Cree Stories with Louis Bird: Winnipeg

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UofA wahkotowin Project Intensive – June 2017

What an opportunity for the lucky few who get accepted!

NS 403/NS 503/LAW 599 – The ᐘᐦᑯᐦᑐᐏᐣ wahkohtowin Project Intensive: ᒥᔪ ᐑᒉᐦᑐᐏᐣ miyo-wîcêhtowin  Principles and Practice

The Cree concept of wahkohtowin (roughly: our inter-relatedness and interdependence) has been a central tenet of Cree law, philosophy, spirituality and politics for centuries. In this unique summer intensive course, guided by professors, elders, and knowledge-keepers within a community setting, students will actively engage with Indigenous – particularly Cree – legal and governance concepts from a land-based perspective. The course includes an on-the-land camp that will take place over three days in Aseniwuche Winewak territory and will be structured around a  central pedagogy of the traditional tanning of a moose hide.

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#CreeSimonSays #LilMoshom: Library

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Bringing the Thunder to L.A.: Northern Cree kimahihcihinân!

Update: Here – from Youtube – is the actual Northern Cree Grammy performance:

Congratulations to Steve Wood and all the fabulous members of Northern Cree who will “Bring the Thunder” to Los Angeles on February 12th for the Grammy’s kick-off. Northern Cree has received its seventh Grammy nomination, this time for best regional roots music album for “It’s a Cree Thing.”

Quoting from their own Facebook page (in Cree!):

Tansi nitoteminanâk. Mîstahi tapateyîmowin ôhci ôma kanîte wîtamatakohk ôma êkwa têpakohp kânawâsonkôwîyahk ôma yakowehôn ôhci Grammy Awards. Mîstahi nanâskomônan.

How are you all our fellow people. It is with great honour and humbleness that we announce our 7th nomination for the prestigious Grammy Awards for yakowehôn.

Northern Cree will be performing at the 12:30-3:30 Pacific Time “Premiere Ceremony” that will be streamed live internationally to over 4 million viewers. Livestream of the Grammy’s premiere (including Northern Cree’s performance) will be posted at for 90 days after the event. The awards will be broadcast live on CBS tv on Sunday, February 12, 2017 at 8pm Eastern time.

Find Northern Cree videos from the new cd on their Facebook Page at:

Purchase the nominated cd “It’s a Cree Thing” or listen to sample cuts:

Find lots more great Northern Cree videos on Youtube. I can’t find one from the current cd, but here’s a link to “Facebook Drama” – an all-time favourite.

We send congratulations and respect to everyone in the group, including Steve Wood and his son Joel, Shane Dion, Leroy Whitstone, Ferlin McGilvery, Penny McGilvery, Jonas Tootoosis, Marlon Deschamps, Conan Yellowbird, Dezi Chocan, Ben Cardinal, Kyle Pasquayak, JohnBoy Moosomin, Randall Paskemin and Mickso Deschamps. kimahihcihinân: You make us all proud!

Read more via MSN Entertainment:

Or via CBC:



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Cree Literacy Network launches its first book – In Plains Cree

Saskatoon Public Library is renaming its 20th Avenue Branch this week in honour of the late Dr Freda Ahenakew. To join the celebration, the Cree Literacy Network has responded with a tribute of its own:  nicâpân owâskahikan / Câpân’s House: A family album from the home of Dr Freda Ahenakew, the first book ever published under the Cree Literacy Network imprint. The full-colour photo book with text in Plains Cree and in English will be launched during the library’s dedication event, Friday, February 10th, 2017.

Thanks to the generous support of the Office of the Treaty Commissioner and Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre, free copies of the book will be distributed to guests at the event. Additional copies will be available for purchase at

For those of us who knew and loved Freda Ahenakew (who died in 2011), it’s difficult to imagine a more fitting tribute than Saskatoon Public Library’s renaming of their 20th Avenue Branch in her honour. This small book is designed to help others understand why this acknowledgement – like Freda herself – is so dear to our hearts.

With a story by Arden Ogg and Dolores Sand that welcomes the reader into a warm, loving First Nations home, the book is designed for children, but intended as a reader for students of Cree of any age. Dozens of family photographs are featured along with text in Plains Cree and English that introduces important family relationship vocabulary. Perhaps the most important word it teaches – in Cree and in English – is câpân [CHAH-pahn] – the affectionate name that a great-grandparent and great-grandchild call one another.

The book is carefully prepared using the Cree writing system known as Standard Roman Orthography (SRO), which was used in all of Freda’s publications, and is now taught in schools and at universities across Western Canada. It includes a complete glossary of the Cree words used. Audio recordings by Dolores Greyeyes Sand are to be added online to encourage Cree language students to read along. The book also includes several pages of biographical notes about the remarkable Freda Ahenakew whose honours included a National Aboriginal Achievement Award, two honorary doctorates, the Order of Canada and the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, all in recognition of her passionate dedication to the promotion and preservation of the Cree language. We hope this book would make her proud.

