Thanks to Melissa Saganash for permitting us to share her photos and FaceBook comments about the launch of this newly completed Dictionary of Moose Cree, edited and guided by her brother Dr Kevin (Kepin) Brousseau. Moose Cree (also known as the l-dialect) is spoken around Moose Factory, Ontario, the heart of Moose Cree First Nation, and the launch was held at “The Gathering Place” near the Northern Store in Moose Factory.
Any dictionary is a labour of love: Melissa’s photos (above and in the gallery below) give us a taste of the breadth of community engagement that makes this one so special. Geraldine Govender, as Director of Language & Cultural Programs and Chair of the Cultural Projects Working Group funded by the Amisk-oo-skow agreement also had a big role to play. I am personally proud to have met two of the contributing elders, Agnes Corston and George Quachegan, in the course of other work for Moose Cree First Nation. The Cree Literacy Network shares every bit of Melissa’s pride and that of the whole MCFN community in unveiling this monumental achievement!
Today, the Moose Cree First Nation had a special event in their community to launch their brand new Moose Cree Dictionary. For years, my brother Kepin has been working on lexicons and dictionaries. But, this one — this one is incredibly beautiful aside from being the largest single-dialect dictionary to have been published. There’s even a verb conjugation table!
Over 24,000 entries. Twenty-four thousand words that have been carefully researched and verified with expert speakers from the community. Hand-sketched pictures by the one and only Jimmy Tim Whiskeychan to illustrate some very specific words grace the pages of the dictionary. The art cover is from Holly Pichette, another Cree artist. This is a communal labour of love. Love for the language, for the carriers of the language, and the stories their words build.
I don’t know how you do it, but you do. We are very proud of you, brother. Look at how proud Mom was when she held your dictionary after it was delivered! Congratulations on an impressive master work of art.
Because he was hard at work in Timmins, Kepin (who also happens to be a medical doctor) was unable to attend the launch himself (that’s him with the stethoscope in the gallery below). You can also follow his Cree language work on his blog: Kepin’s work on Cree language at his blog: https://creelanguage.wordpress.com/
An online “talking” version of the dictionary (based on the previous print edition) can also be found online at http://talkingdictionary.swarthmore.edu/
The full online dictionary can be found at: https://moosecree.ca/
Find the official Moose Cree First Nation report on the launch here: https://www.moosecree.com/moose-cree-dictionary-book-launch/