The Lord’s Prayer (Dolores Sand, y-dialect)

This traditional Christian prayer is given here to answer a request made in the  #CreeSimonSays FaceBook Group. The audio recording was provided by Dolores Greyeyes Sand, who learned this translation at the Church of St Joseph, in John D’Or Prairie Alberta, and uses it daily.

nohtāwīnān kihci-kīsikohk kâ-ayāyan
pitanē ē-miywēyihcikātēk kiwīhowin,

pitanē ē-ohcihcipayik kitipēyicikēwin,
kā-isi-nanitohtākawiyan kīsikohk pitanē ēkosi isi waskitaskamik.

anohc kā-kīsikāk miyinān nipahkwēsikaniminān,
mīna tahtwāw kīsikāki,
kā-isi-kāsinamawāyākwāw aniki kā-kī-māyi-totākoyahkwāw,

ēkosi wī-isi-kāsinamawinān kā-kī-māyi-totamahk,
pisiskēyiminān ēkāya ka-maci-māmitonēyihtamahk,
iyīkatēnamawinān kā-māyatahk.

kiya kit-ayān tipēyicikēwin mīna sohkātisiwin mīna kistēyihtākosiwin.
kakikē mīna kakikē.

pitanē ēkosi ihkik.

=================

ᓄᐦᑖᐑᓈᐣ ᑭᐦᒋ ᑮᓯᑯᕽ ᑳ ᐊᔮᔭᐣ
ᐱᑕᓀ ᐁ ᒥᔰᔨᐦᒋᑳᑌᐠ ᑭᐑᐦᐅᐏᐣ,

ᐱᑕᓀ ᐁ ᐅᐦᒋᐦᒋᐸᔨᐠ ᑭᑎᐯᔨᒋᑫᐏᐣ,
ᑳ ᐃᓯ ᓇᓂᑐᐦᑖᑲᐏᔭᐣ ᑮᓯᑯᕽ ᐱᑕᓀ ᐁᑯᓯ ᐃᓯ ᐘᐢᑭᑕᐢᑲᒥᐠ᙮

ᐊᓄᐦᐨ ᑳ ᑮᓯᑳᐠ ᒥᔨᓈᐣ ᓂᐸᐦᑵᓯᑲᓂᒥᓈᐣ,
ᒦᓇ ᑕᐦᑤᐤ ᑮᓯᑳᑭ,
ᑳ ᐃᓯ ᑳᓯᓇᒪᐚᔮᒁᐤ ᐊᓂᑭ ᑳ ᑮ ᒫᔨ ᑐᑖᑯᔭᐦᒁᐤ,

ᐁᑯᓯ ᐑ ᐃᓯ ᑳᓯᓇᒪᐏᓈᐣ ᑳ ᑮ ᒫᔨ ᑐᑕᒪᕽ,
ᐱᓯᐢᑫᔨᒥᓈᐣ ᐁᑳᔭ ᑲ ᒪᒋ ᒫᒥᑐᓀᔨᐦᑕᒪᕽ,
ᐃᔩᑲᑌᓇᒪᐏᓈᐣ ᑳ ᒫᔭᑕᕽ᙮

ᑭᔭ ᑭᑕᔮᐣ ᑎᐯᔨᒋᑫᐏᐣ ᒦᓇ ᓱᐦᑳᑎᓯᐏᐣ ᒦᓇ ᑭᐢᑌᔨᐦᑖᑯᓯᐏᐣ᙮
ᑲᑭᑫ ᒦᓇ ᑲᑭᑫ᙮

ᐱᑕᓀ ᐁᑯᓯ ᐃᐦᑭᐠ᙮

Posted in Audio (y-dialect), Dolores Sand, Prayers | Leave a comment

Ear Worm of the Day (Solomon Ratt, y-dialect)

It can be hard to fit all of the syllables of Cree into a simple English song. Sometimes it helps to imagine somebody speaking really fast (to see which syllables seem to disappear). Sometimes the laugh is worth the try (or maybe the other way around).

Sol thought my audio attempt sounded appropriately sad: sorry it’s such a small slice!

 

Posted in Audio (y-dialect), Solomon Ratt | 1 Comment

Wisahkecahk and the Dogs: Solomon Ratt, 2016 (th-dialect)

The Cree word for “sacred story” or “myth” is âtayôhkêwin (in y-dialect), âcathôhkîwin (in th-dialect). Wisahkecahk is the protagonist in many of these  stories,which often of which serve to explain some curious aspect of the natural world. In the case of this short and funny traditional story, a small but perpetual mystery about dogs is addressed.

