I Sat Quietly – Poem by Teta Engram (translated by Solomon Ratt – y-dialect)

Photo thanks to Izaiah Swampy-Omeasoo

Thanks to Izaiah Swampy-Omeasoo who sent this poem by Teta Engram to Solomon Ratt for translation into Cree. Teta Engram is a teacher at Victoria School of Arts in Edmonton, who has a keen interest in writing and working with First Nations, Métis and Inuit students.  

I Sat Quietly: Teta Engram

I sat quietly
by the river and watched
the river and the rocks
perform a dance, so intricate
it seemed the steps had been
practiced for generations
but I could never learn them
nikâmwâtapin
wâsakâm sîpîhk ê-kanawâpahtamân
nipiy ikwa asiniyak
ê-mamâhtâwi-nîmihitocik, mamâhtâwisimowin
tâpiskôc kayâs ohci ê-pê-isi-nîmihitohk
mâka namôya wîhkâc
nikakî-kiskinwahamâkosin
I listened to the birds
calling to each other
in a language that was both
foreign and familiar
and as hard as I tried
I could not understand
ninatohtawâwak piyêsîsak
ê-tâh-têpwâtitocik
pîkiskwêwin nawac piko
pîtos-pîkiskwêwin mîna
kisâstaw ê-nisitohtamân
mâka âta ê-sôhki-kocihtâyân
namwâc nikî-nisitohtên
It was the children
who shared their stories
and dreams with me
it was they who spoke
of the land, and its gift
and I understood
awâsisak aniki kâ-mâtinamawicik
otâtayôkêwiniwâwa mîna opawâmiwiniwâwa
wiyawâw kâ-pîkiskwâtahkik
askiy, êkwa omîyikosiwin
êkwa ninisitohtên
I did not need to
dance in the river
I only had to appreciate
That it would dance for me
namôya katâc
ta-nîmihitoyân sîpîhk
têpiyâhk ta-nahîyihtamân
ê-nîmihitôstamawit
I did not need to
sing with the birds
I only had to respect
The song they sang
namôya katâc
ta-wîci-nikamômakik piyêsîsak
têpiyâhk ta-kistêyihtamân
nikamowin kâ-nikamocik
I did not need to fear
because the children
would be there
and their stories
would live
forever in me
namôya katâc ta-sêkisiyân
ayisk awâsisak
êkota ta-ayâwak
êkwa otâtayôhkêwiniwâwa
nika-wîcêwikon
kâkikê

 

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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One Response to I Sat Quietly – Poem by Teta Engram (translated by Solomon Ratt – y-dialect)

  1. phyllis hart says:

    Hi! tanisi . Phyllis nitisithihkason. onihithowi kiskinwahamakiw nitha.nisicawayasihk ohci
    mwana Father’s Day Vocabulary kitayanawaw?

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