In Memoriam: Darren Okemaysim – Blessings (y-dialect)

There is sad news today of the passing of Darren Okemaysim at the age of 53. miyo-pimohtêho, nitôtêm: Travel well, my friend. May the ancestors greet you with joy.  (Find the official obituary here.

We were blessed to have Darren with us as long as we did, and to witness how much he continued to offer to the Cree language. To honour him, we’d like to share this parable of life’s blessings, popular for years on the internet, to which Darren added Cree point of view. 

nâpêw kâ-kî-itwêt “mâmawôhtâwîmâw, pîkiskwâsin,” kihêw pêhtâkosiw ê-mâtot.
mâka ana nâpêw mwâc ohci-pêhtawêw.

êkosi têpwâtêw, “mâmawôhtâwîmâw pîkiskwâsin,” êkwa kaskitêwinâkwan kîsikohk êkwa kâ-kitôwak pêhtâkosiwak.
mâka môy ohci-pêhtam ana nâpêw.

papâmi-ây-îtâpiw êkwa itêw, “mâmawôhtâwîmâw mahti pê-wâpamin,” êkwa acâhkos kî-wâ-wâskotêpayiw.
mâka môy ohci-nâkatohkêw.

êkwa ana nâpêw têpwêw, “mâmawôhtâwîmâw mahti wâpahtihin mâmâhtâwi-kîkwây,” êkwa nîhtâwikîwin kâ-miyit.
mâka môy ohci-kiskêyihtam ana nâpêw.

êkosi, kî-ati-mâci-mâtow ana nâpêw ê-kitimâkîhtâkwahk, “sâminin mâmawôhtâwîmâw êkwa wâpahtihin ôta ê-ayâyan,” êkosi ani mâmawôhtâwîmâw pê-sâminêw ana nâpêwa.
mâka ana nâpêw sipwêyâmohkêw kamâmak kâ-pê-twêhot.

kiskêyihcikêwin kâ-kiskinohamâkawiyân: êkây pacipayi kîkwây mâmawôhtâwîmâw kâ-kiskinohamâsk môy ka-wâpahtihikawin kâ-isi-nitawêyihtaman.

ᓈᐯᐤ ᑳ ᑮ ᐃᑘᐟ “ᒫᒪᐕᐦᑖᐑᒫᐤ, ᐲᑭᐢᒁᓯᐣ,” ᑭᐦᐁᐤ ᐯᐦᑖᑯᓯᐤ ᐁ ᒫᑐᐟ᙮
ᒫᑲ ᐊᓇ ᓈᐯᐤ ᒹᐨ ᐅᐦᒋ ᐯᐦᑕᐍᐤ᙮

ᐁᑯᓯ ᑌᑇᑌᐤ, “ᒫᒪᐕᐦᑖᐑᒫᐤ ᐲᑭᐢᒁᓯᐣ,” ᐁᑿ ᑲᐢᑭᑌᐏᓈᑿᐣ ᑮᓯᑯᕽ ᐁᑿ ᑳ ᑭᑑᐘᐠ ᐯᐦᑖᑯᓯᐘᐠ᙮
ᒫᑲ ᒨᕀ ᐅᐦᒋ ᐯᐦᑕᒼ ᐊᓇ ᓈᐯᐤ᙮

ᐸᐹᒥ ᐋᔩᑖᐱᐤ ᐁᑿ ᐃᑌᐤ, “ᒫᒪᐕᐦᑖᐑᒫᐤ ᒪᐦᑎ ᐯ ᐚᐸᒥᐣ,” ᐁᑿ ᐊᒑᐦᑯᐢ ᑮ ᐚ ᐚᐢᑯᑌᐸᔨᐤ᙮
ᒫᑲ ᒨᕀ ᐅᐦᒋ ᓈᑲᑐᐦᑫᐤ᙮

ᐁᑿ ᐊᓇ ᓈᐯᐤ ᑌᐻᐤ, “ᒫᒪᐕᐦᑖᐑᒫᐤ ᒪᐦᑎ ᐚᐸᐦᑎᐦᐃᐣ ᒫᒫᐦᑖᐏ ᑮᒁᕀ,” ᐁᑿ ᓃᐦᑖᐏᑮᐏᐣ ᑳ ᒥᔨᐟ᙮
ᒫᑲ ᒨᕀ ᐅᐦᒋ ᑭᐢᑫᔨᐦᑕᒼ ᐊᓇ ᓈᐯᐤ᙮

ᐁᑯᓯ, ᑮ ᐊᑎ ᒫᒋ ᒫᑐᐤ ᐊᓇ ᓈᐯᐤ ᐁ ᑭᑎᒫᑮᐦᑖᑿᕽ, “ᓵᒥᓂᐣ ᒫᒪᐕᐦᑖᐑᒫᐤ ᐁᑿ ᐚᐸᐦᑎᐦᐃᐣ ᐆᑕ ᐁ ᐊᔮᔭᐣ,” ᐁᑯᓯ ᐊᓂ ᒫᒪᐕᐦᑖᐑᒫᐤ ᐯ ᓵᒥᓀᐤ ᐊᓇ ᓈᐯᐘ᙮
ᒫᑲ ᐊᓇ ᓈᐯᐤ ᓯᐻᔮᒧᐦᑫᐤ ᑲᒫᒪᐠ ᑳ ᐯ ᑘᐦᐅᐟ᙮

ᑭᐢᑫᔨᐦᒋᑫᐏᐣ ᑳ ᑭᐢᑭᓄᐦᐊᒫᑲᐏᔮᐣ: ᐁᑳᕀ ᐸᒋᐸᔨ ᑮᒁᕀ ᒫᒪᐕᐦᑖᐑᒫᐤ ᑳ ᑭᐢᑭᓄᐦᐊᒫᐢᐠ ᒨᕀ ᑲ ᐚᐸᐦᑎᐦᐃᑲᐏᐣ ᑳ ᐃᓯ ᓂᑕᐍᔨᐦᑕᒪᐣ᙮

The man said, “Creator, speak to me,” and an eagle cried.
But the man did not hear.

So the man yelled, “Creator speak to me!” And the thunder rolled across the sky.
But the man did not listen.

The man looked around and said, “Creator let me see you,” and a star shone brightly.
But the man did not notice.

The man shouted, “Creator show me a miracle,” and a life was born.
But the man did not know.

So the man cried out in despair: “Touch me Creator and let me know that you are here!” Whereupon Creator reached down and touched the man.
But the man brushed the butterfly away and walked on.

Moral of the story: Don’t miss out on a blessing because it isn’t packaged the way you expect. 

To find Darren’s other offerings to the Cree Literacy Network, follow this link:

19 Responses

  1. ayhay for sharing this beautiful translation, I remember reading it before. He will be missed many. I am glad for the links to his work.
    Keep up with the good work you do Arden.♥️🙏🏽

  2. Such sad news to hear. My prayers go to his family and blessings for a swift journey into the spirit world

  3. Yes it’s so sad to hear of his passing, yes he said he suffered enough, but still very sad, we never knew what he would say to tease in Cree, Condolence to the family

  4. Rest In Peace! Thank you for teaching us the the beauty of our language with such a passion! I was honoured to cross your path. Hiy hiy!

  5. The Library Services for Saskatchewan Aboriginal Peoples inc will greatly miss his wit and work in the library field, he had made many great contributions

  6. This is very sad news. He inspired and encouraged me to learn my language and I am working at that now. Was hoping to see him a few weeks back at a conference but he couldn’t attend. The last thing I messaged him was “I hope our paths cross soon”. Darren you will be missed and I will continue to learn

  7. My Dear Friend from SIFC. One smart man. Cree language was his purpose here on earth. He taught so many. Rey in Paradise Darren. 🙏🏼💙🙏🏼

  8. I often spoke to Darren, exchanging Cree words. More often asking him how to spell.
    He had a great sense of humour, Well done Darren.

    Our condolences to the family

  9. nistês has left to go be with the ancestors now. I’ve known Darren since the old SIFC days, some 32 years or so. In that time, I was honoured to be his best man when got married, a colleague, a best friend, and somewhere in between we adopted each other as brothers. I’ll miss him greatly, I’ll miss his unabridged humour the most. Rest well brother, until we meet again! 😔

  10. Awe so sad 😞 to hear Darren passed on to the spirit world. He loved to make jokes in Cree and make us laugh my partner Jeffrey his colleague at First Nations University and for me at SIFC. Darren had an ambition to retain our Cree Language, he was an accomplished instructor and shared many memories together during our student advocacy during our undergrad studies. He was in there like sticky gum fighting for post secondary funding not to be cut by INAC. He was a passionate man, Father, Son, uncle, brother, cousin and friend. So rest easy in the arms of our God\Creator, kesa mantou. Ekosani

  11. Fly high my brother. It was amazing to know you and the many belly laughs we shared as family. I’ll always remember you as a teacher, a family man, and incredibly loyal to his aboriginal language. I love you…until we meet again ❤️

  12. I admire Darren’s strength and resilience. It was devastating to find out when he first became sick – which was many years ago. I couldn’t believe how strong he was and how much faith he had and how many times he beat cancer. This didn’t stop him from accomplishing all he did with the Cree language. I met Darren when he was in La Ronge and his sons became friends with my sons and they gave us so much support since I was a single parent. We always had this special connection. I will miss you Darren and you are now at peace. We will not forget the work you have done in teaching and passing on the Cree language. condolences to the family.

  13. A great contributor to language learners. My condolences to his family, extended family, associates and friends.

  14. Darren will be greatly missed as he smiled and laughed through it all. He loved our Cree Language and he continue to light our fires to remember our first tongue. Thank you my friend for all that you done and your inspiration is in my heart! Tapwe

  15. Darren was my Cree teacher…but more than that…he was my friend. I shall miss his smile and laughter whenever I seen him. He taught me part of a heritage and culture that I probably never would’ve been taught outside of the classroom. It is true…your mother language is a very big part of who you are Thank you Darren and may the Creator welcome you into the Spirit world with open arms…

  16. I will miss your kind, generous, witty self Darren. Have a good journey home and say hello to the wakomakanak.

  17. Darren O, Warrior: Shining over us all from the Spirit World, Our Paths sometimes crisscrossed it was an honor to have a Great Man share his kindness and strength with our family, your zeal for being and doing was Passionate.
    ispimik ay nimitochik, aka northern lights will glow; love and light through this process>

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