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.

kiskêyihtamowin

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

nikakî-kiskinwahamâkân
  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
  kâ-isi-kaskîhtâyân;
kiya wiya, kitaspêyimon kikiskisiwin
  kâ-pê-isi-kiskinwahamâskik
  kitânisko-wâhkômâkaninawak.

ᑭᐢᑫᔨᐦᑕᒧᐏᐣ

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᙮

Knowledge

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.

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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!

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