Robin: Billy Joe Laboucan

Chief Billy Joe Laboucan is a fellow language warrior from way back. Solomon Ratt calls him nisîmis “my younger sibling” – probably remembering their days together as students of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics at Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (now FNU). We’re grateful to Billy Joe for allowing Sol to translate and record this beautiful story in Cree, learned from his grandmother, and to share it here.  (photo credit: Solomon Ratt)
nisîmis Billy Joe Laboucan otâcimowinMy younger sibling Billy Joe Laboucan’s story
pihpihciwRobin
ispîhk kâ-kî-nâpêsisiwiyâhk ê-ati-kiskinwahamâkosiyâhk ta-nôcihâyâhkik piyêsîsak, ê-pâh-pasistêpitâyahk pasastêpicikana ohci êkwa ê-pimotahkwêyâhk âhcâpiyak êkwa acosisak ohci kâ-kî-osîhâyâhkik, ê-kî-kiskinwawâpamâyâhkik nistêsinânak mîna niciwâminânak. âtiht niyanân nâpêsisak ê-kî-kakwê-nipahâyâhkik pihpihciwak ispîhk kâ-wâpamikoyâhk nohkominân. ninatomikonân, “âstamik, pê-nahapik ôta.” kî-itwêw namôya êwakonik piyêsîsak ka-mâyi-tôtawâwak. kihci-piyêsîsak aniki ka-kiskisotahikêcik ta-isi-kistêyimâyêkok kimisiwâwak, kikâwiy, êkwa kahkiyaw iskwêwak.” êkwa nikî-âtayôhkêmikonân ôma âtayôhkêwin.When we were boys just learning to hunt with our slingshots and bows and arrows which we made ourselves by watching our old brothers and cousins. Some of us little boys were trying to shoot robins and our grandmother saw us. She called to us, “Come over here and sit down.” She said, “You don’t harm those birds. They are special birds and they represent how you are to respect your sisters, your mom and all women.” Then she told us this story.
………………….………………….
kayâs, pêyak awa oskinîskwêw mêtoni ê-kî-katawasisiwit, ê-kî-kîwâtisit, ohkoma kî-ohpikihikow. kî-kitimâkêyimitowak. âta kî-kitimâkisowak, kî-miywêyihtamwak êkwa kotakak êkota ôtênâhk âskaw wâh-wîcihikowak.“Long ago, there was a very beautiful girl who had been orphaned so her grandmother raised her. They were very close. Though they were poor, they were happy and others in their camp helped as much as they could.
kâ-kîsohpikit, ê-oski-iskwêwit, mêtoni kî-katawasisiw, mihcêt oskinîkiwa akâwâtikow, ê-nitomiskwêwâtikot. piyisk wîkimêw ê-katawasisiyit oskinîkiwa êkwa piskihci-wîkiwak omîkiwâhpiwâw.When she grew into a young beautiful woman, many young men would be around to gain her attention. And, she eventually married this handsome young man and they moved into their own lodge.
osâm pîtos ihtâwinihk ê-ohcît ana oskinîkiw kî-âhcipiciwak mâka kiyâpic ka-kaskihtâw ta-mosci-pimohtêhk mâka osâm wâhyawês ta-kiyokawât ôsisima awa nôtokwêw, ây-âskaw piko. âskaw mîna awa oski-iskwêw kiyokawêw ohkoma. tahtwâw kâ-pê-kiyokêt nawac ê-âh-ati-kâmwâtisit êkwa âh-âskaw mâni piko ê-pâhpit ahpô namôya mistahi wâh-wawiyatwêw. ohkoma ati-wawânêyihtamiyiwa.Since he was from a different clan, they moved to a different area but within walking distance but still a bit too far for the old woman to go visit but occasionally. Sometimes also the young woman would come visit her grandmother. Each time she came, she would be quieter and would laugh and joke less. Her grandmother was getting worried.
piyisk awa nôtokwêw kakwêcimêw ôsisima, “ohcitaw piko ta-wîhtamawiyan tânisi ôma ê-ispayik. nikiskêyihtên êkâ ê-miywêyihtaman. mahti wîhtamawin, ahpô êtikwê kika-kî-wîcihitin.” awa oski-iskwêw itwêw, “namôya êtikwê kika-kî-wîcihin nôhkô. ninâpêm awa nikâh-kitimahik. namôya nipakitinik ta-kiyokawakik kotaka iyiniwa, kiya piko. nikâh-kitimâkimik mâka namôya ninôcihik.”Finally, the old woman asked her granddaughter, “You have to tell me what is going on. I know you are not happy. Please tell me; maybe I can help you.” The young woman said, “I don’t think you can help Grandmother. My husband is mean to me. He won’t let me visit anyone but you. He says mean things to me though he hasn’t hit me.”