Solomon Ratt told this story in February 2016, and has recently provided a corresponding transcription and translation (dated 2019).

wîsahkîcâhk ikwa atimwaWisahkecahk and the dogs
kayâs îsa, ôk-ôta atimwak kî-mâmawapiwak wîtha athisk ôma î-nohtî-mâmioskôtahkwâw kâ-isi-kitimahikocik wîsahkîcâhkwa. ikwa mâna kâ-pîhtokîcik ôta mâmawipowinihk – î-kî-misâk anima mîkiwahp ita kâ-kî-mâmawapicik – ikwa ôko atimwak kâ-ati-pah-pîhtokîcik ikota mâna ohcitaw poko kita-akotâcik osôsowâwa iskwâhtîmihk, cîki iskwâhtîmihk.Long ago, these dogs met because they wanted to discuss how Wisahkecahk abuses them. When they entered the meeting – it was a big tipi where they were meeting– and when these dogs entered they had to hang their tails by the door, near the door.
ikwa wîtha awa wîsahkîcâhk kî-pîhtam îsa ôma kâ-itahkamikisithit atimwa. îh! nâcithôstawîw, î-nitawi-nitohtawât tânisi ôma î-itahkamikisithit, tânisi î-itikot. ikwâni îsa ikota ohci kâ-pîhtawât. mitoni mistahi î-âcimikot, tânisi ô kâ-isi-kâh-kitimahât.And this Wisahkecahk heard what these dogs were doing. Ah, he sneaks up on them, he’s going to go hear what they were doing, what it is they say about him. It was from there that he heard them telling a lot of stories about him, how he mistreats them.
mmm, î-mâmitonîthihtahk “tânisi îtokî ta-kî-itôtawakwâw ôko atimwak,” î-itîthihtahk. îh, kîtahtawî poko, “tâpwî! Ikosi ta-mithwâsin!”Hmmm, so he thinks of what to do, “What shall I do to these dogs?’ he thinks. “Hey! True! That would be good!”
ikwâni ikota ohci, “iskotîw! pasitîw! pasitîw!” î-tîpwît.And from there “Fire! There’s a fire! There’s a fire!” he shouts!
ikwâni ikota atimwak aspin î-wâthawîpahtâcik anitamîkiwahpihk ohci. ikwa ispî kâ-ati-wathawîpahtâcik osôsowâwa mâna î-ati-otihtinahkwâw ikwa î-astâcik ospiskwaniwahk. ikwâni ikotî î-isi-kwahcipahtâcik.And the dogs ran out from there, from the tipi. And as they were running out they grabbed their tails and put it to their backsides. And that is how they ran off!
iyak-ohci anohc kiyâpic kiwâpamânawak atimwak î-pâh-pasocik osôsiwâwa.That is why to this day we still see the dogs smelling each other’s tails.
“mmm, (sniff, sniff,) nisôs cî kitayân?”“mmm, sniff, sniff. Do you have my tail?’
âhci poko anohc kika-wâpamânawak atimwak ikosîsi î-itahkamikisicik.To this day we see the dogs still doing that.
Posted in Audio (th-dialect), Posts with Audio or Video, Sacred Stories, Solomon Ratt, Storytelling Month (February), Wisahkecahk | Leave a comment

Be the Light: Amanda Gorman, translated by Solomon Ratt

Amanda Gorman’s poetry and performance at yesterday’s Presidential inauguration was breathtaking. The closing phrase of her poem, “The Hill we Climb” offers a special aspiration that we can all hold dear. Thanks, Sol, for capturing it in Cree.

kapî ôma wâsaskotîw kîspin îsa ta-kî-sôhkitîhîyahk ta-wâpahtamahk;
kîspin îsa ta-kî-sôhkitîhîyahk ikosi ta-isi-ayâyahk.

ᑲᐲ ᐆᒪ ᐚᓴᐢᑯᑏᐤ ᑮᐢᐱᐣ ᐄᓴ ᑕ ᑮ ᓲᐦᑭᑏᐦᐄᔭᕽ ᑕ ᐚᐸᐦᑕᒪᕽ;
ᑮᐢᐱᐣ ᐄᓴ ᑕ ᑮ ᓲᐦᑭᑏᐦᐄᔭᕽ ᐃᑯᓯ ᑕ ᐃᓯ ᐊᔮᔭᕽ᙮

‘There is always light, if only we are brave enough to see it;
if only we are brave enough to be it.’
Amanda Gorman ‘The Hill We Climb.’

Posted in Audio (th-dialect), Solomon Ratt | Leave a comment

Big Skunk, 2017 (th-dialect) – an âtayôhkêwin (Sacred Story)

The Cree word for “sacred story” or “myth” is âtayôhkêwin (in y-dialect), âcathôhkîwin (in th-dialect). Wisahkecahk is the protagonist in many of these stories, but in this case, our “hero” is the Big Skunk.

Solomon Ratt told this story at the 2017 Storytelling Camp, transcription and video captioning were provided by Ben Godden; reading edition (text and translation) edited by Solomon Ratt (2021).

Big Skunk (2017)Big Skunk
hâw, mahti îsa nika-âtotâw awa piyak pisiskiw. kâ-kî-papâmi-nipahât kotaka pisiskiwa. misti-sikâk awa itâw: misi-sikâk. kikiskisin? mahti îsa î-kikiskisiniyân iyako âcimowin misi-sikâk.Okay, let’s see, I will tell a story about this one animal. He went about killing other animals. He is called Big Skunk. Big Skunk. Do you remember? Let’s see if I remember that story, Big Skunk.
iyako anima.That’s the one.
kayâs ôma î-kî-kakwâtaki-tahki-pipohk kî-kitimâkan pokw-îta, ita ôko pisiskiwak kâ-pimâhkamikisicik. ê-kî-ati-kwîta-mîcisocik – î-kî-ati-kwîta-mîcicik kîkway. ikwa kî-mâmawapiwak ôma.A long time ago, there was a very severe winter everywhere, where these animals were living. They began to run out of food – they couldn’t find anything to eat. They gathered together to decide what they were going to do.
“tânisi ôma kâ-wî-itôtamahk îkâ kîkway awasimî î-miskimahk ta-mîciyahk,” itwîwak.“What are we going to do since we can no longer find food to eat?” they said.
“hâw ohcitaw poko ta-âhtôtîhoyahk. ikosi ta-nitawi-miskamahk mîciwin nânitaw itî. ikota kika-pimôtîhonaw. mâka kita-piyâhtakisiyâhk poko wîtha athisk misi-sikâk ôma î-papâmahkamikisit î-pâmi-nipahât pisiskiwa,” ikosi îsa itwîwak.“Okay, we'll have to go to another land. That way we can find food somewhere. We’ll travel over there. But we have to be careful because Big Skunk is going about killing animals,” they said.
ikwa awa piyak anikwacâs itwîw. “ah, nîtha nika-nîkânipahtân ikota ohci nika-nitawi-asawâpamâw misi-sikâk. ikwa kika-wah-wîhtamâtinâwâw ispî ta-pî-itohtîyîk.”This one squirrel said, “I will run ahead and from there I will look for Big Skunk. I will tell you when you can come over.”
hâw ikosi itasiwîwak. ikwâni ikota âhci-sipwîhtîwak, ati-sipwîhôtîhowak. ikwa mâna ôta anikwacâs mistikohk ohci î-papâmi-kwaskohtit. itî î-nitawi-âsawâpamât anihi anita aya misi-sikâkwa. ikwa mâna pâ-pîhôwak ôko pisiskiwa kâ-pimôtîhocik.So that is what they decided. And they travel on from there, they started to travel on. The squirrel jumped from tree to tree, to scout ahead for Big Skunk. They'd stop and wait for the squirrel to signal.
kîtahtawî mâna anikwacâsa kâ-pîhtawâcik: “ttta ttta ttta.” ikwâni mâna kâ-ati-sipwîhtîcik. ikwâni kapî ikosi ati-itahkamikisiwak; pâh-pîhîwak mâna. ikwa mâna anikwacâsa kâ-matwî-itwîthit: “ttta ttta ttta.” ikwâni kîhtwâm sipwîtîwak.Every now and then the squirrel goes: “trrr trrr trrr.” And then off they went. So that is how they travelled all through the forest. They would wait for squirrel’s signal before they ventured further. “Trrr trrr trrr” And once again they were off!
hay, kinwîsk kâ-pimôtîhocik.They travelled for a long time.
ikwa kîtahtâwî poko kâ-pîhtawâcik ôho anihi anikwacâsa: “ttta ttta ttta ttta,” î-isi-kisîwîthit. hay kipihcîwak î-pîhâcik ta-pî-itohtîthit.Suddenly they heard the Squirrel “trr, trrr!” trill loudly! They stopped to wait for him to make his report.
“âh,” anikwacâs itwîw, anikwacâs î-kî-itwît, “awa misi-sikâk ôtî nimâtâhâw ikotî awa pimahkamikisiw! ohcitaw poko pîtos- itî kita-ati-itôtîhoyahk kita-ati-pimohtîyahk.“Ah,” said the squirrel. “I saw Big Skunk's trail up ahead so we had better go somewhere else, to walk there.”
ikwâni ikota ohci itasiwîwak niyo pisisiwak kita-nitawi-nakiskawâcik ôho ôta misi-sikâkwa ikota ohci. pîtos itî kita-ati-itohtahâcik ikota ohci. ikwâni ikota, ikosi: maskwa awa, awa wâpos, omithahcîs, ikwa mîna anikwacâs, niyo~ niyowak ikota, kita-ati-sipwîhtîcik ikota ohci.So they decided that a group of them will go one way and four of them will go and meet the big skunk and ward him off from the rest of the animals. So the four of them, a bear, a rabbit, a wolverine, and the squirrel – would go ahead from there.
