ahkamêyimo, Robert-Falcon Ouellette! Petitioning for Cree Language Support in the House of Commons

(First, here’s a link to the petition – that could really use your support!)

Robert-Falcon Oullette, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre, rose to address the House of Commons in Cree in May 2017 about the safety of Indigenous women, and appropriately, did so in Cree. Plains Cree is Robert’s birth right as a member of Red Pheasant Cree Nation, but it is a birth right that was denied him by the legacy of residential schools; instead, Plains Cree is Robert’s third or fourth language.
Huffington Post provided video of the original speech (with translation subtitles, that Robert provided later): 2017/05/05/robert-falcon-ouellette-cree-house-commons

Here’s his text in SRO along with the translation provided by Robert’s office staff (hay-hay!) :

Recently in the Prairies two high profile violent events occurred where young Indigenous women were killed and severely hurt. anohcihkî nîswâw âcimowina kipêhtênaw ita oskâya-iyiniw-iskwêwak ê-nipahihck âhpô ê-kî-sôhki-wîsakatahohcik.
These events occurred while people stood by and recorded these incidents. êkosi kî-itahkamikan mêkwâc ayisiyiniwak ê-kanawâpahkêcik mîna ê-masinipihcikêcik. êkosi tâpitaw kâ-âh-ispayik.
The freedom of the violence calls into question our own humanity. kita-nâkatawêyihtamahk piko kâ-âh-isi-pamihitoyahk, kiyânaw ayisiyiniw kâ-ititoyahk.
I am a supporter of the Moose Hide Campaign and it is time that we raise Indigenous women above our current beliefs. niya niwîcikâpawîstên ôma môswa-ayân atoskâtamâkêwin (Moose Hide Campaign) êkwa ispayin ta-wihtamahk ôma kah-kitimâkêhikiwina, ta-kistêyimâyahkik kahkiyaw iskwêwak.
My aunts, cousins, daughter and friends are beautiful; they are courageous, humble, intelligent, loving, respectful, honest, hardworking. nikâwîsak, nisikosak, nitawêmâwak, nitânis, mîna nitôtêmak miyosiwak; sôhkitêhêwak, tah-tapêyimisowak, sâkihiwêwak, kistêyimowak, tâpwêyihtâkosiwak, sôhki-atoskêwak.
They deserve additional protection of our laws so people think twice before they destroy lives.


kitakî-manâcihihcik, kitakî-manâcihikocik oyasiwêwin, êkosi namôya sêmâk kita-kitimahihcik, namôya sêmâk ka-nisiwanâcihihcik.
Thank-you Tapwe
hay hay hay hay

After being denied translation service, Robert went on to raise a point of privilege – again using  Cree – about having been effectively silenced by the lack of translation services. CTV news includes video of his point of privilege:  mp-argues-in-cree-for-indigenous-languages-in-parliament

Here’s CBC’s coverage, after the fact:  cree-parliament-ouellette

And he’s still trying. (That’s the part where we all say ahkamêyimo, RFO!)

So what happens when you address Canada’s House of Commons in Cree? Robert tried again in September. Here’s how it looks in a screen grab from openparliament.ca




Leave a Reply

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

Contact Us: