Canada, O Canada, 150 Years – Solomon Ratt (th-dialect with audio)

Portage Student Residence glee club in the costumes worn in 1967 at Canada’s centennial Expo. On its letterhead and signage during this time, the residence advertised itself as “The Home of Canada’s Singing Indians.” United Church of Canada Archives, 93.049P/1756.

Cultural appropriation is big news in Canada this week. This photo of FN residential school students, dressed up by non-FN teachers to look like the “right kind” of Indians is an unfortunately apt illustration of how authentic First Nations culture can be scrubbed right out of the picture in favour of some misguided imaginary ideal.

Canada, oh Canada, 150* askîwinaᑳᓇᑕ, ᐆ ᑳᓇᑕ, 150* ᐊᐢᑮᐏᓇCanada, oh Canada, 150 years
î-kitinihcik ithiniwak:ᐄᑭᑎᓂᐦᒋᐠ ᐃᖨᓂᐘᐠ: of suppression of First Nations peoples:
î-othasowâtacik îkâ kita-pimitisahahkwâw ithiniw-isîhcikîwina -ᐄ ᐅᖬᓱᐚᑕᒋᐠ ᐄᑳ ᑭᑕᐱᒥᑎᓴᐦᐊᐦᒁᐤ ᐃᖨᓂᐤ ᐃᓰᐦᒋᑮᐏᓇ by out-lawing cultural practices -
nakwatisowina, pwâtisimowina, matotisâna;ᓇᑿᑎᓱᐏᓇ, ᑅᑎᓯᒧᐏᓇ, ᒪᑐᑎᓵᓇthe potlatches, the powwows, the sweat-lodges;
masinahikanêkinos poko ta-ayât kîspin ta-nakatahk iskonikan - ta-nitonahk atoskîwin;ᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑲᓀᑭᓄᐢ ᐳᑯ ᑕ ᐊᔮᐟ ᑮᐢᐱᐣ ᑕ ᓇᑲᑕᕽ ᐃᐢᑯᓂᑲᐣ: ᑕᓂᑐᓇᕽ ᐊᑐᐢᑮᐏᐣby the pass system needed to leave the reserve - to seek work;
âta nîstanân nikî-nitawi-nôtinikânân ispî kâ-nôtinitonânowik,ᐋᑕ ᓃᐢᑕᓈᐣ ᓂᑮᓂᑕᐏᓅᑎᓂᑳᓈᐣ ᐃᐢᐲ ᑳᓅᑎᓂᑐᓈᓄᐏᐠ,although we too went to fight in your wars,
mâka nîkân poko ta-pakitinamâhk nitiskonikan-akihtâsowininâna,ᒫᑲ ᓃᑳᐣ ᐳᑯ ᑕᐱᑭᑎᓇᒫᕽ ᓂᑎᐢᑯᓂᑲᐣ ᐸᑭᐦᑖᓱᐏᓂᓈᓇ,but first we had to give up our Treaty rights,
ikwa ispî kâ-pî-kîwîyâhk namwâc nimîthikawinân simâkanisihkân-mitho-tôtâkîwinaᐃᑿ ᐃᐢᐲ ᑳᐲᑮᐑᔮᕽ ᓇᒹᐨ ᓂᒦᖨᑲᐏᓈᐣ ᓯᒫᑲᓂᓯᐦᑳᐣ ᒥᖪᑑᑖᑮᐏᓇand when we returned we were denied veteran benefits
namwâc nikakî-kîwânân, namacî nikî-pakitinînân nitiskonikan-akihtâsowininâna.ᓇᒹᐨ ᓂᑲᑮᑮᐚᓈᐣ, ᓇᒪᒌ ᓂᑮᐸᑭᑎᓃᓈᐣ ᓂᑎᐢᑯᓂᑲᐣ ᐊᑭᐦᑖᓱᐏᓂᓈᓇ᙮and we could not return home, after all we gave up our Treaty Status
Canada, oh Canada, 150 askîwinaᑳᓇᑕ, ᐆ ᑳᓇᑕ, 150 ᐊᐢᑮᐏᓇCanada, oh Canada, 150 years
î-mîscihowiyan - nîkân kimîscihâwak paskwâwi-mostosak -ᐄᒦᐢᒋᐦᐅᐏᔭᐣ ᓃᑳᐣ ᑭᒦᐢᒋᐦᐋᐘᐠ ᐸᐢᒁᐏᒧᐢᑐᓴᐠ ᑲᐢᒁᐏᒧᐢᑐᓴᐠof genocide - first you killed the buffalo -
ikwa awâsisak kikî-kwâsihâwak ohpimî ta-nitawi-kiskinwahamâkocik ayamihikimâwaᐃᑿ ᐊᐚᓯᓴᐠ ᑭᑮᒁᓯᐦᐋᐘᐠ ᐅᐦᐱᒦ ᑕᓂᑕᐏᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑯᒋᐠ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᐃᑭᒫᐘthen kidnapped the children to go to church-run residential schools
