Flanders yikwahaskānihk : “In Flanders Fields”

Public Domain Image

Thanks to the Office of the Treaty Commissioner for sharing this video of Dolores Sand’s reading in Cree of this important annual remembrance. The full text is given below, followed by Neal McLeod’s comments on the vocabulary.


In Flanders Fields by John McCrae is perhaps the most beloved war poem ever written. We share it here in honour of Cree-speaking veterans of many wars.
00000
 Thanks to Jean Okimāsis and Arok Wolvengrey for sharing their Plains Cree translation, based on the Woods Cree translation by Minnie McKenzie. 

Flanders yikwahaskānihk wāh-wēpāstanwa wāpikwaniya
tastawāyihk pimitāskwahikana kā-nāh-nīpitēstēki
ta-kiskinawācihtāhk ita kā-pimisiniyāhk; ēkwa kīsikohk
aniki ē-sōhkē-nikamocik piyēsīsak ē-pimihācik
ētataw pēhtākosiwak iyikohk ē-māh-matwēwēhk askīhk.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

onakataskēwak niyanān.  namōya māka kayās
nikī-pimātisinān, nikī-mōsihtānān kā-sākāstēk, nikī-wāpahtēnān kā-pahkisimok.
nikī-sākihiwānān mīna nikī-sākihikawinān, māka ēkwa nipimisininān
ōta Flanders yikwahaskānihk.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

kiyawāw ēkwa naskwāhihkok kinōtinākaniminawak
ē-kī-sākōcihikoyāhkik, kitāsōnamātinān
iskotēw; ohpinamok ēkwa kiyawāw.
kīspin ānwēhtawiyāhki niyanān kā-nakataskēyāhk,
namwāc nika-aywēpinān, āta ē-ohpikiki wāpikwaniya
ōta Flanders yikwahaskānihk.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

First published here November 2013.

Update November 2015: Vocabulary to accompany this poem, courtesy of Neal McLeod:

yikwâshaskân – field [also kistikan. field]
wêpâstan – to be thrown about by the wind
wâpikwaniya – flowers
tastawâyihk – between
pimitâskwahikan – cross [also miywâhtik]
nîpitê – to be a row
kiskinawâcihtâ – to mark, to point
pimisini – to lay down
mâka – but, and
kîsik – sky
aniki – those ones
sôhkê – preverb, strongly loud
nikamo – to sing
piyêsîs – bird
pimihâ – to fly
êtataw – scarce, barely
pêhtakosiwi – to be heard
iyikokohk – until, up to
matwêwê – for a gun to sound
askiy – earth, ground, dirt
onakastaskêwak – the ones who have left the earth [nakast- leave, askiy. earth], the dead
niyanân – us, we
namôya – not
kayâs – a long time ago
kî – past tense marker
pimâtisi – to live
môsihtâ – to feel, to sense
sâkâstê – to come into view
wâpahta – to see something
kâ-pahkisimok – sunset
sâkihiw – to love
mîna – and
sâkihikawi – to be loved
ôta – here
kiyawâw – you
êkwa – and
naskwâhih – *need to think of a proper translation for this word
nôtinâkan – foe [someone who one fights]
sâkôcih – to defeat, to overcome someone
âsônam – to put one’s hands out to receive an offering, to receive something by hand
iskôtêw – fire [torch]
ohpinam – to hold something high by hand
kîspin – if
ânwêhtawi – to break faith
namwâc – no, not
aywêpi – to rest
âta – although
ohpik – to grow

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

10 Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Gail MacKay and commented:
    miigwetch to Arden Ogg, Delores Sand, Office of the Treaty Commission, Jean Okimāsis, Arok Wolvengrey, Minnie McKenzie, and Neal McLeod. Wow this is such a rich resource for appreciating the beauty of the Cree language.

  2. tansi my name is joseph steinhauer and I’m a 13 year old napesis one thing you could maybe do next time is put out smaller word to sound it out ay

    1. Thanks for writing, Joseph! I know the long words can be tough, but that’s Cree for you! Some people find it helps to listen to audio or video while they’re reading the text. Maybe you will too! Bravo for working at this!

  3. IN FLANDERS FIELD THE POPPIES BLOW BETWEEN THE CROSSES ROW ON ROW. THAT MARK OUR PLACE IN THE SKY, THE LARKS STILL BRAVELY SINGING FLY. SCARCE HEARD AMID THE GUNS BELOW. WE ARE THE DEAD, SHORT DAYS AGO WE LIVED FELT DAWN, SAW SUNSET GLOW. LOVED AND WERE LOVED AND NOW WE LIE IN FLANDERS FIELDS.

    TAKE UP OUR QUARREL WITH THE FOE; TO YOU FROM FAILING HANDS WE THROW THE TORCH; BE YOURS TO HOLD IT HIGH IF YE BREAK FAITH WITH US WHO DIE WE SHALL NOT SLEEP,THOUGH POPPIES GROW IN FLANDERS FIELDS

    WE WILL REMEMBER THEM…. LEST WE FORGET…

    kapaskotinahk mihko wapikwanewah papahmastinwa apihtawihk asitiyahtikwak kakitawam owthapiwak mamihna. kakisinatikohsiyak kisihkohk, chichikanisisak sohkatisi nihkamowak, tapisiwak iypitakwaw kah mamahtwihki paskisikana iytamihk. nithanahn kaki nipiyak, motha kayas kaki kisihkaki niki matisinahn mositahyak katipi kisipahyak, wapatahmak kachakastik kapakisimohk. nikisahkiwahn mihna nikisahkikanahn akwa nimisininahn paskwatnahk.

    nitohtininahn neh machithichikien kamachithimikoyak,kitha ochi kimohsinahnaw kawastinikakiwak iyka kati kikihki michichiya; kitha ochi iyspimihk kisaspin pikohpathin tapwitamawin nitinahn ochi kapohni matisiyak motha nanipahnan, mahka mihko wapikwanewah nitahikinwaw

  4. I hope it’s ok if i translate this to the “th” dialect. Its very moving when i listen to the wors in our native language.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *