ôma kâ-ayisiyiniwiya.ᐅᓵᒼ ᐊᔭ ᑭᓀᓱᐚᑎᓯᓇᐤ ᐆᒪ ᑳᐊᔨᐢᐃᔨᓂᐏᔭ᙮
Because we humans are weak.
9namôya ihtakow awiyak ta-kî-itwêt namôya ê-pâstâhot ahpô namôya ê-ohcinêt êkwa.ᓇᒨᔭ ᐃᐦᑕᑯᐤ ᐊᐏᔭᐠ ᑕᑮᐃᑘᐟ ᓇᒨᔭ ᐁᐹᐢᑖᐦᐅᐟ ᐊᐦᐴ ᓇᐆᔭ ᐁᐅᐦᒋᓀᐟ ᐁᑿ᙮
There is no one here who can say they have not transgressed or suffered retribution for something.
10tânitahtwâw ê-pêhtawakik kêhtê-ayak ôma ê-itwêcik pêyâhtik, pêyâhtik kakwê isi-waskawî.ᑖᓂᑕᐦᑤᐤ ᐁᐯᐦᑖᐘᑭᐠ ᑫᐦᑌᐊᔭᐠ ᐆᒪ ᐁᐃᔰᒋᐠ ᐯᔮᐦᑎᐠ, ᐯᔮᐦᑎ ᑲᑵ ᐃᓯ ᐘᐢᑲᐑ᙮
How many times I have heard Elders say this: Be careful. Be careful how you live.
11kiyânaw ôma kâ-nêhiyâwiyahk ê-âyimahk, wiyasiwêwin ê-askohtamahk. êwako ôma nêhiyaw-wiyasiwêwina mîna ôma aya manitôwinikêwin.ᑭᔮᓇᐤ ᐆᒪ ᑳ ᓀᐦᐃᔮᐏᔭᕽ ᐁᐋᔨᒪᕽ, ᐏᔭᓯᐍᐏᐣ ᐁᐊᐢᑯᐦᑕᒪᕽ᙮ ᐁᐘᑯ ᐆᒪ ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐤ ᐏᔭᓯᐍᐏᓇ ᒦᓇ ᐆᒪ ᐊᔭ ᒪᓂᑑᐏᓂᑫᐏᐣᕽ
Those of us who are Cree have many challenges. We are guided and directed by Cree law and also Creator's law.
12êkota anima pâstâhowin ohcinîwin.ᐁᑯᑕ ᐊᓂᒪ ᐹᐢᑖᐦᐅᐏᐣ ᐅᐦᒋᓃᐏᐣ᙮
There also is breaking or stepping over cree law, the retribution.
13namôya ihtakon awiyak ta-kî-itwêw nama kîkway pâstâhowin ê-ayât mîna ohcinîwinᓇᒨᔭ ᐃᐦᑕᑯᐣ ᐊᐏᔭᐠ ᑕᑮᐃᑘᐤ ᓇᒪ ᑮᑿᐩ ᐹᐢᑖᐦᐅᐏᐣ ᐁᐊᔮᐟ ᒦᓇ ᐅᐦᒋᓃᐏᐣ᙮
There exists no one who can say they have not stepped over or broke cree law and have suffered no retribution.
14êwako anima pêyak pâstâhowin osâm wîsta ayisiyiniw kâ-nitonahk ka-kitimâkinâkot wîc-âyisiyiniwa.ᐁᐘᑯ ᐊᓂᒪ ᐯᔭᐠ ᐹᐢᑖᐦᐅᐏᐣ ᐅᓵᒼ ᐑᐢᑕ ᐊᔨᓯᔨᓂᐤ ᑳᓂᑐᓇᕽ ᑲᑭᑎᒫᑭᓈᑯᐟ ᐑᒋ ᐊᔨᓯᔨᓂᐘ᙮
That's one of the transgressions when a person looks for pity from his or her fellow people.
15êkota anima kâ-itwêcik piyisk ahpô-êtikwê ka-mêsinamâson ôtê ka-kitimâkinâsk kisê-manitow.ᐁᑯᑕ ᐊᓂᒪ ᑳᐃᑘᒋᐠ ᐱᔨᐢᐠ ᐊᐦᐴ ᐁᑎᑵ ᑲᒣᓯᓇᒫᓱᐣ ᐆᑌ ᑲᑭᑎᒫᑭᓇᐢᐠ ᑭᓭᒪᓂᑐᐤ᙮
Then there is what they say that maybe you use up all your pity from Creator.
