Animal Song: Art Napoleon (Northern y-dialect)

In honour of International Mother Tongue Day, Art Napoleon shared this very sweet song that he wrote in Northern y-dialect. (I suspect he may have written it for his own little Niska). As Art says: “Here’s a little song in Northern Cree from my old kid’s album that celebrates our kinship to the animal world. Their habitats are our habitats ❤️” 

Transcription is my own, with thanks for corrections to Solomon Ratt. (Always grateful for the teamwork!) Note that the ê sound is not used in Northern y-dialect, and Art pronounces ê as î.

Sol also suggested two additional verses – it would be great fun to get kids to add their own verses as well, about various animals (or people!) and their homes.

Art’s “old kids’ album” is still available for purchase online. It’s called Môcikan.

niska, ô niska
tânitê mâka kiwî-itohtân?
sâwanohk, ô sâwanohk
êkotê mâna ê-wîkiyân
Goose, oh goose
Where is it that you are going?
To the south, to the south
That’s where I usually live.
môswa, o môswa
tânitê mâka kiwî-itohtân?
sakâhk, ô sakâhk
êkotê mâna ê-wîkiyân
Moose, oh moose
Where is that you are going?
To the forest, to the forest
That's where I usually live.
êkotê mâna
êkotê mâna
êkotê mâna ê-wîkiyân
That's where,
that's where,
That's where I usually live
kinosêw, ô kinosêw
tânitê mâka kiwî-itohtân?
sâkahikanihk, o sâkahikanihk
êkotê mâna ê-wîkiyân
Fish, oh fish
Where is that you are going?
To the lake, to the lake
That's where I usually live
kihêw, ô kihêw
tânite mâka kiwî-itohtân?
kîsikohk, kîsikohk
êkota mâna ê-pimâtisiyân
Eagle, oh eagle,
Where is it that you are going?
To the sky, to the sky
That's where I usually live
êkota mâna
êkota mâna
êkota mâna ê-pimâtisiyân.
That's where,
that's where,
That's where I usually live
[Two more suggested verses - other animals could be added]
wînasakâtihp, ô wînasakâtihp
tânitê mâka kiwî-itohtân?
wâtihk, ô wâtihk
êkotê mâna ê-wîkiyân.
Groundhog, oh groundhog
Where is that you are going?
In a hole, in a hole,
That's where I usually live
amisk , ô amisk
tânitê mâka kiwî-itohtân?
wîstihk, ô wîstihk
êkotê mâna ê-wîkiyân.
Beaver, oh beaver
Where is it that you are going?
To the lodge, to the lodge,
That's where I usually live

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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