kîkwây kiwihtamâkonaw âcathohkîwina? What do our stories tell us? Solomon Ratt (th-dialect, audio)

* Scroll to the bottom to find Sol’s English version of this diagram

With thanks to Solomon Ratt for sharing in his mother language – Woodlands Cree (th-dialect), in honour of International Mother Language Day, 21 February 2019. You can read along with his video here – or you can use the following text (with or without accompanying audio) to study at your leisure. (Note that the diagram shown above uses y-dialect!) 

kîkwây kiwihtamâkonaw âcathohkîwina? cihcipiscikwân
ᑮᒁᕀ ᑭᐏᐦᑕᒫᑯᓇᐤ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑮᐏᓇ?
 
WHAT DO OUR STORIES TELL US: The Rolling Head.

tânisi mâka kayâs î-kî-itâpatahki âcathohkîwina?
ᒋᐦᒋᐱᐢᒋᒁᐣᑖᓂᓯ ᒫᑲ ᑲᔮᐢ ᐄ ᑮ ᐃᑖᐸᑕᐦᑭ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑮᐏᓇ?
How were sacred stories used long ago?

ispî mâna kâ-kî-pipohk onîkihikomâwak mâna kî-mâh-mâci-acathohkîwak, î-otamihâcik ocawâsimisiwâwa ispî kâ-pihcâ-tipiskâthik. nistam kâ-mispok mâna kâ-kî-mâci-âcathohkânowik.
ᐃᐢᐲ ᒫᓇ ᑳ ᑮ ᐱᐳᕽ ᐅᓃᑭᐦᐃᑯᒫᐘᐠ ᒫᓇ ᑮ ᒫᐦ ᒫᒋ ᐊᒐᖪᐦᑮᐘᐠ, ᐄ ᐅᑕᒥᐦᐋᒋᐠ ᐅᒐᐚᓯᒥᓯᐚᐘ ᐃᐢᐲ ᑳ ᐱᐦᒑ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᖨᐠ᙮ ᓂᐢᑕᒼ ᑳ ᒥᐢᐳᐠ ᒫᓇ ᑳ ᑮ ᒫᒋ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑳᓄᐏᐠ᙮
When winter set in it was the time for the parents to tell sacred stories to their children, thus occupying their children on long winter nights. They started to tell the sacred stories on the first fall of snow.

nikiskisin kâ-kî-awâsisiwiyân, ikota niwâskahikanisinânihk ninîkihikonânak kî-misi-pônamwak kotawânâpisk, kî-saskahamwak wâsiskocînikanisa, nikî-kîsôsimikonânak ikwa kî-mâc-âcathohkîwak. wîsahkîcâhkwa nîkan kâ-kî-âcimâcik.
ᓂᑭᐢᑭᓯᐣ ᑳ ᑮ ᐊᐚᓯᓯᐏᔮᐣ, ᐃᑯᑕ ᓂᐚᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᓂᓯᓈᓂᕽ ᓂᓃᑭᐦᐃᑯᓈᓇᐠ ᑮ ᒥᓯ ᐴᓇᒷᐠ ᑯᑕᐚᓈᐱᐢᐠ, ᑮ ᓴᐢᑲᐦᐊᒷᐠ ᐚᓯᐢᑯᒌᓂᑲᓂᓴ, ᓂᑮ ᑮᓲᓯᒥᑯᓈᓇᐠ ᐃᑿ ᑮ ᒫᒑᒐᖪᐦᑮᐘᐠ᙮ ᐑᓴᐦᑮᒑᐦᑿ ᓃᑲᐣ ᑳ ᑮ ᐋᒋᒫᒋᐠ᙮
I remember when I was a child: there in our cabin our parents would put lots of wood in the stove, light the candles, bundle us up in warm blankets then started telling the sacred stories. First they told stories about wîsahkîcâhk.