êkosi ôma kî-âh-ispayin kinwêsîs, nôtokwêw kâh-kiyokawêw ôsisima ê-kakwê-wîcihowêt mâka namôya kî-mêskotinam kîkway.This went on for some time, with the old woman going to visit to try to change the situation but nothing helped the dynamics.
kâ-ati-takwâkik, oski-iskwêw kiyokawêw ohkoma. êkota kâmwâtapiw, ê-kâmwâtisit, kâ-itwêt, “nohkô, ê-wî-sipwêhtêyân ôma, namôya ayiwâk nikakî-pakitinên ôma kâ-kitimahikawiyân.”During the fall, the young woman came to see her grandmother. She sat there so forlorn, withdrawn into herself, she said, “Grandmother, I am going away. I cannot take this abuse any longer.”
“ôh, nôsisim, êkâwiya êkosi itêw!” ohkoma itwêyiwa, ê-pîkiskâtikosiyit.“Oh child, don’t say that!” her grandmother said sadly.
“ohcitaw piko. êkâwiya mâka kaskêyimin, ita ê-miywâsik nika-ayân,” osk-iskwêw itwêw. “kâ-sîkwahk, ispîhk wâpamaci pihpihciw, kika-kiskêyihtên niya ana êwako.” êkosi itwêw, pasikôw, êkwa sipwêhtêw.“I must. But don’t long for me, I will be in a good place.” The young woman said. “In the spring time, when you see a robin, you will know that is me.” With that, she got up and left.
awa nôtokwêw kî-pîkiskâtikosiw. mâka piyisk pê-sîkwan, asici oski pakosêyimowin. maskosiya ohpikinwa, ati-sâkipakâw, piyêsîsak kâwi pê-pimihâwak.The old woman was so sad. But finally, spring time came, and with renewed hope. The grass was growing, leaves were coming out, and the birds were flying back.
nôtokwêw nama-wîhkâc kî-wanikiskisiw kâ-kî-itwêyit ôsisima. ispîhk wayawîtimihk omîkiwâhpimihk ê-ay-apit, pihpihciwa kâ-twêhoyit cîki ita kâ-ay-apit, ê-mâci-miyo-nikamoyit. awa nôkokwêw mâcosiw, ê-miywêyihtahk, ê-kiskêyimât ôsisima ê-miywêyihtamiyit.The old woman never forgot what her granddaughter had told her. As she sat outside her little teepee, a robin landed right close to her and starting singing merrily. The old woman cried tears of joy, know that her granddaughter was once again happy and singing.
…… ……
“êwako ohci ôma êkâ wîhkâc ta-mâyi-tôtawiht pihpihciw, ê-kiskisimikoyâhk ta-miyo-pamihâyâhkik iskwêwak,” nohkominân nititikonân. niya wiya, namôya wîhkâc êwako kiskinwahamâkêwin nika-wanikiskisin.“And that is why you never harm a robin because they represent the good treatment of women.” Our grandmother told us. I, for one, will never forget that lesson.
