Knowledge: Solomon Ratt (y-dialect)


The reflection that follows was triggered by a respectful exchange between experts from two distinct worlds. One is Solomon Ratt the university professor, the other is his distant nephew Gerald McKenzie, who has won the title of King Trapper in competition no fewer than 11 times. It is no small irony that each has been so shielded from the world of the other, given their many shared ancestors and birth right.


âkayâsîmowin mîna nêhiyawasinahikêwin
mâka namôya nikakî-pakitahwân
ahpô namôya nikakî-wanihikân
tâpiskôc kiya.

nanâtohk masinahikêwin
mîna tânisi ta-isi-kiskinwahamâkêhk
mâka namwâc nikakî-mâcîn
namwâc nikakî-mâtâhwâw môswa
sâpo sakâhk ahpô akâmi-maskêkohk
tâpiskôc kiya.

nitaspêyimon masinahikana ta-wîcihikoyân
kiya wiya, kitaspêyimon kikiskisiwin


ᓂᑲᑮ ᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑳᐣ
ᐋᑲᔮᓰᒧᐏᐣ ᒦᓇ ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐘᓯᓇᐦᐃᑫᐏᐣ
ᒫᑲ ᓇᒨᔭ ᓂᑲᑮ ᐸᑭᑕᐦᐚᐣ
ᐊᐦᐴ ᓇᒨᔭ ᓂᑲᑮ ᐘᓂᐦᐃᑳᐣ
ᑖᐱᐢᑰᐨ ᑭᔭ᙮

ᓂᑲᑮ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑳᐣ
ᓇᓈᑐᕽ ᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑫᐏᐣ
ᒦᓇ ᑖᓂᓯ ᑕ ᐃᓯ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑫᕽ
ᒫᑲ ᓇᒹᐨ ᓂᑲᑮ ᒫᒌᐣ
ᓇᒹᐨ ᓂᑲᑮ ᒫᑖᐦᐚᐤ ᒨᔁ
ᓵᐳ ᓴᑳᕽ ᐊᐦᐴ ᐊᑳᒥ ᒪᐢᑫᑯᕽ
ᑖᐱᐢᑰᐨ ᑭᔭ᙮

ᓂᑕᐢᐯᔨᒧᐣ ᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑲᓇ ᑕ ᐑᒋᐦᐃᑯᔮᐣ
ᑳ ᐃᓯ ᑲᐢᑮᐦᑖᔮᐣ;
ᑭᔭ ᐏᔭ, ᑭᑕᐢᐯᔨᒧᐣ ᑭᑭᐢᑭᓯᐏᐣ
ᑳ ᐯ ᐃᓯ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᐢᑭᐠ
ᑭᑖᓂᐢᑯ ᐚᐦᑰᒫᑲᓂᓇᐘᐠ᙮


I can write
English and Cree writing
But I can’t set gill nets
Nor can I go trapping
Just like you.

I can teach
All sorts of ways to write
Or how to teach
But I can’t hunt
I can’t track a moose
Through the forest and across the muskeg
Like you.

I rely on books to help me
With what I can do;
And you, you rely on memory
The way you were taught
By our ancestors.

2 Responses

  1. My mother-in-law, Gertie Whitford Cardinal, made bread, bannock and mustard pickles (these only once a year). I (who can read, write, and have no end of white – privilege) need books and recipes every time. . She depended on her memory, her sense of taste, sight, smell and touch. I think of her fondly and with awe.

  2. Beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing! I love listening to Cree in hopes I will pick up the language as my mother tongue!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact Us: