Congratulations to Jesse Archibald-Barber on the release of his latest volume of poetry in Cree:
acâhkos nikamowini-pîkiskwêwina: nêhiyawi-kîsik âcimowin
The Star Poems: A Cree Sky Narrative
Here’s what you’ll learn from the publisher (Regina’s Your Nickel’s Worth Press):
Aided by Grandmother Spider, Star Woman discovers the Hole-in-the-Sky, opening a pathway for the Star People to experience the wonder of life on earth. But the world falls into the hands of the Paper People, jeopardizing the sacred harmony between nature and the cosmos. And so Little Spirit, a young boy, must search for meaning and find redemption in the care of Grandmother Moon.
An epic narrative, The Star Poems explores the black hole of colonial history—Residential Schools, the loss of the father, youth suicide—and the vital role of women in reclaiming our traditional knowledge, the teachings that stitch together the fabric of the universe.
The Star Poems creatively engages Cree oral tradition in a new way, connecting Indigenous spirituality and quantum physics to honour and adapt some of our most ancient stories about the origins of life and our place in the universe. Presented in both English and Cree, The Star Poems is a timely contribution to the revitalization of the Cree language—and the fascinating world of star stories.
Here’s a bit of Cree Literacy Network inside scoop:
Much of Jesse’s work on these poems took place in the context of Solomon Ratt’s “Expository Writing in Cree” class at First Nations University (Cree 305) in 2022. Jesse’s creative use of language, and choice of subject matter led him to consult frequently with Sol and with professional star gazer Wilfred Buck in order to jointly develop Cree-language terminology for concepts not covered in existing dictionaries. This is a significant example in itself of creative collaboration in support of language revitalization which we applaud whole-heartedly.