ᐱᐦᐱᐦᒋᐤ ᐃᐢᐲᕽ ᑳ ᑮ ᓈᐯᓯᓯᐏᔮᕽ ᐁ ᐊᑎ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑯᓯᔮᕽ ᑕ ᓅᒋᐦᐋᔮᐦᑭᐠ ᐱᔦᓰᓴᐠ, ᐁ ᐹᐦ ᐸᓯᐢᑌᐱᑖᔭᕽ ᐸᓴᐢᑌᐱᒋᑲᓇ ᐅᐦᒋ ᐁᑿ ᐁ ᐱᒧᑕᐦᑵᔮᕽ ᐋᐦᒑᐱᔭᐠ ᐁᑿ ᐊᒍᓯᓴᐠ ᐅᐦᒋ ᑳ ᑮ ᐅᓰᐦᐋᔮᐦᑭᐠ, ᐁ ᑮ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐚᐸᒫᔮᐦᑭᐠ ᓂᐢᑌᓯᓈᓇᐠ ᒦᓇ ᓂᒋᐚᒥᓈᓇᐠ᙮ ᐋᑎᐦᐟ ᓂᔭᓈᐣ ᓈᐯᓯᓴᐠ ᐁ ᑮ ᑲᑵ ᓂᐸᐦᐋᔮᐦᑭᐠ ᐱᐦᐱᐦᒋᐘᐠ ᐃᐢᐲᕽ ᑳ ᐚᐸᒥᑯᔮᕽ ᓄᐦᑯᒥᓈᐣ᙮ ᓂᓇᑐᒥᑯᓈᐣ, “ᐋᐢᑕᒥᐠ, ᐯ ᓇᐦᐊᐱᐠ ᐆᑕ᙮” ᑮ ᐃᑘᐤ ᓇᒨᔭ ᐁᐘᑯᓂᐠ ᐱᔦᓰᓴᐠ ᑲ ᒫᔨ ᑑᑕᐚᐘᐠ᙮ ᑭᐦᒋ ᐱᔦᓰᓴᐠ ᐊᓂᑭ ᑲ ᑭᐢᑭᓱᑕᐦᐃᑫᒋᐠ ᑕ ᐃᓯ ᑭᐢᑌᔨᒫᔦᑯᐠ ᑭᒥᓯᐚᐘᐠ, ᑭᑳᐏᐩ, ᐁᑿ ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᐃᐢᑵᐘᐠ᙮” ᐁᑿ ᓂᑮ ᐋᑕᔫᐦᑫᒥᑯᓈᐣ ᐆᒪ ᐋᑕᔫᐦᑫᐏᐣ…. …………………. ᑲᔮᐢ, ᐯᔭᐠ ᐊᐘ ᐅᐢᑭᓃᐢᑵᐤ ᒣᑐᓂ ᐁ ᑮ ᑲᑕᐘᓯᓯᐏᐟ, ᐁ ᑮ ᑮᐚᑎᓯᐟ, ᐅᐦᑯᒪ ᑮ ᐅᐦᐱᑭᐦᐃᑯᐤ᙮ ᑮ ᑭᑎᒫᑫᔨᒥᑐᐘᐠ᙮ ᐋᑕ ᑮ ᑭᑎᒫᑭᓱᐘᐠ, ᑮ ᒥᔰᔨᐦᑕᒷᐠ ᐁᑿ ᑯᑕᑲᐠ ᐁᑯᑕ ᐆᑌᓈᕽ ᐋᐢᑲᐤ ᐚᐦ ᐑᒋᐦᐃᑯᐘᐠ᙮ ᑳ ᑮᓱᐦᐱᑭᐟ, ᐁ ᐅᐢᑭ ᐃᐢᑵᐏᐟ, ᒣᑐᓂ ᑮ ᑲᑕᐘᓯᓯᐤ, ᒥᐦᒉᐟ ᐅᐢᑭᓃᑭᐘ ᐊᑳᐚᑎᑯᐤ, ᐁ ᓂᑐᒥᐢᑵᐚᑎᑯᐟ᙮ ᐱᔨᐢᐠ ᐑᑭᒣᐤ ᐁ ᑲᑕᐘᓯᓯᔨᐟ ᐅᐢᑭᓃᑭᐘ ᐁᑿ ᐱᐢᑭᐦᒋ ᐑᑭᐘᐠ ᐅᒦᑭᐚᐦᐱᐚᐤ᙮ ᐅᓵᒼ ᐲᑐᐢ ᐃᐦᑖᐏᓂᕽ ᐁ ᐅᐦᒌᐟ ᐊᓇ ᐅᐢᑭᓃᑭᐤ ᑮ ᐋᐦᒋᐱᒋᐘᐠ ᒫᑲ ᑭᔮᐱᐨ ᑲ ᑲᐢᑭᐦᑖᐤ ᑕ ᒧᐢᒋ ᐱᒧᐦᑌᕽ ᒫᑲ ᐅᓵᒼ ᐚᐦᔭᐍᐢ ᑕ ᑭᔪᑲᐚᐟ ᐆᓯᓯᒪ ᐊᐘ ᓅᑐᑵᐤ, ᐋᔮᐢᑲᐤ ᐱᑯ᙮ ᐋᐢᑲᐤ ᒦᓇ ᐊᐘ ᐅᐢᑭ ᐃᐢᑵᐤ ᑭᔪᑲᐍᐤ ᐅᐦᑯᒪ᙮ ᑕᐦᑤᐤ ᑳ ᐯ ᑭᔪᑫᐟ ᓇᐘᐨ ᐁ ᐋᐦᐊᑎ ᑳᒹᑎᓯᐟ ᐁᑿ ᐋᐦᐋᐢᑲᐤ ᒫᓂ ᐱᑯ ᐁ ᐹᐦᐱᐟ ᐊᐦᐴ ᓇᒨᔭ ᒥᐢᑕᐦᐃ ᐚᐦ ᐘᐏᔭᑘᐤ᙮ ᐅᐦᑯᒪ ᐊᑎ ᐘᐚᓀᔨᐦᑕᒥᔨᐘ᙮ ᐱᔨᐢᐠ ᐊᐘ ᓅᑐᑵᐤ ᑲᑵᒋᒣᐤ ᐆᓯᓯᒪ, “ᐅᐦᒋᑕᐤ ᐱᑯ ᑕ ᐑᐦᑕᒪᐏᔭᐣ ᑖᓂᓯ ᐆᒪ ᐁ ᐃᐢᐸᔨᐠ᙮ ᓂᑭᐢᑫᔨᐦᑌᐣ ᐁᑳ ᐁ ᒥᔰᔨᐦᑕᒪᐣ᙮ ᒪᐦᑎ ᐑᐦᑕᒪᐏᐣ, ᐊᐦᐴ ᐁᑎᑵ ᑭᑲ ᑮ ᐑᒋᐦᐃᑎᐣ᙮” ᐊᐘ ᐅᐢᑭ ᐃᐢᑵᐤ ᐃᑘᐤ, “ᓇᒨᔭ ᐁᑎᑵ ᑭᑲ ᑮ ᐑᒋᐦᐃᐣ ᓅᐦᑰ᙮ ᓂᓈᐯᒼ ᐊᐘ ᓂᑳᐦ ᑭᑎᒪᐦᐃᐠ᙮ ᓇᒨᔭ ᓂᐸᑭᑎᓂᐠ ᑕ ᑭᔪᑲᐘᑭᐠ ᑯᑕᑲ ᐃᔨᓂᐘ, ᑭᔭ ᐱᑯ᙮ ᓂᑳᐦ ᑭᑎᒫᑭᒥᐠ ᒫᑲ ᓇᒨᔭ ᓂᓅᒋᐦᐃᐠ᙮” ᐁᑯᓯ ᐆᒪ ᑮ ᐋᐦᐃᐢᐸᔨᐣ ᑭᓊᓰᐢ, ᓅᑐᑵᐤ ᑳᐦ ᑭᔪᑲᐍᐤ ᐆᓯᓯᒪ ᐁ ᑲᑵ ᐑᒋᐦᐅᐍᐟ ᒫᑲ ᓇᒨᔭ ᑮ ᒣᐢᑯᑎᓇᒼ ᑮᑿᐩ᙮ ᑳ ᐊᑎ ᑕᒁᑭᐠ, ᐅᐢᑭ ᐃᐢᑵᐤ ᑭᔪᑲᐍᐤ ᐅᐦᑯᒪ᙮ ᐁᑯᑕ ᑳᒹᑕᐱᐤ, ᐁ ᑳᒹᑎᓯᐟ, ᑳ ᐃᑘᐟ, “ᓄᐦᑰ, ᐁ ᐑ ᓯᐻᐦᑌᔮᐣ ᐆᒪ, ᓇᒨᔭ ᐊᔨᐚᐠ ᓂᑲᑮ ᐸᑭᑎᓀᐣ ᐆᒪ ᑳ ᑭᑎᒪᐦᐃᑲᐏᔮᐣ᙮” “ᐆᐦ, ᓅᓯᓯᒼ, ᐁᑳᐏᔭ ᐁᑯᓯ ᐃᑌᐤ!” ᐅᐦᑯᒪ ᐃᑘᔨᐘ, ᐁ ᐲᑭᐢᑳᑎᑯᓯᔨᐟ᙮ “ᐅᐦᒋᑕᐤ ᐱᑯ᙮ ᐁᑳᐏᔭ ᒫᑲ ᑲᐢᑫᔨᒥᐣ, ᐃᑕ ᐁ ᒥᔼᓯᐠ ᓂᑲ ᐊᔮᐣ,” ᐅᐢᑭᐢᑵᐤ ᐃᑘᐤ᙮ “ᑳ ᓰᑿᕽ, ᐃᐢᐲᕽ ᐚᐸᒪᒋ ᐱᐦᐱᐦᒋᐤ, ᑭᑲ ᑭᐢᑫᔨᐦᑌᐣ ᓂᔭ ᐊᓇ ᐁᐘᑯ᙮” ᐁᑯᓯ ᐃᑘᐤ, ᐸᓯᑰᐤ, ᐁᑿ ᓯᐻᐦᑌᐤ᙮ ᐊᐘ ᓅᑐᑵᐤ ᑮ ᐲᑭᐢᑳᑎᑯᓯᐤ᙮ ᒫᑲ ᐱᔨᐢᐠ ᐯ ᓰᑿᐣ, ᐊᓯᒋ ᐅᐢᑭ ᐸᑯᓭᔨᒧᐏᐣ᙮ ᒪᐢᑯᓯᔭ ᐅᐦᐱᑭᓌ, ᐊᑎ ᓵᑭᐸᑳᐤ, ᐱᔦᓰᓴᐠ ᑳᐏ ᐯ ᐱᒥᐦᐋᐘᐠ᙮ ᓅᑐᑵᐤ ᓇᒪ ᐑᐦᑳᐨ ᑮ ᐘᓂᑭᐢᑭᓯᐤ ᑳ ᑮ ᐃᑘᔨᐟ ᐆᓯᓯᒪ᙮ ᐃᐢᐲᕽ ᐘᔭᐑᑎᒥᕽ ᐅᒦᑭᐚᐦᐱᒥᕽ ᐁ ᐊᔭᐱᐟ, ᐱᐦᐱᐦᒋᐘ ᑳ ᑘᐦᐅᔨᐟ ᒌᑭ ᐃᑕ ᑳ ᐊᔭᐱᐟ, ᐁ ᒫᒋ ᒥᔪ ᓂᑲᒧᔨᐟ᙮ ᐊᐘ ᓅᑯᑵᐤ ᒫᒍᓯᐤ, ᐁ ᒥᔰᔨᐦᑕᕽ, ᐁ ᑭᐢᑫᔨᒫᐟ ᐆᓯᓯᒪ ᐁ ᒥᔰᔨᐦᑕᒥᔨᐟ᙮ …… “ᐁᐘᑯ ᐅᐦᒋ ᐆᒪ ᐁᑳ ᐑᐦᑳᐨ ᑕ ᒫᔨ ᑑᑕᐏᐦᐟ ᐱᐦᐱᐦᒋᐤ, ᐁ ᑭᐢᑭᓯᒥᑯᔮᕽ ᑕ ᒥᔪ ᐸᒥᐦᐋᔮᐦᑭᐠ ᐃᐢᑵᐘᐠ,” ᓄᐦᑯᒥᓈᐣ ᓂᑎᑎᑯᓈᐣ᙮ ᓂᔭ ᐏᔭ, ᓇᒨᔭ ᐑᐦᑳᐨ ᐁᐘᑯ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑫᐏᐣ ᓂᑲ ᐘᓂᑭᐢᑭᓯᐣ᙮ ᐱᐦᐱᐦᒋᐤ

2 Responses

  1. “êwako ohci ôma êkâ wîhkâc ta-mâyi-tôtawiht pihpihciw, ê-kiskisimikoyâhk ta-miyo-pamihâyâhkik iskwêwak,” nohkominân nititikonân. Vital story – vert grateful for all who helped make this teaching available. Yes, may we learn and remember good treatment of women – so that they do sing and laugh – Thank you. ᒦᒃᐌᒡ

  2. Rocky Cree of Northern Manitoba story of Robin is that she taught the people to give thanks to Creator for her life. Ki nanaskomitin opimacihwi ka pimacihiyan

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