Back to School: Solomon Ratt

This 1967 photo from Sol’s personal collection dates from about 1967 or 68. His childhood home with its green roof is visible to the left, at the small bay.

ikospî ôma mâna kâ-kî-ihkihk kâ-kî-pî-natikawiyâhk kâwi kita-nitawi-ayamihcicîyâhk kistapinânihk, ayamihâwi-kiskinwahamâtowikamikohk.
kî-mâh-misakâwak mâna ithiniwak ohpimî ohci itî kâ-kî-nîpinisicik. nitôtîminânak mâna nikî-pî-nâtikonânak ta-wîci-mîtawîmâyâhkwâw, aspin kâ-kî-pî-kîwîyâhk kâ-kî-ati-nîpihk iskwâyâc kâ-kî-wâpamâyâhkwâw. kapî-nîpin mâna nîthanân âmaciwîspimowinihk nikî-nîpinisinân, nîthanân nîcisânak ikwa ninîkihikonânak. kapî î-otâkosik nikî-mâh-mîtawânân. nikî-môcikihtâkosinân îtokî. kâ-pî-kîkisîpâyâk nika-ohpahonân ikota ohci.
kayâs kâ-awâsisîwiyân namwâc nohci- mâmitonîthimâwak aniki niwâhkômâkaninânak kâ-kî-nakatâyâhkwâw.
mâka anohc ôma nimâmitonîthihtîn:
piyak î-otâkisik kî-môcikihtâkosowak awâsisak î-mîtawîcik;
kotak î-otâkosik kî-kipîhtowîw; kipîhtowîwin poko astîw.
ᐃᑯᐢᐲ ᐆᒪ ᒫᓇ ᑳ ᑮ ᐃᐦᑭᕽ ᑳ ᑮ ᐲ ᓇᑎᑲᐏᔮᕽ ᑳᐏ ᑭᑕ ᓂᑕᐏ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᒋᒌᔮᕽ ᑭᐢᑕᐱᓈᓂᕽ, ᐊᔭᒥᐦᐋᐏ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑐᐏᑲᒥᑯᕽ᙮
ᑮ ᒫᐦ ᒥᓴᑳᐘᐠ ᒫᓇ ᐃᖨᓂᐘᐠ ᐅᐦᐱᒦ ᐅᐦᒋ ᐃᑏ ᑳ ᑮ ᓃᐱᓂᓯᒋᐠ᙮ ᓂᑑᑏᒥᓈᓇᐠ ᒫᓇ ᓂᑮ ᐲ ᓈᑎᑯᓈᓇᐠ ᑕ ᐑᒋ ᒦᑕᐑᒫᔮᐦᒁᐤ, ᐊᐢᐱᐣ ᑳ ᑮ ᐲ ᑮᐑᔮᕽ ᑳ ᑮ ᐊᑎ ᓃᐱᕽ ᐃᐢᒁᔮᐨ ᑳ ᑮ ᐚᐸᒫᔮᐦᒁᐤ᙮ ᑲᐲ ᓃᐱᐣ ᒫᓇ ᓃᖬᓈᐣ ᐋᒪᒋᐑᐢᐱᒧᐏᓂᕽ ᓂᑮ ᓃᐱᓂᓯᓈᐣ, ᓃᖬᓈᐣ ᓃᒋᓵᓇᐠ ᐃᑿ ᓂᓃᑭᐦᐃᑯᓈᓇᐠ᙮ ᑲᐲ ᐄ ᐅᑖᑯᓯᐠ ᓂᑮ ᒫᐦ ᒦᑕᐚᓈᐣ᙮ ᓂᑮ ᒨᒋᑭᐦᑖᑯᓯᓈᐣ ᐄᑐᑮ᙮ ᑳ ᐲ ᑮᑭᓰᐹᔮᐠ ᓂᑲ ᐅᐦᐸᐦᐅᓈᐣ ᐃᑯᑕ ᐅᐦᒋ᙮
ᑲᔮᐢ ᑳ ᐊᐚᓯᓰᐏᔮᐣ ᓇᒹᐨ ᓄᐦᒋ- ᒫᒥᑐᓃᖨᒫᐘᐠ ᐊᓂᑭ ᓂᐚᐦᑰᒫᑲᓂᓈᓇᐠ ᑳ ᑮ ᓇᑲᑖᔮᐦᒁᐤ᙮
ᒫᑲ ᐊᓄᐦᐨ ᐆᒪ ᓂᒫᒥᑐᓃᖨᐦᑏᐣ:
ᐱᔭᐠ ᐄ ᐅᑖᑭᓯᐠ ᑮ ᒨᒋᑭᐦᑖᑯᓱᐘᐠ ᐊᐚᓯᓴᐠ ᐄ ᒦᑕᐑᒋᐠ;
ᑯᑕᐠ ᐄ ᐅᑖᑯᓯᐠ ᑮ ᑭᐲᐦᑐᐑᐤ; ᑭᐲᐦᑐᐑᐏᐣ ᐳᑯ ᐊᐢᑏᐤ᙮
It is at this time of the year that we were fetched to go back to school in Prince Albert, to the Residential School. The people would arrive by boat from their summer camps where they had spent their summers. Our friends whom we had not seen since we came home at the beginning of summer when we came home came to get us to play with them. Me and my siblings and my parents spent the summer in Stanley Mission.
We played all evening. Maybe we sounded joyful. In the morning we would fly away from there.
Long ago when I was a child I never thought of the relatives we had left behind.
But today I am thinking of this:
one evening the joyful sounds of children playing;
the next evening silence; only the silence remains.
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