16êwako anima kâ-itwêcik mâna: kahkiyaw ê-nêsowâtisiyahk êwako ôma aya.ᐁᐘᑯ ᐊᓂᒪ ᑳᐃᑘᒋᐠ ᒫᓇ: ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᐁᓀᓱᐚᑎᓯᔭᕽ ᐁᐘᑯ ᐆᒪ ᐊᔭ᙮
That's what they say: we are all weak.
17namôya mistahi ê-itêyihtamân niya wiya êkwa ê-pê-pêhtawakik kêhtê-ayak.ᓇᒨᔭ ᒥᐢᑕᐦᐃ ᐁᐃᑌᐦᑕᒫᐣ ᓂᔭ ᐏᔭ ᐁᑿ ᐁᐯᐯᐦᑕᐘᑭᐠ ᑫᐦᑌᐊᔭᐠ᙮
This is not so much my thoughts, just what I've heard from Elders.
18namôya wiya awiyak kî-ihtakow aya ê-kitahâmâwasot êwako ôma kahkiyaw kîkway.ᓇᒨᔭ ᐏᔭ ᐊᐏᔭᐠ ᑮᐃᐦᑕᑯᐤ ᐊᔭ ᐁᑭᑕᐋᒫᐘᓱᐟ ᐁᐘᐅ ᐆᒪ ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᑮᑿᐩ᙮
There is no one around now who can speak to children and young people about breaking our laws.
19ka-kî-wîhtamawâyâhkik oskâyak; kîspin êkâ êkosi ki-wi-itôtênaw êkosâni ê-kitimahâyahkok, kitawâsimisinawak, kôsisiminawak, ôki mîna kâ-pê-nôkosicik.ᑲᑮᐑᐦᑕᒪᐚᔮᐦᑭᐠ ᐅᐢᑳᔭᐠ᙮ ᑮᐢᐱᐣ ᐁᑳ ᐁᑯᓯ ᑭᐏᐃᑑᑌᓇᐤ ᐁᑯᓵᓂ ᐁᑭᑎᒪᐦᐋᔭᐦᑯᐠ, ᑭᑕᐚᓯᒥᓯᓇᐘᐠ, ᑰᓯᓯᒥᓇᐘᐠ, ᐆᑭ ᒦᓇ ᑳᐯᓅᑯᓱᒋᐠ᙮
We should all tell the young; if we don't then we are treating them poorly, Our children, our grandchildren, even those future generations.
20êwako anima têpiyâhk êkâ nânitaw ka-itêyimikowisiyân.ᐁᐘᑯ ᐊᓂᒪ ᑌᐱᔮᕽ ᐁᑳ ᓈᓂᑕᐤ ᑲᐃᑌᔨᒥᑯᐏᓯᔮᐣ᙮
That is it: at least I should not be thought badly of.
21êwako ôma ê-âcimoyân apisîs.ᐁᐘᑯ ᐆᒪ ᐁᐋᒋᒧᔮᐣ ᐊᐱᓰᐢ᙮
This, then, this is what I have to say.
22kinanâskomitinâwâw ê-nitohtawiyêk mîna ka-sawêyimikowisiyêk.ᑭᓇᓈᐢᑯᒥᑎᓈᐚᐤ ᐁᓂᑐᐦᑕᐏᔦᐠ ᒦᓇ ᑲᓴᐍᔨᒥᑯᐏᓯᔦᐠ᙮
I thank you all for listening to me and may you all be blessed.
23hay-hay.ᐦᐊᐩ ᐦᐊᐩ
Thanks.

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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One Response to Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum): A Lesson from the Elders on Pity (y-dialect)

  1. Carolynn says:

    Thank you Sylvia Hiy Hiy Kinanaskom’tin

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