A Love Song for his Children: Billy Joe Laboucan (y-dialect)

Billy Joe Laboucan and his four beautiful daughters: Maria Meequon Charity Laboucan Melina Laboucan-Massimo and the late Bella Laboucan; his two sons are missing from this photo.

Thanks to Chief Billy Joe for letting us share this poem (that really ought to be a love song). Maybe a tune will come to him some time soon. And thanks to Solomon Ratt for recording his reading of Billy Joe’s work. 

nikiskēyihtēn ēkā ēkota ē-kī-ayāyān,
kā-kī-mēkwā-ohpikīyan.
nisākihitōwin ēkota kī-ayāw,
kā-kī-mēkwā-ohpikīyān….
kaskēyihtamowin kapē-tipisk ayamihāwinihk
kīspin ē-itēyihtamān ēkota ta-ayāyān…
ē-kī-kiskēyihtamān ēkā cīki takī-ayāyān
māka nisākihitōwinihk cīki nitayān

ᓂᑭᐢᑫᔨᐦᑌᐣ ᐁᑳ ᐁᑯᑕ ᐁ ᑮ ᐊᔮᔮᐣ,
ᑳ ᑮ ᒣᒁ ᐅᐦᐱᑮᔭᐣ᙮
ᓂᓵᑭᐦᐃᑑᐏᐣ ᐁᑯᑕ ᑮ ᐊᔮᐤ,
ᑳ ᑮ ᒣᒁ ᐅᐦᐱᑮᔮᐣ….
ᑲᐢᑫᔨᐦᑕᒧᐏᐣ ᑲᐯ ᑎᐱᐢᐠ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᐋᐏᓂᕽ
ᑮᐢᐱᐣ ᐁ ᐃᑌᔨᐦᑕᒫᐣ ᐁᑯᑕ ᑕ ᐊᔮᔮᐣ…
ᐁ ᑮ ᑭᐢᑫᐦᔨᐦᑕᒫᐣ ᐁᑳ ᒌᑭ ᑕᑮ ᐊᔮᔮᐣ
ᒫᑲ ᓂᓵᑭᐦᐃᑑᐏᓂᕽ ᒌᑭ ᓂᑕᔮᐣ

I know I wasn’t there 
As you grew up.
My love was there,
As I grew up ...
Lonely nights filled in prayer
Wishing I was there …
Knowing that I couldn’t be near,
Only in my love I’m everywhere.
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