ita kâ-kî-nôcihiyâhk ispî kâ-pîkiskwîyâhk nipîkiskwîwininânaᐃᑕ ᑳᑮᓅᒋᐦᐃᔮᕽ ᐃᐢᐲ ᑳᐲᑭᐢᑹᔮᕽᓂᐲᑭᐢᑹᐏᓂᓈᓇwhere you beat us for speaking our languages
ikosîsi nikî-kipihtinikawinân îkâ kitakiskîthihtamâhk nitithiniwi-isîhcikîwina mîna nikâkîsimowininâna ᐃᑯᓰᓯ ᓂᑮᑭᐱᐦᑎᓂᑲᐏᓈᐣ ᐄᑳ ᑭᑕᑭᐢᑮᖨᐦᑕᒫᕽ ᓂᑎᖨᓂᐏ ᐃᓰᐦᒋᑮᐏᓇ ᒦᓇ ᓂᑳᑮᓯᒧᐏᓂᓈᓇthus we were denied learning our cultural teachings and spiritual beliefs
kâ-kî-âniskô-kiskîthihtamâhk âcathohkîwinihk ohci -ᑳᑮᐋᓂᐢᑰᑭᐢᑮᖨᐦᑕᒫᕽ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑮᐏᓂᕽ ᐅᐦᒋwhich were passed on through our traditional stories -
âcathohkîwina kâ-kî-kiskinwahamâkoyâhk kita-isi-pimâtisiyâhk ôta askîhk.ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑮᐏᓇ ᑳᑮᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑯᔮᕽ ᑭᑕᐃᓯᐱᒫᑎᓯᔮᕽ ᐆᑕ ᐊᐢᑮᕽ᙮ traditonal stories which taught us how to live on this earth.
ohpimî-kiskinwahamâtowikamikohk ita awâsisak kâ-kî-nâh-nôcihihcik ikwa kâ-kî-âh-otihtinihcik;ᐅᐦᐱᒦᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑐᐏᑲᒥᑯᕽ ᐃᑕ ᐊᐚᓯᓴᐠ ᑳᑮᓈᐦᓅᒋᐦᐃᐦᒋᐠ ᐃᑿ ᑳᑮᐋᐦᐅᑎᐦᑎᓂᐦᒋᐠ...residential schools where children were physically and sexually abused; 
awasimî kihci-mitâtahto-mitanaw kî-pôni-pimâtisiwak - mihcît namwâc kiskîthihtâkwan ita kâ-kî-nahahthihcik.ᐊᐘᓯᒦ ᑭᐦᒋᒥᑖᑕᐦᑐᒥᑕᓇᐤ ᑮᐴᓂᐱᒫᑎᓯᐘᐠ ᒥᐦᒌᐟ ᑭᐢᑮᖨᐦᑖᑿᐣ ᐃᑕ ᑳᑮᓇᐦᐊᐦᖨᐦᒋᐠ᙮thousands died - many buried in unmarked graves,
kâ-kîsi-ayamihcikiyâhk nikî-wâh-wanihonân, kapî athisk î-kî-kitîthimikawiyâhk namwâc nikî-kiskîthihtînân tânisi kita-isi-pamihisoyâhk.ᑳᑮᓯᐊᔭᒥᐦᒋᑭᔮᕽ ᓂᑮᐚᐦᐘᓂᐦᐅᓈᐣ, ᑲᐲ ᐊᖨᐢᐠ ᐄᑮᑭᑏᖨᒥᑲᐏᐋᕽ ᓇᒷᐨ ᓂᑮᑭᐢᑮᖨᐦᑏᓈᐣ ᑖᓂᓯ ᑭᑕᐃᓯᐸᒥᐦᐃᓱᔮᕽAfter leaving the schools we were lost, so institutionalized that we did not know how to live,
mihcît nikî-nisiwanâtahkamikisinân ikosi kipahotowikamikohk kita-ayâyâhk - kita-kipahokawiyâhk namacî mâka poko kâ-kiskîthihtamâhk -ᒥᐦᒌᐟ ᓂᑮᓂᓯᐘᓈᑕᐦᑲᒥᑭᓯᓈᐣ ᐃᑯᓯ ᑭᐸᐦᐅᑐᐏᑲᒥᑯᕽ ᑭᑕᐊᐋᔮᕽ ᑭᑕ ᑭᐸᐦᐅᑲᐏᔮᕽ ᓇᒪᒌ ᒫᑲ ᐳᑯ ᑳᑭᐢᑮᖨᐦᑕᒫᕽmany of us turned to crime so we'd go to jail - being inside is something we knew -
mihcît minihkwîwin ikwa maci-maskihkiya kî-nisiwanâcihikowak ikwa kâkikî nâh-nôtinikîskowak.ᒥᐦᒌᐟ ᒥᓂᐦᑹᐏᐣ ᐃᑿ ᒪᒋᒪᐢᑭᐦᑭᔭ ᑮᓂᓯᐘᓈᒋᐦᐃᑯᐘᐠ ᐃᑿ ᑳᑭᑮ ᓈᐦᓅᑎᓂᑮᐢᑯᐘᐠ᙮Many were destroyed by alcohol and drugs and are forever fighting.
Canada, oh Canada, 150 askîwinaᑳᓇᑕ, ᐆ ᑳᓇᑕ, 150 ᐊᐢᑮᐏᓇCanada, oh Canada, 150 years
î-pî-âh-yahcitinîwiyâhk nitaskînâhk.ᐄᐲᐋᐦᔭᐦᒋᑎᓃᐏᔮᕽ ᓂᑕᐢᑮᓈᕽ᙮ of being strangers in our homeland.
* 150: mitâtahtomitanaw mîna niyânanomitanaw / * 150: ᓂᑖᑕᐦᑐᒥᑕᓇᐤ ᒦᓇ ᓂᔮᓇᓄᒥᑕᓇᐤ

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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