Black Lives Matter (with audio)

th-dialect form (for those who aren’t already on their way to protest!)
kaskitîwithiniwak opimâtisiwiniwâw î-ispîthihtâkwanithik

We choose kaskitêwiyiniwak, made up of kaskitê– meaning “black” (or “brown” in context), and iyiniwak (meaning people/living beings). The literal translation of opimâtisiwiniwâw is “all of their lives.”

Of course, there are always other ways of expressing the same idea. For our meme, we chose the word ispîhtêyihtam, “s/he regards s.t. so; s/he holds s.t. in such regard.”

Thank you to Elder Barry Ahenakew for letting us know he prefers the word akihtêw “it counts, it is counted.” With this verb, we could rewrite the slogan as:

kaskitêwiyiniwak opimâtisiwiniwâw âh-akihtêyiw
(or)
kaskitêwiyiniwak opimâtisiwiniwâwa âh-akihtêyiwa

Thanks to Chelsea Vowel for her FaceBook reflections on “kaskitêwiyiniwak” as well. They are worth preserving here:

 I especially love that it affirms the Indigeneity of Black people, however fractured those ties to homelands are as a result of the transatlantic slave trade, and ongoing colonialism. It’s a term of solidarity instead of being reductive only to colour of flesh, while highlighting that Blackness is a focal point of the racism that Black people experience. I think there is also a lot of room to have deeper discussions with Black people about a Cree term to refer to them that is more descriptive of how they see themselves outside of European racial categories.

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