Finding Cree in Unexpected Places: Gail Bowen

Saskatchewan mystery writer Gail Bowen has written many strong, Cree characters into her Joanne Kilbourn Mystery Series over the years, but a prayer in Plains Cree in What’s Left Behind (2016, page 59) certainly takes things to the next level as far as Cree language literacy in the mainstream is concerned!

Thanks to Cree Literacy Network board member Elaine Greyeyes, we were able to contact Gail for permission to reproduce the prayer here in SRO and syllabics. The table that follows transliterates the prayer from the book text into SRO and syllabics (with thanks for proofing help from Solomon Ratt). A photo of the prayer from the book follows.

Original EnglishSROSyllabics
Our father, bless us this daynôhtawinân sawêyiminân ôma kâ-kîsikakᓅᐦᑕᐏᓈᐣ ᓴᐍᔨᒥᓈᐣ ᐆᒪ ᑳ ᑮᓯᑲᐠ
For your breath is lifeayis kiyêhêwin pimâtisiwinᐊᔨᐢ ᑭᔦᐦᐁᐏᐣ ᐱᒫᑎᓯᐏᐣ
and bless us here togethersawêyiminân mîna ôta mamawi kâ-ayâyâhkᓴᐍᔨᒥᓈᐣ ᒦᓇ ᐆᑕ ᒪᒪᐏ ᑳ ᐊᔮᔮᕽ
Give us strength and wisdommiyinân maskawisîwin mîna iyinîsiwinᒥᔨᓈᐣ ᒪᐢᑲᐏᓰᐏᐣ ᒦᓇ ᐃᔨᓃᓯᐏᐣ
To listen and to hearta-natohtamâhk mîna ta-nahêhtam â hkᑕ ᓇᑐᐦᑕᒫᕽ ᒦᓇ ᑕ ᓇᐦᐁᐦᑕᒫᕽ
Not to follow enviousnessnamôya ayiwâhkêyimowin ta-pimitisâhamâhkᓇᒨᔭ ᐊᔨᐚᐦᑫᔨᒧᐏᐣ ᑕ ᐱᒥᑎᓵᐦᐊᒫᕽ
Give us again to seemiyinân âsay mîna ta-wâpahatamâhkᒥᔨᓈᐣ ᐋᓴᕀ ᒦᓇ ᑕ ᐚᐸᐦᐊᑕᒫᕽ
Sunrise and sunsetsâkâstêw mîna pahkisimonᓵᑳᐢᑌᐤ ᒦᓇ ᐸᐦᑭᓯᒧᐣ
Thank you, we are all most thankfulhay-hay, kinanâskomitinânᐦᐊᕀ ᐦᐊᕀ , ᑭᓇᓈᐢᑯᒥᑎᓈᐣ
Hoping that will happenpitanê êkosi ta-ihkihkᐱᑕᓀ ᐁᑯᓯ ᑕ ᐃᐦᑭᕽ

From Gail Bowen’s What’s Left Behind (2016, p.59)

 

About Arden Ogg

Arden Ogg is Director of the Cree Literacy Network, launched in 2010 with the goal of creating Cree language literacy materials suitable for use by learners of all ages.
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