êkwa mîna kêhtêskwêw: Billy Joe Laboucan (y-dialect)

Chief Billy Joe Laboucan’s mother, Josephine Laboucan (nee Sawan), photographed by Douglas Gladue

Billy Joe Laboucan is quick to point out that his late mother (okâwipana) was also a kêhtêskwêw (old woman) full of wisdom. She grew up in the bush, kept hidden from residential school. Billy Joe kindly shared some of her words with us to stand beside those of his father. He says, “I didn’t even have to tell her what was troubling me; she knew… like mothers seem to do…”

Mom said, “nikosis, kāya kikiska kikisowitêhêwin, kamāyiskākon anima.”
My son, don’t wear your angry heart, it will make you sick.”


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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