ikwa kotakak aniki anita pisiskiwak î-pî-isi-itôtîhocik. ikwâni ikota, î-ati-sâh-sipwîhtîhothit awa misi-sikâk î-pî-mâtâhât ôho ôta pisiskiwa.The other animals travelled on a different trail. And there, where they had parted Big Skunk came upon their trail.
î-pasot; “hmmm, pisiskiwak ôta pima~ pimohtîwak, wahwâ nika-mîcison!” itwîw.He sniffs, “Hmmm, animals walked here. Wow! I'm going to eat lots,” he said.
hay, sâsay î-paswât ôho ôta pisiskiwa ikota; “hmm, nika-mîcison kwayask! mahti mâskoc namwâc mâka nimaskawisân” itwîw îsa.Hey, he already smelled these animals there. “Hmm, I'm going to eat a lot! Hmm, but maybe I'm not powerful enough,” he said.
ikwâni ikota “nîkân nika-kôcihtân mahti îsa nipwîkitowin î-kî-maskawâk” itwîw.And there, “First I am going to try to see if my farts is strong,” he said.
ikota ati-asihtîw. kîskatahikan wâpahtam ikwa wîtha “pôm!” kâ-pwîkitot. mitoni î-nisiwanâcihtât animîthiw kîskatahikan misiwî î-isi-pahkitîk anima.He walks backward. He sees a stump and he puts his rear towards the stump he fart. “boom!” He destroys the stump, It explodes all over the place.
hay! ati-mamihcihisow awa misti-sikâk, “hâ! nimaskawisân.”And he's proud of himself. “Ha! I'm powerful!”
kî-ati-pimitisahwêw ôho ôta kotaka pisiskiwa. kîtahtawî poko wâposa kâ-wâpamât. wâpos omisi itwît: (sound of sticking tongue out) î-nanôthacihât.Then he follows the other animals. All of a sudden he sees a rabbit. Rabbit teases him thus (sticks tongue out with hands to ears.)
ikwa ikota ohci misi-sikâk sipwîhtîw pimitisahwîw ôho wâposa ikota ohci. ikwa tahtwâw mâna mwîhci kâ-wî-kâhcitinât ikota ohci, anikwacâs mistikohk ohci pimosinâtîw wasaskwîtoya anihi anita misi-sikâkwa î-ati-tâwistikwânîhwât ikwa ikosi îsa ati-itahkamikisiwak, ati-nakacipahîwak.Then Big Skunk leaves there following the rabbit. Every time when he would just about catch him the squirrel would throw pinecones at him hitting him on the head. And that is what they were doing. They left him behind.
ah, ikwa kîhtwâm awa ôta misi-sikâk kî-itwîw “tânisi î-maskawisîyân?” ay, ikwâni mahti kîhtwâm! wâpahtam, wâpahtam amisko-wîstî. ikota ati-asihtîw. mahti îsa, “pôk!”Once again Big Skunk thinks, “Maybe I'm not powerful enough.” Then he sees a beaver lodge. He backs up toward it rock, so he says “hmm, let's see.” Boom!
ha! wahwâ! ikwâni î-nisowanâcihtât anima amisko-wîstî. mitoni î-maskawisît.Ha! Holy! He destroyed the beaver lodge. He is powerful.
“ah kwayask nimaskawisân!” itwîw.“Ha! I am powerful,” he says.
ati-sipwî-pimitisahwîw ikwa mîna ôta. ah, kîtahtâwî kâ-wâpamât wâposa; ati-pimitisahwēw iyakoni mîna. ikwa mîna anikwacâs pimosinâtîw î-wâh-wanâhât anihi anita misi-sikâkwa. ikwa kipihcîw pitamâ; osâm î-wîsakistikwânît. ikwâni ikota.And off he goes runs after the rabbit. Again he sees the rabbit; he chases it. Once again squirrel throws things at him, slowing Big Skunk’s progress. He stops for a bit. His head is sore…and there,
“mahti ahpô itokî nimaskawisân?”“Let’s see if I am strong?”
ikwâni ikota ohci, ikwa mîna wâpahtam waciy. iyakwîthiw “ôma kwayask! nikocitân, mahti îsa” - pôk!And sets off from there. He sees a hill. “This is right. I will try, let’s see,” Boom!
ha! waciy kâ-nisowanâchtât, î-pahkitîthik: pôm!
ikwâni, “ah, kwayask nimaskawisân” itwîw.There! “Ah, I am very strong,” he says.
î-ati-pimitisahwât ikwa mîna ôho wâposwa. ah, kîtahtawî poko mistikohk, wâkinâhtikohk ohci, kâ-kwâskohtâkot ôho ôta omithahcîsa. î-tahkwamikot ociskîhk ôta; ociskîhk î-kî-tahkwamikot.He chases the rabbit. Now there was a tree, a tamarack, and from the tamarack wolverine jumped on Big Skunk. Wolverine bites har on Big Skunk’s rear end.