For further information, please contact:

Arden Ogg
Director, Cree Literacy Network

More about the book (including purchasing details):

More about the event:

SPL: Media Release – Freda Ahenakew Name Announcement_Final

The library’s physical address in Saskatoon is 100 – 219 Ave K South.

More news coverage from the December 2016 announcement: 

Posted in Book News, Dolores Sand | 3 Comments

Solomon Ratt: International Mother Tongue Day, 21 February 2017 (th-dialect with audio)

ninanâskomon ôma kâ-pî-ispathik ithiniw-pîkiskwîwin kîsikâw.

ninanâskomâwak nitâniskô-wâhkôwâhkômâkanak kâ-pî-âniskô-kiskinwahamâkoyahkwâw nîhithaw-isîhcikîwin mîna nîhithawâtisiwin, nîhithaw-pimâtisiwin.

nipakosîthimon ôtî-nîkân kitâniskôtâpâninawak kitâti-âniskô-kiskinwahamawâcik ocawâsimisiwâwa, ôsisimiwâwa, kahkithaw nîhithawâtisiwin.

ikwa anohc, âhkamîthimok, âh-âcathohkâtitok, nîhithawîstamâtitok. iyisâhok ta-wanihtâyîk kipîkiskwîwininaw.

ᓂᓇᓈᐢᑯᒧᐣ  ᐆᒪ  ᑳᐱᐃᐢᐸᖨᐠ  ᐃᖨᓂᐤ ᐲᑭᐢᑹᐏᐣ  ᑮᓯᑳᐤ᙮

ᓂᓇᓈᐢᑯᒫᐘᐠ ᓂᑖᓂᐢᑰᐚᐦᑰᐚᐦᑰᒫᑲᓇᐠ  ᑳᐲᐋᓂᐢᑰᑭᐢᑭᐣᐘᐦᐊᒫᑯᔭᐦᒁᐤ ᓃᐦᐃᖬᐤ ᐃᓰᐦᒋᑮᐏᐣ ᒦᓇ ᓃᐦᐃᖬᐚᑎᓯᐏᐣ,  ᓃᐦᐃᖬᐤ ᐱᒫᑎᐊᐸᓯᐏᐣ᙮

ᓂᐸᑯᓰᖨᒧᐣ ᐆᑎᓃᑳᐣ  ᑭᑖ ᓂᐢᓃᑳᐣ  ᑭᑖᓂᐢᑰᑖᐹᓂᓇᐘᐠ  ᑭᑖᑎ ᐋᓂᐢᑰ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒪᐚᒋᐠ  ᐅᒐᐚᓯᒥᓯᐚᐘ,  ᐆᓯᓯᒥᐚᐘ, ᑲᐦᑭᖬᐤ  ᓃᐦᐃᖬᐚᑎᓯᐏᐣ᙮

ᐃᑿ  ᐅᓄᐦᐨ, ᐋᐦᑲᒦᖨᒧᐠ,  ᐋᐦ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑳᑎᑐᐠ,  ᓃᐦᐃᖬᐑᐢᑕᒫᑎᑐᐠ᙮   ᐃᔨᓵᐦᐅᐠ  ᑕ ᐘᓂᐦᑖᔩᐠ  ᑭᐲᑭᐢᑹᐏᓂᓇᐤ᙮

I am grateful that this is coming First Nations Languages Day.
I give thanks to the ancestors who came to pass on from generation to generation the Cree culture, Cree traditions, Cree life.
I hope that future generations pass on these teachings to their children, their grandchildren, all ways of being Cree.
And today, persevere, tell each other the traditional stories, speak Cree to each other. Resist losing our language.

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Seeing more Cree in Oskana

Solomon Ratt writes out examples of Cree syllabics on Wed., Feb. 1, 2017. (CTV News)

CTV News Regina included Solomon Ratt’s mad syllabic skills in its recent piece about Regina street signs. Go Sol!

Regina itself had a perfectly good Cree name to start with: oskana kâ-asastêki Pile of Bones. And the Cree word oskana is well known around Regina as Wascana.

While we’re at it, renaming Dewdney Avenue – named for one of Sir John A’s enforcers in using famine to force First Nations compliance – is something we should all get behind.

