Take it Back: translated by Solomon Ratt (y-dialect)

Thanks to Emily-Danielle Qitsualik for allowing us to use her clever piece about Indigenous language reclamation, originally shared on FaceBook, along with her photo of Gjoa Haven, Nunavut, which is her home. Emily-Danielle’s original refers to being Inuk, and her own Inuktitut language. The message is just as important for any of the endangered languages across Canada.

I will never learn my language
So don’t try to convince me that
I can
Because at the end of the day
I can’t do this
And I’m not going to lie to myself by saying
I can regain it
So I will remind myself
That I am not Inuk enough
And nothing you say will make me believe
I’m strong enough to take it back
Because no matter what
People will put me down for trying
And I wonder if
I can persevere through this
Because when I look in the mirror, I constantly think
Can I take back my language?
Am I Inuk enough?

Now read it backwards.

Solomon Ratt translated Emily-Danielle’s poem (with permission) into Plains Cree (y-dialect). Since the poem is reversible, he provided audio reading from the top down, and from the bottom up. There’s a quote from American car manufacturer Henry Ford that carrries the idea even more tightly: Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.”

nama wîhkâc nikakî-kiskêyihtên nipîkiskwîwin
sôskwâc kâya kakwê-kaskimin
ayisk kâ-kîsi-kîsikâk
namôya ôma nikakî-itôtên
êkwa namôya nika-kiyâskimison ta-itwêyân
kâwi ta-otinamân nika-kaskihtân
namôya nahiyikohk nitiyiniwin
namôya kîkway itwêyani nika-tâpwêhtên
nahiyikohk ê-sôhkisiyân kâwi ta-otinamân
ayisk kiyâm kîkway itôtamâni
ayisiyiniwak nika-tapahtêyimikwak ê-kocihtâyân
nimâmitonêyihtên kîspin
nikakî-âhkamêyihtên ôma
ayisk kâ-kanawâpamisoyân wâpamonihk, kapê nititêyihtên
kâwi cî nikakî-otinên nipîkiskwêwin?
nahiyikohk cî nitiyiniwin?

hâw, asê-ayamihtâ ôma.

Reading from the top down:

Reading from the bottom up:


ᓇᒪ ᐑᐦᑳᐨ ᓂᑲᑮ ᑭᐢᑫᔨᐦᑌᐣ ᓂᐲᑭᐢᑹᐏᐣ
ᓲᐢᒁᐨ ᑳᔭ ᑲᑵ ᑲᐢᑭᒥᐣ
ᑕ ᑲᐢᑭᐦᑖᔮᐣ
ᐊᔨᐢᐠ ᑳ ᑮᓯ ᑮᓯᑳᐠ
ᓇᒨᔭ ᐆᒪ ᓂᑲᑮ ᐃᑑᑌᐣ
ᐁᑿ ᓇᒨᔭ ᓂᑲ ᑭᔮᐢᑭᒥᓱᐣ ᑕ ᐃᑘᔮᐣ
ᑳᐏ ᑕ ᐅᑎᓇᒫᐣ ᓂᑲ ᑲᐢᑭᐦᑖᐣ
ᓇᒨᔭ ᓇᐦᐃᔨᑯᕽ ᓂᑎᔨᓂᐏᐣ
ᓇᒨᔭ ᑮᑿᐩ ᐃᑘᔭᓂ ᓂᑲ ᑖᐻᐦᑌᐣ
ᓇᐦᐃᔨᑯᕽ ᐁ ᓲᐦᑭᓯᔮᐣ ᑳᐏ ᑕ ᐅᑎᓇᒫᐣ
ᐊᔨᐢᐠ ᑭᔮᒼ ᑮᑿᐩ ᐃᑑᑕᒫᓂ
ᐊᔨᓯᔨᓂᐘᐠ ᓂᑲ ᑕᐸᐦᑌᔨᒥᑿᐠ ᐁ ᑯᒋᐦᑖᔮᐣ
ᓂᒫᒥᑐᓀᔨᐦᑌᐣ ᑮᐢᐱᐣ
ᓂᑲᑮ ᐋᐦᑲᒣᔨᐦᑌᐣ ᐆᒪ
ᐊᔨᐢᐠ ᑳ ᑲᓇᐚᐸᒥᓱᔮᐣ ᐚᐸᒧᓂᕽ, ᑲᐯ ᓂᑎᑌᔨᐦᑌᐣ
ᑳᐏ ᒌ ᓂᑲᑮ ᐅᑎᓀᐣ ᓂᐲᑭᐢᑵᐏᐣ?
ᓇᐦᐃᔨᑯᕽ ᒌ ᓂᑎᔨᓂᐏᐣ?

ᐦᐋᐤ, ᐊᓭ ᐊᔭᒥᐦᑖ ᐆᒪ᙮

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