In each one of us at the Cree Literacy Network, the story of a child using a dictionary to help her grandfather reclaim his lost language strikes a sacred chord.
The award-winning English edition of Melanie Florence‘s “Stolen Words” from Second Story Press, with illustrations by Gabrielle Grimard, began as a child-friendly lesson about residential school that included a few Cree words as illustration. What a delight to see the book evolve – through this immaculately prepared new Plains Cree edition in SRO – into a genuine contribution to Cree language revitalization.
In all of our work, Cree Literacy Network members share a sense of obligation to develop reading material that is written consistently. Because the language is sacred, we always try to write with care. Careless spelling cheats kids (and older readers, too). It traps them in sound-by-sound decoding that prevents them from developing stronger comprehension. Predictable spelling (in Cree, as in English, as in French, as in Ojibwe) empowers readers with a solid foundation that they can carry into every other aspect of education. Kids deserve nothing less.
Here, Solomon Ratt pronounces each of the six Cree words presented in the book’s English edition:
Read more about Stolen Words, and about the Plains Cree edition: