ita kiskîthihtamowin kâ-ohtinamahk: where we get knowledge (Solomon Ratt: th-dialect)


(Following is audio for the title we’ve given this post, “ita kiskîthihtamowin kâ-ohtinamahk”:)

The highly regarded Anishinaabe poet Basil H. Johnston is the source of the English quote translated here. This meme is more sophisticated than many we post here, but there’s a reason for that. As much as we love encouraging beginners, we also hope that students and speakers of all levels will find challenges that lead them to become more sophisticated in their own reading, speaking and understanding.

Sol prepared this translation to challenge the students in his “Cree Literature in Translation” (INDL 241) class at First Nations University, but we’re pleased to share it as a reminder of the depth of traditional knowledge embedded in legends, stories and songs that exists beyond individual words.

The text follows below (in SRO and in syllabics) so users can work through it using the itwêwina online lookup tool (still under development at the University of Alberta’s AltLab) that is embedded in this site. Click on the symbol at the left margin of this page to learn more; use Alt-click (or Option-click on Mac) to look up each word in turn.

kiyâm âta î-mithwâsiki itwîwina mîna pîkiskwîwina apisîs poko ikota kâ-astîki ithiniw-kiskîthihtamowina, ithinîsiwina, ikwa mâmitonîthihcikîwina, nawac mistahi kiskîthihtamowin astîw âcathohkîwinihk, âcimowinihk, ikwa nikamowinihk ikota kâ-isi-mâmawinamahk kahkithaw kikiskîthihtamowininawa.

ikota ka-miskînaw kahkithaw kîkway kâ-ohci-kiskîthimisoyahk, ita kâ-ohci-nîhithawâtisiyahk, nanâtohk itîthihcikîwina, nanâtohk itîthihtamowina, nanâtohk môsihtâwina, ikwa nanâtohk âcimisiwina kâ-pî-isi-itahkamikisiyahk ta-ohpinamahk kiskinwahamâtowina ikwa nîhithaw-isîhcikîwina ikwa nanâtohk isihcikîwina.

ᑭᔮᒼ ᐋᑕ ᐄ ᒥᙽᓯᑭ ᐃᑜᐏᓇ ᒦᓇ ᐲᑭᐢᑹᐏᓇ ᐊᐱᓰᐢ ᐳᑯ ᐃᑯᑕ ᑳ ᐊᐢᑏᑭ ᐃᖨᓂᐤ ᑭᐢᑮᖨᐦᑕᒧᐏᓇ, ᐃᖨᓃᓯᐏᓇ, ᐃᑿ ᒫᒥᑐᓃᖨᐦᒋᑮᐏᓇ, ᓇᐘᐨ ᒥᐢᑕᐦᐃ ᑭᐢᑮᖨᐦᑕᒧᐏᐣ ᐊᐢᑏᐤ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑮᐏᓂᕽ, ᐋᒋᒧᐏᓂᕽ, ᐃᑿ ᓂᑲᒧᐏᓂᕽ ᐃᑯᑕ ᑳ ᐃᓯ ᒫᒪᐏᓇᒪᕽ ᑲᐦᑭᖬᐤ ᑭᑭᐢᑮᖨᐦᑕᒧᐏᓂᓇᐘ᙮

ᐃᑯᑕ ᑲ ᒥᐢᑮᓇᐤ ᑲᐦᑭᖬᐤ ᑮᑿᕀ ᑳ ᐅᐦᒋ ᑭᐢᑮᖨᒥᓱᔭᕽ, ᐃᑕ ᑳ ᐅᐦᒋ ᓃᐦᐃᖬᐚᑎᓯᔭᕽ, ᓇᓈᑐᕽ ᐃᑏᖨᐦᒋᑮᐏᓇ, ᓇᓈᑐᕽ ᐃᑏᖨᐦᑕᒧᐏᓇ, ᓇᓈᑐᕽ ᒨᓯᐦᑖᐏᓇ, ᐃᑿ ᓇᓈᑐᕽ ᐋᒋᒥᓯᐏᓇ ᑳ ᐲ ᐃᓯ ᐃᑕᐦᑲᒥᑭᓯᔭᕽ ᑕ ᐅᐦᐱᓇᒪᕽ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑐᐏᓇ ᐃᑿ ᓃᐦᐃᖬᐏᓰᐦᒋᑮᐏᓇ ᐃᑿ ᓇᓈᑐᕽ ᐃᓯᐦᒋᑮᐏᓇ᙮

“As rich and full of meaning as may be individual words and expressions they embody only a small portion of the entire stock and potential of tribal knowledge, wisdom, and intellectual attainment, the greater part is deposited in myth, legends, stories, and in the lyrics of chants that make up the tribe’s literature. Therein will be found the essence and substance of tribal ideas, concepts, insights, attitudes, values, beliefs, theories, notions, sentiments, and accounts of their institutions and rituals and ceremonies.”
Basil H. Johnson
“One Generation from Extinction” in
Native Writers and Canadian Writing: Canadian Literature
Special Issue. Vancouver, UBC Press, 1990.

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