tâpiskôc mâna tîpithahk î-otamîhâwasocik ispî kâ-âcathohkîcik, wîtha mâna î-wawiyasîhtâkwahki anihi âcathohkîwina, ithikohk î-kâh-kakîpâtisit wîsahkîcâhk. namôtha mâka anima iyakohci poko, kî-kiskinwahamâkîmakanwa anihi âcathohkîwina. iyakoni ôho âcathohkîwina î-ohci-kiskinwahamâkîcik tânisi kita-isi-pimâtisicik ôta askîhk kâkikî kâ-pimipathik.
ᑖᐱᐢᑰᐨ ᒫᓇ ᑏᐱᖬᕽ ᐄ ᐅᑕᒦᐦᐋᐘᓱᒋᐠ ᐃᐢᐲ ᑳ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑮᒋᐠ, ᐑᖬ ᒫᓇ ᐄ ᐘᐏᔭᓰᐦᑖᑿᐦᑭ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑮᐏᓇ, ᐃᖨᑯᕽ ᐄ ᑳᐦ ᑲᑮᐹᑎᓯᐟ ᐑᓴᐦᑮᒑᕽ᙮ ᓇᒨᖬ ᒫᑲ ᐊᓂᒪ ᐃᔭᑯᐦᒋ ᐳᑯ, ᑮ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑮᒪᑲᓌ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑮᐏᓇ᙮ ᐃᔭᑯᓂ ᐆᐦᐅ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑮᐏᓇ ᐄ ᐅᐦᒋ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑮᒋᐠ ᑖᓂᓯ ᑭᑕ ᐃᓯ ᐱᒫᑎᓯᒋᐠ ᐆᑕ ᐊᐢᑮᕽ ᑳᑭᑮ ᑳ ᐱᒥᐸᖨᐠ᙮
It is as if the stories were told to merely occupy the children because the stories were funny and wîsahkîcâhk did many silly things. But that was not their only purpose, the stories were educational. These stories contain lessons on how to survive in our world which is always in flux.

mâmiskôtîtân nistam anima wîsahkîcâhk âcathohkîwin, ‘cihcipiscikwân’ kâ-icikâtîk. ikota âcathohkanihk kikakî-miskînaw kahkithaw kiskinwahamâkîwina wâsakâm-pimâtisiwin ohci:
ᒫᒥᐢᑰᑏᑖᐣ ᓂᐢᑕᒼ ᐊᓂᒪ ᐑᓴᐦᑮᒑᕽ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑮᐏᐣ, ‘ᒋᐦᒋᐱᐢᒋᒁᓂ ᑳ ᐃᒋᑳᑏᐠ᙮ ᐃᑯᑕ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑲᓂᕽ ᑭᑲᑮ ᒥᐢᑮᓇᐤ ᑲᐦᑭᖬᐤ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑮᐏᓇ ᐚᓴᑳᒼ ᐱᒫᑎᓯᐏᐣ ᐅᐦᒋ:
Let’s talk about first story of the wîsahkîcâhk cycle called ‘cihcipiscikwân – Rolling Head.’ In this story we can find all the teachings of the Circle of Life: 

1.niwayak isi-tapasîwak wîsahkîcâhk ikwa osîmisa, ispî kâ-tapasîhâcik cihcipiscikwâna;
ᓂᐘᔭᐠ ᐃᓯ ᑕᐸᓰᐘᐠ ᐑᓴᐦᑮᒑᕽ ᐃᑿ ᐅᓰᒥᓴ, ᐃᐢᐲ ᑳ ᑕᐸᓰᐦᐋᒋᐠ ᒋᐦᒋᐱᐢᒋᒁᓇ;
there are the four cardinal points in the flight of wîsahkîcâhk and his younger brother as they flee from the evil Rolling Head; 

2. iwâpamânawak kahkithaw itwiwihk pisiskiwak kâ-pimohtîcik kâ-pakâsimocik, kâ-pimithâcik, kâ-pimitâcimocik;
ᑭᐚᐸᒫᓇᐘᐠ ᑲᐦᑭᖬᐤ ᐃᑚᐏᕽ ᐱᓯᐢᑭᐘᐠ ᑳ ᐱᒧᐦᑏᒋᐠ ᑳ ᐸᑳᓯᒧᒋᐠ, ᑳ ᐱᒥᖭᒋᐠ, ᑳ ᐱᒥᑖᒋᒧᒋᐠ;
in the various characters who are in the story are represented four mode of mobility: walkers, swimmers, flyer, and crawlers;

3. kâ-ati-isi-pimâtisinâniwik: oskawâsisiwin, oskâyayiwin, kîsohpikihowin, ikwa kisiyayawin;
ᑳ ᐊᑎ ᐃᓯ ᐱᒫᑎᓯᓈᓂᐏᐠ: ᐅᐢᑲᐚᓯᓯᐏᐣ, ᐅᐢᑳᔭᔨᐏᐣ, ᑮᓱᐦᐱᑭᐦᐅᐏᐣ, ᐃᑿ ᑭᓯᔭᔭᐏᐣ;
four stages of life: infancy, adolescence, adulthood, and old age;

