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: 

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