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2017: mikisiwipîsim / ᒥᑭᓯᐏᐲᓯᒼ / February

February 2017Thanks to Solomon Ratt for allowing the Cree Literacy Network to share his 2017 calendar, complete with his own original illustrations. Following his request, we will post one image at the beginning of each month. For those who like to plan a little further in advance, a link to complete pdfs is included here:
Y- and Th-Dialect Version:
N- and Th-Dialect Version:

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Solomon Ratt: Elements of Cree Culture

Thanks to Falene McKenna and Bradley Robinson who produced these graphics from Solomon Ratt’s original hand drawings, for allowing us to share them here. They present and organize – in Cree and in English – key elements of Cree culture with language exactly where it ought to be: at the centre of it all.

Thanks to Sol for providing audio to support reading and pronunciation!

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pîkiskwêwin oratory
mêtawêwin âtayôhkêwin play
âcimowina stories
pimâtisiwin kiskinwahamâkêwinalife lessons
kâ-pê-isi-pimâtisihk history
kâ-isiyihkâtêki ihtâwina place names
wawiyatwêwin humour
nanâtohk isîhcikêwinacrafts
wâhkohtowin (kinship) kinship
ohpikihâwasowin clan
nihtâwikiwin child rearing
nipiwin birth
nêhiyaw-isiyihkâcikêwin naming
Natural Cycleskâ-isi-ayâk misiwê-ita
ispihtâskîwina (seasons) seasons
kîsikohk kâ-ayâkik celestial bodies
pimâtiswin kâ-pimipayik life cycles
kêhtê-ayak elders
kîsopikiwak adult
pisiskiwak animals
Spiritual Customsahkahcowin isîhcikêwin
manâ-itôtamowina (taboos) taboos
kihci-itôtamowina protocol
kâkîsimowin prayer
nîmihitowin dance
nikamowina songs
kihci-isîhcikêwin ceremony
kâ-atohpikihk kihci-isîhcikêwin rites of passage
ihtâwin community
kâ-manâhohk ethno-botany
ayawinasa (clothes) clothes
mîciwin food
kânâkatêyihtamihk conservation
maskihkiy medicine
Posted in Audio (y-dialect), Solomon Ratt | 1 Comment

nîhithaw âcimowina / Woods Cree Stories: Introduction (th-dialect, audio)

Thanks, Solomon, for providing this text from the Introduction to your book of Woods Cree stories – in audio form for reading along!