4. niyo itwihk kâ-itâniwin: athisitinîwin, pisiskiwin, oskihtîpakiwin, ikwa asinîwin;
ᓂᔪ ᐃᑚᕽ ᑳ ᐃᑖᓂᐏᐣ: ᐊᖨᓯᑎᓃᐏᐣ, ᐱᓯᐢᑭᐏᐣ, ᐅᐢᑭᐦᑏᐸᑭᐏᐣ, ᐃᑿ ᐊᓯᓃᐏᐣ;
four orders of life: human, animal, plant, and mineral;

5. niyo-ayâkîhiwin: askiy, iskotîw, nipiy, thîhthîwin;
ᓂᔪ ᐊᔮᑮᐦᐃᐏᐣ: ᐊᐢᑭᕀ, ᐃᐢᑯᑏᐤ, ᓂᐱᕀ, ᖩᐦᖩᐏᐣ;
four elements: earth, fire, water, and air;

6. niyo kîkwâya ohcitaw poko ta-ihtakohki ta-mitho-pimâtisinânowik: kanawîthimikosiwin, pimâcihiwîwin, ohpikihiwin, ikwa misiwîyâwin;
ᓂᔪ ᑮᒁᔭ ᐅᐦᒋᑕᐤ ᐳᑯ ᑕ ᐃᐦᑕᑯᐦᑭ ᑕ ᒥᖪ ᐱᒫᑎᓯᓈᓄᐏᐠ: ᑲᓇᐑᖨᒥᑯᓯᐏᐣ, ᐱᒫᒋᐦᐃᐑᐏᐣ, ᐅᐦᐱᑭᐦᐃᐏᐣ, ᐃᑿ ᒥᓯᐑᔮᐏᐣ;
four essential requirements for a healthy life: protection, nourishment, growth, and wholeness;

7. niyo isi-ayâwinwa: môsihtâwin, sôhkâtisiwin, mâmitonîthihtamowin, ikwa ahcahkowin.
ᓂᔪ ᐃᓯ ᐊᔮᐏᓌ: ᒨᓯᐦᑖᐏᐣ, ᓲᐦᑳᑎᓯᐏᐣ, ᒫᒥᑐᓃᖨᐦᑕᒧᐏᐣ, ᐃᑿ ᐊᐦᒐᐦᑯᐏᐣ᙮
four aspects of human nature: emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual.

8. ikwa otapasîwiniwâw î-âtotahkwâw tânisi kâ-pî-isi-pimôtîhocik nihithawak: sâkâstînohk ohci, sâwanohk isi, pahkisimotâhk isi, kîwîtinohk isi ikwa kâwi sâkâstînohk takopahtâwak. kapî ôta kikî-ayânaw.
ᐃᑿ ᐅᑕᐸᓰᐏᓂᐚᐤ ᐄ ᐋᑐᑕᐦᒁᐤ ᑖᓂᓯ ᑳ ᐲ ᐃᓯ ᐱᒨᑏᐦᐅᒋᐠ ᓂᐦᐃᖬᐘᐠ: ᓵᑳᐢᑏᓄᕽ ᐅᐦᒋ, ᓵᐘᓄᕽ ᐃᓯ, ᐸᐦᑭᓯᒧᑖᕽ ᐃᓯ, ᑮᐑᑎᓄᕽ ᐃᓯ ᐃᑿ ᑳᐏ ᓵᑳᐢᑏᓄᕽ ᑕᑯᐸᐦᑖᐘᐠ᙮ ᑲᐲ ᐆᑕ ᑭᑮ ᐊᔮᓇᐤ᙮
the flight of the boys is essentially a Cree migration story: from east to the south to the west to the north and back to the east. We were always here!

kîspin îkâ awasimî âcathohkîyahk kika-wanihtânaw ôhi kiskinwahamâkîwina.
ᑮᐢᐱᐣ ᐄᑳ ᐊᐘᓯᒦ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑮᔭᕽ ᑭᑲ ᐘᓂᐦᑖᓇᐤ ᐆᐦᐃ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑮᐏᓇ᙮
When we no longer tell our stories we lose all this education.

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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