“misi-sikâk ôta, nikipociwîhpwâw ôta,” î-itwît îsa.“I’ve got Big Skunk here, I’ve closed his rear!”
ikota î-kakwî-pwîkitot awa ôta misti-sîkak, mâka namwâc kaskihtâw wîtha athisk ~ iwako ôta wîskacânis~ -wiskâcânis? ?? – awîna?There Big Skunk tries to let go a fart but he is unable to do so because this ~~ wîskacânis??~~
Christine: omithahcîs Christine: “Wolverine!”
omithahcîs î-tahkwamât okohcâkihk – ikota î-kakwî-pwîkitot awa: î-ati-misikitit. âhci poko.Wolverine bites him on the rear.
“misi-sikâk ôta nikipocowîhpwâw ôta.”“I’ve got Big Skunk here, I’ve closed his rear!”
î-ati-misikitit. î-ati-ohpît. ispimihk î-ispathit! tâpiskôc omisi isi î-ati-wâwiyîsit, î-kakwî-pwîkitot mâka namwâc kaskihtâw wîtha athisk omithahcîs î-tahkwamât okohcâkihk âhci poko.He is getting big. He begins to rise up. He is rising up! Just like this (puts hands in a circle) he is getting round. He tries to fart but he can’t because wolverine still has a bite on his rear end.
ikwa kîtahtawî awa maskwa kâ-pî-itohtît. kâ-pakamahwât misi-sikâkwa. mitoni î-pahkisot: pôm! misiwî opasowin ispathithow. ikwa mitoni awa ôta omithahcîs anihi mistahi misi-sikâkwa opasowin, ikota opwîkitowin oskîsikohk î-kipi-~ îkâ î-kî-wâpit, î-kipipâpit.All of a sudden bear comes over. He hits Big Skunk. He exploded, Boom! His stink went all over. Wolverine got most of Big Skunks smelly explosion on him as it farted on his eyes. He can’t see. He is blind.
ikota namwâc kaskihtâw ta-wâpit “mahti îsa, mahti îsa. itwahon itî isi sâkahikan kâ-astîk. ikwa ikotî nika-ispahtân” itîw owîcîwâkana.He is unable to see, ‘Please point me in the direction of the lake. I will run over there,” he says to his companions.
ikwa kahkithaw kâ-wîhcîkisicik (iyakonik pisiskiwak) anohc kâ-kîsikâthik.
ikwani ôta ohci sipwîpahtâw ikwathikohk. sipwîhpahtâw awa omithahcîs. kîtahtawî poko kâ-tâwistikwânîsihk.So he ran off from there. The wolverine runs off. All of a sudden he hits his head on something.
“awîna kîtha?” kâ-itât.“Who are you?”
“âh, minahik.”“minahik.” [Play on words: minahik can mean "pine tree" or “give us a drink:” but he heard “give me a drink.”]
“âh, namôtha kîkway nîpiy nitayân?” itwîw. “Ah, I have no water,” he says.
ikwâni, âhci poko, kâ-ati-sipwîpahtât kâ-tâwistikwânîsihk ikwa mîna, “pôm!”So he continues running through the woods and runs into another tree.
“awîna kîtha?”“Ouch, who are you?”
“mîtos.”“mîtos” (an aspen: a poplar tree.)
“âh, namôtha kîtha kâ-nityawîthimitân.”“ah! Oh, not you, you are not who I want.”
kiyapic âhci poko sipwîpahtâw. kîtahtawî kâ-tâwistikwânîsihk ikwa mîna: “pôm!”And so off he goes running, and runs into another tree: boom!
“awîna kîtha?”'Who are you?”
“waskway.”“waskway” (a birch tree)
“âh, namôtha kîtha.”“Ah, not you.'
ikwâni âhci poko papâmipahtâw. kîtahtawî poko kâ-tâwistikwânîsihk.And he keeps running and he runs into another tree.
“awîna kîtha?”“Who are you?”
“nîpisiy.”“nîpisiy” (a willow).
“âh kîtha kâ-nitawîthimitân! iyako! kisiwâk nipihk î-ayâyan.”“Oh! It's you. You are near water.”
ikwâni ikota tâpwîpokâni sipwîpahtâw î-pakastawî-pahkisihk. ikota ohci sîpîkinisow, kinwîsk sîpîkinisow. ikwa mitoni î-ati-wîhcîkanithik animîthiw nipiy ita kâ-sîpîkinisot. So he leaves right away and runs right into the water. There he washes himself of all this skunk smell; and he washes and washes and washes. And that water got so stinky.
ikwa î-ati-wînipîk anima anita ikwa kâyitwîhk!In Cree “wînipîk” means stinky water.
ikota ohci kâ-isithihkatîk iyako sâkahikan wînipîk: wînipîk sâkahikan. ithikohk î-isi-wîhcîkahk iyako sâkahikan.So that is how Lake Winnipeg got its name; from the Big Skunk smell.
Posted in Audio (th-dialect), Sacred Stories, Solomon Ratt, Video | Leave a comment

Ida Tremblay, 2017: Wisahkecahk’s Belt (th-dialect)

Warning: This story includes what we might call “adult content” in English. Or simply an authentically Cree sense of humour.

Ida Tremblay-pan ī-ācimot nīhithaw ācathōhkāniwin kapīsiwin 2017 mistasiniy sākahikanihk oskāyak-kapīsiwinihk.

The late Ida Tremblay storytelling at the Cree Storytelling Camp 2017 at the Youth Haven, Big Stone Lake, Saskatchewan.

Ida Tremblay was a Cree Elder from La Ronge, Saskatchewan. She raised seven children on the trapline – a five- to six-day journey north of La Ronge by canoe – and taught them the land skills she had learned from her parents. She scraped moose hides in her backyard and shared teachings of traditional life with her community. She was parallel cousin of Solomon Ratt: their mothers were sisters, so he called her ‘nimis (older sister), and she considered our friend Christine Ravenis (who also appears in the video) as a “special daughter”. She passed in January 2019, at the age of 69.

Ida’s memories of the trapline also provided a foundation for the book When We Had Sled Dogs: A Story from the Trapline which she wrote in collaboration with Miram Körner https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/tremblay-book-1.5177799.

This story was transcribed by Ben Godden with help from Solomon Ratt, and compiled in read-along video by Ben Godden. The reading edition of the story below provides a transcript of the Cree along with Ida’s own English re-telling of the story (very lightly edited to fill obvious gaps).

Thanks to Kevin Brousseau for listening with fresh ears and preparing his own transcription and including it in the Cree Mythological Index that he’s building in his own new blog: Cree Myths blog. Kevin’s version of this particular story can be found here here.

Ida Tremblay: W and his belt. Transcription by Ben GoddenIda's English re-telling
hâw, ikosi.Okay, then.
piyakwâw îsa wîsahkîcâhk î-pimohtît.Once upon a time Wisahkecahk was walking along.
namôtha wîhkâc ohci-pôni-pimohtîw wîsahkîcâhk mâna kâ-âcimikosit.He never stopped walking as revealed in the stories told about him.
ikwa îsa îtikwî î-papimohtît ikwa î-isi-akâwâtahk î-nohtî-miskawât iskwîwa.And as he was walking along he desired a woman; he wanted to find a woman.
î-kaskîthihtahk.He was lonely.
kâ-ati-matâwisit îsa sâkahikanisîsihk.He comes out of the bush to a little lake.
ikwa ikotî î-wâsakâmisit î-pimohtît.And he was walking in the shoreline –
kâ-wâpamât îsa nîtî akâmihk iskwîwa î-matwî-nipâthit.All of the sudden he saw a across the lake a woman sleeping over there in the shoreline, with her legs open;
wahwâ! tânisi mîna! î-wâwanâtihkwâmithit anihi iskwîwa. Wow! How is this again? Apparently this woman was sleeping in a confused state.
hâw ikwâni îsa.Okay, so it was thus.
mâka wîtha îsa wîsahkîcâhk î-kî-pakwahtîhot; ithikohk î-kî-kinwâpîkanithik animîthiw.But he, Wisahkecahk had a belt, that was a very long belt.
ikwâni îsa kâ-âpahahk opakwahtîhon.So he untied his belt.
ikota î-isi-pimipahtâthit sâkwîsiwa; And there was a mink swimming by there.
“iy, nicîmin [slang for nisîm] âstam.” ikwâni kâ-pî-itohtîthit anihi sâkwîsiwa.He said “Brother, âstam, come!” And the mink come towards him and said “What?”
“mahti ôma âsowahôtamowin nîtî akâmihk.“Take this across the lake.
ki-wâpamâw cî nâha iskwîw kâ-matwî-nipât” itîw îsa.See that woman sleeping across? Take it over there,” he told the mink.
“îhî,” itwîw.
ikwâni îsa î-ay-ati-pakitâpîkinâhk îsa wîsahkîcâhk.So the mink grabbed it and he swam.
ati-sipwîhotâthiwa anihi.Wisahkecahk is letting go the belt I guess.
ikwâni îsa aya, ikotî ikwa î-takohtitâwiht aya “îcikân-îsa aya” î-kî-kawâsit mistik ikwa anihi watapiyak aniki ayahk î-pimisihkwâw ikwa î-wâpâsocik taskôc awiyak opwâma.And then when the mink got there, here it was an old tree fell over; and the roots were sticking out and faded that it looked like lady's, uh, legs… from far.
ikosi îsa kâ-itikot anihi sâkwîsiwa “ocitâskayihtakwâw ôho nistîs” î-itwît.So the mink yelled, “It's a dead tree brother.”
“awas mâka,” î-itwît wîsahkîcâhk; kâwi î-isi-ôtâpihkinahk ana kâ-nawatahtamithit ithinikinosîwa.“Okay, let go then.”
papâsiwithik îsa anihi ithinikinosîwa.So Wisahkecahk is pulling back his belt – a big jackfish got it, and it's pulling him to the, to the water.
ikwâni isi sôskwâc isi î-ati-pakastawîpitikot.And so it is so that it pulled him into the
ikwânîsa ôpîhtâsiwinihk kâ-nitonikît; omôhkomânis.water. So he looked in his pocket for his little knife.
papâsi-kîskisam îsa.He cut it really fast.
kanakî “nine” î-itwît îsa.“As long as I have nine inches,” he said.
iyakwîthikohk ohci “nine” ikwa kâ-ayâcik.And that is why they say they have “nine inches.”
Posted in Audio (th-dialect), Solomon Ratt, Storytelling Month (February), Video, Wisahkecahk | Leave a comment

