Nearly 30 years ago, the late Freda Ahenakew, and her mentor, the late Ida McLeod, produced a booklet with several dozen familiar children’s songs, Christmas carols and hymns translated into Cree. It’s been out of print for a long time now, but here is their version of Jingle Bells / sêwêyâkanak. This photo is as close as I can come to Bette Spence’s description of driving through the snow with horse and sleigh to attend the Christmas concert at the Little Red River day school in the 1920s. (We’re sending love to her and her family too, as one who has celebrated over a hundred Christmases!)
Hints: You know the tune, but to help fit the words to the notes, I’ve put brackets around vowels that get dropped out, and used bold to show the strongest syllables.
2021 Update: Audio added [Solomon Ratt assures me that my singing helps set an example for other non-speakers, to listen, read the SRO, and sing along. I like to think of it as leaving room for others to improve!]
mistatim ot(â)pânâskohk, hê!
ᒥᐢᑕᑎᒼ ᐅᑖᐹᓈᐢᑯᕽ, ᐦᐁ!
ᑰᓂᕽ ᐁ ᐱᒥᐸᐦᑖᐟ
ᐘᐦᔭᐤ ᐁ ᐃᐢᑯᐸᐦᑖᐟ
ᐊᓄᐦᐨ ᑳ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐠ
* sêwêyâkanak is also the word used for the jingles on jingle dresses.