If Not for my Children: Solomon Ratt (th-dialect)

otâkosîhk nikî-nitawi-âcimostawâwak okiskinwahamâkanisisak tânisi kâ-kî-ispathihikoyân ispî kâ-kî-sipwîhtahikawiyân ta-nitawi-ayamihcikîyân ayamihâwi-kiskinwahamâtowinkamikohk. ispî kâ-pôni-âcimoyân nikî-kâh-kakwîcimikwak awâsisak nanâtohk kakwîcihkîmowina.

piyak awâsis nikî-kakwîcimik: “mosôm, kikî-mithwîhtîn cî kâ-kî-kîsi-ayamihcikîyan?”

“îhî,” nikî-itâw, “nistam oti. mâka nikî-miskâson îkâ nânitaw ita î-kî-ohci-tîpiskamân, îkâ nânitaw ita î-kî-tipîthihtâkosiyân. namôtha awasimî nikî-tipîthihtâkosin nitiskonikanihk, namôtha mîna nikî-tipîthihtâkosin ôtînâhk, âyîtawâyihk ikota nikî-miskâson, î-kî-wanihoyân âyîtawâyihk askîya.

kotak awâsis kâ-kakwîcimit: “mosôm, tânisi mâka kâ-kî-isi-paspîyan?”

“kinwîsk nikî-wâh-wanohtân,” nikî-itâw, “mâka pîthisk nikî-miskîn nitatoskîwin, ôma atoskîwin î-mithwîthihtamân. ôma kâ-pî-kiskinwahamâkiyân mînâ kâ-nâh-nîhithawasinahikîyân. iyakoni ôho kâ-kî-paspîhikoyân. ninanâskomon wîtha athisk mihcît niwîci-kiskinwahamâkanak ikotî ohci ayamihâwi-kiskinwahamâtowikamikohk kî-osâmi-wanihowak, âyîtawâyihk nîso askîya wîthawâw î-kî-micimwâcîcik.”

kîspin êkâ ohci nitawâsimisak nika-kî-micimosinihtay âyêtawâyihk askiya. ninanâskomon – I am grateful.

ᐅᑖᑯᓰᕽ ᓂᑮ ᓂᑕᐏ ᐋᒋᒧᐢᑕᐚᐘᐠ ᐅᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑲᓂᓯᓴᐠ ᑖᓂᓯ ᑳ ᑮ ᐃᐢᐸᖨᐦᐃᑯᔮᐣ ᐃᐢᐲ ᑳ ᑮ ᓯᐿᐦᑕᐦᐃᑲᐏᔮᐣ ᑕ ᓂᑕᐏ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᒋᑮᔮᐣ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᐋᐏ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑐᐏᐣᑲᒥᑯᕽ᙮ ᐃᐢᐲ ᑳ ᐴᓂ ᐋᒋᒧᔮᐣ ᓂᑮ ᑳᐦ ᑲᑹᒋᒥᑿᐠ ᐊᐚᓯᓴᐠ ᓇᓈᑐᕽ ᑲᑹᒋᐦᑮᒧᐏᓇ᙮

ᐱᔭᐠ ᐊᐚᓯᐢ ᓂᑮ ᑲᑹᒋᒥᐠ: “ᒧᓲᒼ, ᑭᑮ ᒥᙹᐦᑏᐣ ᒌ ᑳ ᑮ ᑮᓯ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᒋᑮᔭᐣ?”

“ᐄᐦᐄ,” ᓂᑮ ᐃᑖᐤ, “ᓂᐢᑕᒼ ᐅᑎ᙮ ᒫᑲ ᓂᑮ ᒥᐢᑳᓱᐣ ᐄᑳ ᓈᓂᑕᐤ ᐃᑕ ᐄ ᑮ ᐅᐦᒋ ᑏᐱᐢᑲᒫᐣ, ᐄᑳ ᓈᓂᑕᐤ ᐃᑕ ᐄ ᑮ ᑎᐲᖨᐦᑖᑯᓯᔮᐣ᙮ ᓇᒨᖬ ᐊᐘᓯᒦ ᓂᑮ ᑎᐲᖨᐦᑖᑯᓯᐣ ᓂᑎᐢᑯᓂᑲᓂᕽ, ᓇᒨᖬ ᒦᓇ ᓂᑮ ᑎᐲᖨᐦᑖᑯᓯᐣ ᐆᑏᓈᕽ, ᐋᔩᑕᐚᔨᕽ ᐃᑯᑕ ᓂᑮ ᒥᐢᑳᓱᐣ, ᐄ ᑮ ᐘᓂᐦᐅᔮᐣ ᐋᔩᑕᐚᔨᕽ ᐊᐢᑮᔭ᙮

ᑯᑕᐠ ᐊᐚᓯᐢ ᑳ ᑲᑹᒋᒥᐟ: “ᒧᓲᒼ, ᑖᓂᓯ ᒫᑲ ᑳ ᑮ ᐃᓯ ᐸᐢᐲᔭᐣ?”

“ᑭᐣᐑᐢᐠ ᓂᑮ ᐚᐦ ᐘᓄᐦᑖᐣ,” ᓂᑮ ᐃᑖᐤ, “ᒫᑲ ᐲᖨᐢᐠ ᓂᑮ ᒥᐢᑮᐣ ᓂᑕᑐᐢᑮᐏᐣ, ᐆᒪ ᐊᑐᐢᑮᐏᐣ ᐄ ᒥᙹᖨᐦᑕᒫᐣ᙮ ᐆᒪ ᑳ ᐲ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑭᔮᐣ ᒦᓈ ᑳ ᓈᐦ ᓃᐦᐃᖬᐘᓯᓇᐦᐃᑮᔮᐣ᙮ ᐃᔭᑯᓂ ᐆᐦᐅ ᑳ ᑮ ᐸᐢᐲᐦᐃᑯᔮᐣ᙮ ᓂᓇᓈᐢᑯᒧᐣ ᐑᖬ ᐊᖨᐢᐠ ᒥᐦᒌᐟ ᓂᐑᒋ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑲᓇᐠ ᐃᑯᑏ ᐅᐦᒋ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᐋᐏ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑐᐏᑲᒥᑯᕽ ᑮ ᐅᓵᒥ ᐘᓂᐦᐅᐘᐠ, ᐋᔩᑕᐚᔨᕽ ᓃᓱ ᐊᐢᑮᔭ ᐑᖬᐚᐤ ᐄ ᑮ ᒥᒋᒹᒌᒋᐠ᙮”

ᑮᐢᐱᐣ ᐁᑳ ᐅᐦᒋ ᓂᑕᐚᓯᒥᓴᐠ ᓂᑲ ᑮ ᒥᒋᒧᓯᓂᐦᑕᐩ ᐋᔦᑕᐚᔨᕽ ᐊᐢᑭᔭ᙮ ᓂᓇᓈᐢᑯᒧᐣ – ᐃ ᐊᒼ grateful.

Yesterday I went to share my experiences at the residential school with some elementary students. When I finished telling my story the children asked me all sorts of questions.

One child asked: “Grandfather, were you happy when you finished school?”

“Yes,” I said. “That is, at first. But then I found that I did not fit in anywhere. I felt that I did not belong on the reserve, nor did I belong in the city. I found myself betwixt and between two worlds, lost.

Another child asked: “Grandfather, how did you survive?”

“I wandered about lost for a long time,” I said to her, “but I eventually found my work, this work that I enjoy. All the years I spent teaching and my writing in Cree. These were the things that saved me. I am grateful because many of my fellow students from the residential school were lost, stuck in between two worlds.”

If not for my children, I would have been caught in the wastelands between two worlds. ninanâskomon – I am grateful.

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One Response

  1. Truth… lost between two worlds. Stories like yours hits a place in the hearts of many that are still lost but will know now that we do belong somewhere Thank you Solomon Ratt for this.

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