2016 Wisahkecahk Migrates South (th-dialect), Translated by Ben Godden

Experienced English-speakers transcribing English can go at a fairly quick pace of 3 hours for 1 hour of audio. High quality transcription of Cree language audio takes a whole lot longer. Transcription of this story, told by Solomon Ratt in 2016, was transcribed by Ben Godden, who went one step farther, still, and provided a second y-dialect transcript.

[th-dialect - Solomon Ratt, as in video)Translation by Ben Godden[y-dialect transliteration by Ben Godden]
piyakwâw îsa wîsahkîcâhk kî-pah-pimohtîw wâsakâm sâkahikanihk. kâ-wâpamât îsa niska î-âh-ohpahothit ikwa mâna kâwi î-twîhothit. mâmaskâtîw.Once Wisahkecahk was strolling along, around a lake, when he saw some geese flying up and then landing again. He wondered what they were doing.pēyakwāw ēsa wīsahkēcāhk kī-pah-pimohtēw wāsakām sākahikanihk. kā-wāpamāt ēsa niska ē-ay-ohpahoyit ēkwa māna kāwī ē-twēhoyit. māmaskātēw.
“tânisi ôma î-itahkamikisiyîk, nisîmitik?” isi-kakwîcimîw îsa ôho niska.“Little brothers, what are you doing?” he asked the geese.“tānisi ōma ē-itahkamikisiyēk nisīmitik?” isi-kakwēcimēw ēsa ōhi niska.
“iyaw, î-takwâkik ôma. wîpac ta-pipon ikwa kita-tâh-tâhkâyâw! ohcitaw poko sâwanohk ta-isi-pimôtîhoyâhk îkâ kita-nipahâskaciyâhk,” itwîw îsa awa piyak niska.“Well, it's autumn now, but soon it will be winter and very cold. We must travel south so that we don't freeze to death,” one of the geese replied.“iyaw, ē-takwākik ōma. wīpac ta-pipon ēkwa tāh-tāhkāyāw! ohcitaw piko sāwanohk ta-isi-pimohtēhoyāhk ēkā kita-nipahāskwaciyāhk,” itwēw ēsa awa pēyak niska.
“mahti nîsta! kika-wîcîwitinâwâw!” itwîw wîsahkîcâhk.“Me too! I'll come with you!” said Wisahkecahk.“mahti nīsta! kika-wīcēwitināwāw!” itwēw wīsahkēcāhk.
“mâka wîtha îkâ î-otahtahkwaniyan!” itwîw îsa awa niska.“… but you don't have any wings,” replied the goose.“māka wiya ēkā ē-otahtahkwaniyan!” itwēw ēsa awa niska.
“hâ, tâpwî-wîspinac!”“Hmm, truly this is tragic.”“hā, tāpwē wēspinac!”
“haw cîska, kika-mâmawi-wîcihitinân,” itwîw awa niska. nitomîw owâhkômâkana ikwa itîw ta-tah-tahkwamâthit wîsahkîcâhkwa omiyâmithik. ôta tah-tahkwâmik ôho niska: piyak ostikwânihk, ikwa âtiht ospitonihk, ikwa mîna kotakak oskâtihk. ikosi isi-kaskihtâwak ta-pimôhtahâcik ostîsiwâwa, wîsahkîcâhkwa. ispimihk pâskac î-itâpithit ôho, î-sâsakicisinithit.“Okay, wait. All together we will help you,” said the goose. So the goose called his relatives and told them, using their mouths of course, to grab a hold of Wisahkecahk's body. So the geese did just that: one at his head, a few at his arms and others at his legs. In this way, the geese were able to carry their older brother Wisahkecahk: who was facing upwards, he was on his back.“hāw, cēskwa, kika-māmawi-wīcihitinān,” itwēw awa niska. nitomēw owāhkōmākana ēkwa itēw ta-tah-tahwamāyit wīsahkēcāhkwa omiyāmiyik. ōta tah-tahkwamik ōhi niska: pēyak ostikwānihk, ēkwa ātiht ospitonihk, ēkwa mīna kotaka oskātihk. ēkosi isi-kaskihtāwak ta-pimohtahācik ostēsiwāwa, wīsahkēcāhkwa. ispimihk pāskac ē-itāpiyit ōhi. ē-sāsakicisiniyit.
