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))
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.”