tâns âta wîya nitôtêmitik!
kayâs mâna wâpos-tâpakwêwin iskwêw-atoskêwin. nikâwiy mîna kî-itwêw mân ôhi wâpôs-mêyisa ê-maskihkîwahk.Long ago snaring rabbit or hare for food was a woman’s job. Rabbit droppings were considered medicinal; that’s why I’ve chosen this name for my blog contributions! The old ladies would also use the fur for blankets and clothing. The fur would be cut into strips and woven into blankets, then covered with cloth much like the duvets are nowadays. I remember these warm blankets. The woven fur was also made into jackets for small children.
My droppings this week, from talking to my mom. ‘nikâwiy ê-pâhpihkiswatak’
Niya: tânisi êkwa anohc isi-kîsikaw? Miyo kîsikaw ci?
‘what is today like[weatherwise] is it a nice day?’
Nikâwiy: yâhkwâmahk êkwa anohc miyo kîsikaw
‘for a change it is nice’
I had to ask my sister what yâhkwâmahk meant in English, although I understood sometimes those expressions are hard to translate especially the connector expressions like “subsequently, although, because.” She said it means ‘for a change.’
- A form of address that is old and I do not hear anymore is nêkâh. This is like mother/mommy. I would say this to my mom when addressing her.
- Another form of address is nitotêmitik. Making an announcement for a welcoming speech or a speech of support at a wake. The suffix –tik indicates honorific: ‘honoured friends’. Other forms are ‘iskwêtik, otê apik’. You [honorable] women sit here. napêtik: honoured men.
- One does not usually say nitotêmak in addressing a group. You would use this when mentioning your friends: mihcêt nitotêmak takohtêwak. ‘many of my friends arrived.’
Mary Cardinal Collins
[With thanks to Cree Literacy members for SRO spelling updates]