Teaching Fractions: Barry Ahenakew

Math concepts in Cree are particularly important for immersion classrooms, but they’re not often addressed in language textbooks. Thanks to Elder Barry L. Ahenakew for sharing this lesson on fractions.

Other numbers can be turned into fractional denominators by adding the suffix -os (presumably we could also express “one quarter” as “one fourth” and so on): 

  • mitâtahtomitanawâw = 100 : mitâtahtomitanawâwos = one hundredth (1/100) 
  • nêwo = 4 : nêwos = one fourth (1/4)

To write whole numbers-plus-fractions, use mîna. 

  • pêyak mîna âpihtaw = 1-1/2 
  • nîso mîna niyânan nikotwâsikos = 2-5/6 

Odds and evens: More important math concepts, Barry says people seem to have lost these terms. In the sweat lodge, for example, the number of stones is always nanahi, never kâhtap, though the actual number differs depending on the ceremony. 

  • kâhtap = odd number
  • nanahi = even number 



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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