Learn more about  this book (or even find links to order a copy of your own) at

ita kayâs ithiniwâtisiwin , tâpiskôc ithinînâhk, tânisi kâ- isi-pimâtisinâniwik kî-kiskinwahamâkonâniwin anita ithiniw-isihcikâniwinihk, mîna tahto-kîsikâw pimahkamikisiwinihk, ikwa âcathohkîwinihk.ᐃᑕ ᑲᔮᐢ ᐃᖨᓂᐚᑎᓯᐏᐣ, ᑖᐱᐢᑰᐨ ᐃ ᖨᓀ ᓈᕽ , ᑖᓂᓯ ᑳ ᐃᓯ ᐱᒫᑎᓯᓈᓂᐃᐧᐠ ᑫ ᑭᐢᑭᓇᐧᐦᐊᒫᑯᓈᓂᐃᐧᐣ ᐊᓂᑕ ᐃᖨᓂᐤ ᐃᓯᐦᒋᑳᓂᐃᐧᓂᐦᐠ , ᒣᓇ ᑕᐦᑐ ᑫᓯᑳᐤ ᐱᒪᐦᑲᒥᑭᓯᐃᐧᓂᐦᐠ , ᐃᑲᐧ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑫᐃᐧᓂᕽ᙮ In an oral tradition, such as those of the Native Americans, culture was passed on through the use of language in ceremonies, daily activities and stories.
tahto-pipon kî-âh-âcothokânowin, tahto-pipon î-kî-kiskinwahamâkâniwik kâ-isi-pimâtisonânowik ikota ohci âcathohkîwinihk.ᑕᐦᑐ ᐱᐳᐣ ᑫ ᐋᐦ ᐋᒍᖪᑳᓄᐃᐧᐣ , ᑕᐦᑐ ᐱᐳᐣ ᐁ   ᑫ   ᑭᐢᑭᓇᐧᐦᐊᒫᑳᓂᐃᐧᐠ ᑳ   ᐃᓯ ᐱᒫᑎᓱᓈᓄᐃᐧᐠ ᐃᑯᑕ ᐅᐦᒋ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑫᐃᐧᓂᕽ᙮ The stories were told each winter and in each subsequent winter the process of enculturation went a step further.
ikosi kapî î-kî-isi-kiskinwahamowiht oskâya isko kâ-kîsi-ohpikit. ᐃᑯᓯ ᑲᐯ ᐁ ᑫ ᐃᓯ ᑭᐢᑭᓇᐧᐦᐊᒧᐃᐧᐦᐟ ᐅᐢᑳᔭ ᐃᐢᑯ ᑳ ᑫᓯ ᐅᐦᐱᑭᐟ᙮The process continued to adulthood.
ikosi kapî kî-âh-itahkamikan nama katâc ta-nitawi-ayamihcikânowik, kî-ati-nisitawîthihtamwak ithiniwak opîkiskwîwiniwâw mîna otithiniwâtisiwiniwâw.ᐃᑯᓯ ᑲᐯ ᑫ ᐋᐦ ᐃᑕᐦᑲᒥᑲᐣ ᓇᒪ ᑲᑖᐨ ᑕ   ᓂᑕᐃᐧ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᒋᑳᓄᐃᐧᐠ , ᑫ ᐊᑎ ᓂᓯᑕᐁᐧᖨᐦᑕᒪᐧᐠ ᐃᖨᓂᐊᐧᐠ ᐅᐯᑭᐢᑫᐧᐃᐧᓂᐋᐧᐤ ᒣᓇ ᐅᑎᖨᓂᐋᐧᑎᓯᐃᐧᓂᐋᐧᐤ᙮ Without a break in this process and without the aid of "formal" schooling, came the acquisition of language and culture.
ikosi kâ-pî-isi-ohpikit ithiniw, ta-pimitisahahk ithiniw-isihcikîwin, mîna tahto-kîsikâw itahkamikisiwin, ikwa âcathohkîwina. kî-kiskinwahamawâw kahkithaw kîkway:ᐃᑯᓯ ᑳ ᐯ ᐃᓯ ᐅᐦᐱᑭᐟ ᐃᖨᓂᐤ , ᑕ ᐱᒥᑎᓴᐦᐊᕁ ᐃᖨᓂᐤ ᐃᓯᐦᒋᑫᐃᐧᐣ , ᒣᓇ ᑕᐦᑐ ᑫᓯᑳᐤ ᐃᑕᐦᑲᒥᑭᓯᐃᐧᐣ , ᐃᑲᐧ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑫᐃᐧᐣ᙮ ᑫ ᑭᐢᑭᓇᐧᐦᐊᒪᐋᐧᐤ ᑲᐦᑭᖬᐤ ᑫᑲᐧᐩ : Having grown to adulthood partaking in the ceremonies, daily life and stories, a person had a well-rounded education:
tânisi ta-isi-ohpikihâwasot, tânisi ta-isi-wîcâyâmât owîkimâkana, kistîthimitowin, sîpîthihtamowin, sîpîyâwîsowin, kisîwâtisiwn, mîna sâkihitowin—kahkithaw iyakoni kî-kiskinwahamawâw ikota ohci.ᑖᓂᓯ ᑕ   ᐃᓯ   ᐅᐦᐱᑭᐦᐋᐊᐧᓱᐟ , ᑖᓂᓯ ᑕ ᐃᓯ ᐁᐧᒑᔮᒫᐟ ᐅᐁᐧᑭᒫᑲᓇ , ᑭᐢᑌᖨᒥᑐᐃᐧᐣ , ᓭᐯᖨᐦᑕᒧᐃᐧᐣ , ᓭᐯᔮᐁᐧᓱᐃᐧᐣ , ᑭᓭᐋᐧᑎᓯᐤᐣ , ᒣᓇ ᓵᑭᐦᐃᑐᐃᐧᐣ — ᑲᐦᑭᖬᐤ ᐃᔭᑯᓂ ᑫ ᑭᐢᑭᓇᐧᐦᐊᒪᐋᐧᐤ ᐃᑯᑕ ᐅᐦᒋ᙮ child rearing, spousal responsibility, respect, patience, kindliness, tolerance and love - all were covered in this education.
tânisi mâka kita-ispathihikow awiyak kîspin ikota ohci kwâsihihci ta-nitawi-kiskinwahamowiht ayahci-pîkiskwîwin mîna ayahci-isi-pimâtisinânowin?ᑖᓂᓯ ᒫᑲ ᑲ   ᐃᐢᐸᖨᐦᐃᑯᐤ ᐊᐃᐧᔭᐠ ᑫᐢᐱᐣ ᐃᑯᑕ ᐅᐦᒋ ᑳᐧᓯᐦᐃᒋ ᑕ ᓂᑕᐃᐧ ᑭᐢᑭᓇᐧᐦᐊᒧᐃᐧᐦᐟ ᐊᔭᐦᒋ ᐯᑭᐢᑫᐧᐃᐧᐣ ᒣᓇ ᐊᔭᐦᒋ ᐃᓯ ᐱᒫᑎᓯᓈᓄᐃᐧᐣ ? What happens, however, if this process of enculturation were interrupted, intruded upon, by a foreign language, a foreign culture?
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