wīci-kisēyiniwa: Billy Joe Laboucan (y-dialect)

Edward Laboucan, photographed by Douglas Gladue.

Sometimes we like to joke here about the “wisdom of Solomon,” but we’re also grateful to pass on the wisdom of his wīci-kisēyiniwa (fellow old men), like these teachings that Chief Billy Joe Laboucan remembers from ohtāwīpana (his late father), and permitted us to share here: 

My dad would tell us, “pīkiskwātihkok kitawāsimisiwāwak,” as we were growing up, “tānisīsi kīkwāy ta-isi-kiskēyihtamwak?” (Speak to your children: how else will they learn anything?)

His other teaching was, “ka-wīhtamātin: āta ēkā cēskwa nisitohtamani, misawāc otī nīkān ka-ati-nisitohtēn,” (I will tell you: even if you don’t understand now, you will understand in the future.)

My dad was also very patient, and rarely ever got angry at anyone or any situation, no matter how difficult or impossible as it may seem. Of all his teachings, I still struggle with impatience and get angry sometimes over situations that require no anger.

But once in awhile when I am contemplating a situation, I will remember my dad’s words on that very situation, and I think, “ēkosi cikāni nipāpā kā-kī-itwīt… !” (That is what my dad had said…!)

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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