Maybe you’re not a language keeper: Prestin Mercredi-Fleming

Thanks to Prestin Mercredi-Fleming of Stanley Mission (born in Yellowknife), not only for sharing this resonant poem of affirmation currently making the rounds on FaceBook, but particularly for permitting Solomon Ratt to prepare a Cree translation for us to share and reflect upon. Thanks also to popular artist Isaac Murdoch for generous approval of use of his images. This image, which he captioned, “True love of self is full of freedom” seems to capture the idea of honouring one’s own strengths.
Maybe you're not a language keeperWoodlands Cree Translation
Prestin Mercredi-FlemingSolomon Ratt (with permission)
Maybe you're not a language keeper,ahpô îtokî namwâc kîtha kimiciminîn pîkiskwîwin
But know the songs.mâka kikiskîthihtîn nikamona.
Maybe you're not a basket weaver,ahpô îtokî namwâc kîtha kitapîhkân watapîwata
But know the roots.mâka kikiskîthihtîn ocîhpihkwa.
Maybe you don't keep the medicines,ahpô îtokî namwâc kîtha kimiciminîn maskihkiya
But you keep the children.mâka kinâkatîthimâwak awâsisak.
Maybe you're not a dancer,ahpô îtokî namôtha kîtha onîmihitow
But you make the regalia.mâka kitosîhtân wâwisîho-ayânisa.
Maybe you don't keep a lodge,ahpô îtokî namwâc kîtha kikanawîthihtîn mitîwikamik
But you keep the fire.mâka kikanawîskotîwân.
We don't need to be all of the thingsnamôtha katâc kahkithaw ôho kita-kaskîhtâyan
To be Indigenousta-ithinîwiyan;
To be worthyta-kihcîthimikawiyan;
To be valuedta-mithwîthimikawiyan;
To belong.ta-akisoyan.
We had societies and ourkikî-ayânaw mitîwina ikwa kikî-itôtînaw
Roles were specific to our gifts.poka anihi kîkwaya kâ-kî-mîthikowisiyahk.
Quit exhausting your Spiritpôno mîstiskaw kitahcahk
Trying to be gifted at everything.ta-kakwî-mamâhtâkosiyan kahkithaw kîkway.
It doesn't make you more Traditional.namôtha awasimî kika-nîhithawâtisin.
Slow down and honor your strengths.piyahtakisi, kistîthim kitahcahk.

4 Responses

  1. My steps have become slower and I suppose it’s to honor my strengths. Now just to remember where i put them. lol..

    Thanks for sharing this and its translation, it is an inspiring poem and I thank you.

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