Lest We Forget 2020: Solomon Ratt (th- and y-dialects)

Beaded poppies at Wanuskewin Heritage Centre (no date)

What does it mean when we say, “Lest We Forget,” and how do we say it in Cree? 

There are many ways of translating this phrase into Cree, but even in English, “lest” is not a common word anymore – which makes it even more challenging to translate. The phrase “Lest We Forget” usually appears with the poppies we wear for Remembrance Day – with hand-beaded poppies a particularly poignant reminder of the importance of Indigenous Veterans. The poppies themselves are the reminder: they help us ensure that we don’t forget. Here are y- and th-dialect versions of the phrase that capture the traditional English meaning  (with thanks to Solomon Ratt and Arok Wolvengrey). 

ka-kêhcinâhoyahk êkâ ta-kî-wanikiskisiyahk

“Lest we forget” (lit., to make sure that we don’t forget (y-dialect))

ta-kîhcinâhoyahk îkâ ta-waniskisiyahk

“Lest we forget” (lit., to make sure that we don’t forget (th-dialect))

A beaded poppy from Sol’s personal collection. Raised beadwork with quills from his niece, Tammy Joan Ratt.


How to say poppy in Cree? Solomon Ratt suggests: kiskisiwini-wâpikwaniy, lit., “Remembrance flower”

Looking for more Remembrance Day resources? Just look for “Remembrance Day” in the Category pulldown box on the right, including Dolores Greyeyes’ reading of “In Flanders Fields.” 


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.
This entry was posted in Audio (th-dialect), Audio (y-dialect), Remembrance Day, Solomon Ratt. Bookmark the permalink.

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