Undercover Reading – A residential school story from Solomon Ratt (th-dialect)

Sol's Bunk

namôtha nikî-nisitohtîn âkathâsîmowin ispî ohpimî kâ-kî-nitawi-ayamihcikîyân. mâka namôtha kinwîsk nikî-ati-nisitohtîn wîtha tahto-kîsikâw î-kî-pihtamân, ikwa mîna tahtwâw kâ-mâtinâwi-kîsikâk î-kî-kanawâhpahtamâhk cikâstîpathihcikana. nikî-mithwîthihtîn mîna kita-ayamihcikîyân. tahto-tipiskâw nikî-ayamihtân âcimowini-masinahikanisa ikwa mîna kihci-masinahikan, sîpâ nitakohpimihk mâna î-âpacihtâyân wâsaskohcîpicikanis ta-kîmôci-ayamihcikîyân.

ᓇᒨᖬ  ᓂᑮ ᓂᓯᑐᐦᑏᐣ  ᐋᑲᖭᓰᒧᐃᐧᐣ  ᐃᐢᐲ  ᐅᐦᐱᒦ  ᑳ ᑫ ᓂᑕᐃᐧ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᒋᑮᔮᐣ᙮  ᒫᑲ  ᓇᒨᖬ  ᑭᓀᣉᐢᐠ
ᓂᑮ ᐊᑎ ᓂᓯᑐᐦᑏᐣ  ᐑᖬ  ᑕᐦᑐ ᑮᓯᑳᐤ  ᐄ ᑮ ᐱᐦᑕᒫᐣ,  ᐃᑲᐧ  ᒦᓇ  ᑕᐦᑖᐧᐤ  ᑳ ᒫᑎᓈᐃᐧ ᑫᓯᑳᐠ  ᒦ ᑫ ᑲᓇᐋᐧᐦᐸᐦᑕᒫᕁ  ᒋᑳᐢᑌᐸᖨᐦᒋᑲᓇ᙮  ᓂᑫ ᒥᖧᐧᖨᐦᑏᐣ  ᒣᓇ  ᑭᑕ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᒋᑫᔮᐣ᙮  ᑕᐦᑐ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐤ  ᓂᑮ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᑖᐣ  ᐋᒋᒧᐃᐧᓂ ᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑲᓂᓴ  ᐃᑲᐧ  ᒣᓇ  ᑭᐦᒋ ᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑲᐣ,  ᓰᐹ  ᓂᑕᑯᐦᐱᒥᕁ  ᒫᓇ  ᐄ ᐋᐸᒋᐦᑖᔮᐣ  ᐋᐧᓴᐢᑯᐦᒌᐱᒋᑲᓂᐢ  ᑕ ᑫᒨᒋ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᒋᑮᔮᐣ᙮

I did not understand English when I went to school far away from home. However, it did not take me long to begin understanding because I would hear it every day and every Saturday we’d watch movies. I also like to read. Every night I read stories and even the Bible under my blankets using a flashlight to read in secret.

piyakwâw î-tipiskâk nikî-ayamihtân kwâmik-poka sîpâ nitakopimihk. kîtahtawî
kâ-pihtawak ana kâ-kanawîthimikoyâhk nâpîw î-pî-tohtît ninipîwinihk isi. kîsiskaw nipakicowîpinîn anima kwâmik-pok kâ-kî-ayamihtâyân ikwa nitotihtinîn kihci-masinahikan. ispî kâ-îkatîpitahk nitakohpim ana nâpîw nimiskâk î-ayamihtâwak
kihci-masinahikan.

ᐱᔭᑳᐧᐤ  ᐄ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐠ  ᓂᑮ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᑖᐣ  ᑳᐧᒥᐠ ᐳᑲ  ᓰᐹ  ᓂᑕᑯᐱᒥᐦᐠ᙮  ᑫᑕᐦᑕᐑ  ᑳ ᐱᐦᑕᐊᐧᐠ  ᐊᓇ
ᑳ ᑲᓇᐑᖨᒥᑯᔮᕁ  ᓈᐲᐤ  ᐄ ᐲ ᑐᐦᑏᐟ  ᓂᓂᐲᐃᐧᓂᕁ  ᐃᓯ᙮  ᑫᓯᐢᑲᐤ  ᓂᐸᑭᒍᐁᐧᐱᓀᐣ  ᐊᓂᒪ  ᑳᐧᒥᐠ ᐳᐠ
ᑳ ᑫ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᑖᔮᐣ  ᐃᑲᐧ  ᓂᑐᑎᐦᑎᓀᐣ  ᑭᐦᒋ ᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑲᐣ᙮  ᐃᐢᐯ  ᑳ ᐄᑲᑏᐱᑕᕁ  ᓂᑕᑯᐦᐱᒼ  ᐊᓇ  ᓈᐲᐤ  ᓂᒥᐢᑳᐠ  ᐄ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᑖᐊᐧᐠ  ᑭᐦᒋ ᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑲᐣ᙮

One night I was reading comic books under my blankets. I heard the supervisor who looked after us approaching my bed. I quickly dropped the comic book and picked up the Bible. When the supervisor pulled my blanket off he found me reading the Bible.

“hâw, hâw-mâka, tâpwî-kihci, kiyâm ayamihcikîyani.”

“ᐦᐋᐤ,  ᐦᐋᐤ ᒫᑲ,  ᑖᐿ ᑭᐦᒋ,  ᑭᔮᒼ  ᐊᔭᒥᐦᒋᑮᔭᓂ᙮”

“Okay, okay then, very good. It’s okay if you keep on reading.”

ati-sipwîhtîw ikwa kâwi-nitotinîn nikwâmik-pokim. ikospî kâ-askîwik mihcît kwâmik-poka nikî-ayamihtân, nama wihkâc nikî-pisiskîthimik ana nâpîw kâ-kî-kanawîthimikoyâhk.

ᐊᑎ ᓯᐿᐦᑏᐤ  ᐃᑲᐧ  ᑳᐃᐧ ᓂᑐᑎᓃᐣ  ᓂᑳᐧᒥᐠ ᐳᑭᒼ᙮  ᐃᑯᐢᐯ  ᑳ ᐊᐢᑮᐃᐧᐠ  ᒥᐦᒌᐟ  ᑳᐧᒥᐠ ᐳᑲ  ᓂᑮ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᑖᐣ,  ᓇᒪ  ᐃᐧᐦᑳᐨ  ᓂᑮ ᐱᓯᐢᑮᖨᒥᐠ  ᐊᓇ  ᓈᐲᐤ  ᑳ ᑮ ᑲᓇᐑᖨᒥᑯᔮᐦᐠ᙮

He left and I picked up my comic book once again. That year I read lots of comic books. The supervisor never bothered me again.

namôtha kinwîsk kâ-ati-nisitohtamân âkathâsîmowin.

ᓇᒨᖬ  ᑭᣉᐢᐠ  ᑳ ᐊᑎ ᓂᓯᑐᐦᑕᒫᐣ  ᐋᑲᖭᓭᒧᐃᐧᐣ᙮

It wasn’t long before I started understanding English.

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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