“kâwitha waskawîw nistîsî,” itîw îsa awa niska ostîsa. “kika-kiciskinitinân kîspin waskawîyani!”“Don't move older brother,” said the goose; “If you move, we might accidently drop you!”“ēkāwiya waskawī nistēsē,” itēw ēsa awa niska ostēsa. “kika-kitiskinitinān kīspin waskawīyani!”
“hâw, namwâc nika-waskawân,” itwîw îsa wîsahkîcâhk. ikosi ati-sipwîpithâwak ôko niskak, î-tahkonâcik ostîsiwâwa. mithwîthihtam wîsahkîcâhk athisk wîsta sâwanohk î-wî-itôtîhot. “Okay, I won't move!” Wisahkecahk replied as the geese began to fly away holding on to him, their older brother. Wisahkecahk was glad as he too was going south.“hāw, namwāc nika-waskawīn.” itwēw ēsa wīsahkēcāhk. ēkosi ati-sipwēpihāwak ōki niskak, ē-tahkonācik ostēsiwāwa. miywēyihtam wīsahkēcāhk ayisk wīsta sāwanohk ē-wī-itohtēhot.
kitahtawî kâ-pihtawât iskwîwa î-matwî-môcikihtâkosinithit. kisâstaw î-pakâsimothit, itîthihtam.Suddenly Wisahkecahk heard some women, and it sounded like they were having fun. “Perhaps they are swimming,” he thought. kētahtawē kā-pēhtawāt iskwēwa ē-matwē-mōcikihtākosiyit. “kisāstaw ē-pakāsimoyit,” itēyihtam.
sîmâk waskawîw, î-kwîskipathihot, î-kakwî-wâpamât anihi iskwîwa. mayaw kâ-waskawît, kâ-kiciskinikot anihi niska.Quickly he moved, twisting to try to see those women. As soon as he moved, the geese dropped him.sēmak waskawīw, ē-kwēskipayihot, ē-kakwē-wāpamāt anihi iskwēwa. mayaw kā-waskawīt, kā-kitiskinikot anihi niska.
mitoni î-pakastawîsihk ita ôko iskwîwak kâ-pakâsimothit. kwayask pâhpihik!Wisahkecahk fell right into the water where the women were swimming. Truly they laughed at him.mitoni ē-pakastawēsihk ita ōki iskwēwak kā-pakāsimoyit. kwayask pāhpihik!
ikwâni namwâc sâwanohk ohci itôtîhow wîsahkîcâhk. mâka kiyâpic ôko niskak sâwanohk âh-itôtîhowak tahto-takwâkin ikwa tâpisckôc kiyâpic î-miciminâcik wîsahkîcâhkwa î-isi-pimithâcik.So Wisahkecahk never made it south but still, when migrating, geese fly in this same formation: as if still holding Wisahkecahk.ēkwāni namwāc sāwanohk ohci itohtēhow wīsahkēcāhk māka kēyāpic ōki niskak sāwanohk itohtēhowak tahto-takwākin ēkwa tāpiskōc kēyāpic ē-miciminācik wīsahkēcāhk.
Posted in Audio (th-dialect), Sacred Stories, Solomon Ratt, Storytelling Month (February), Wisahkecahk | Leave a comment

Sacred Stories Heal, Part 1: Getting Ready for Storytelling Month, February 2021

Everyone who enjoyed Solomon Ratt’s Winter Solstice Storytelling is already looking forward to hearing more come February, which someone, somewhere, officially designated Indigenous Storytelling Month. This post provides event details, and an opportunity to review past storytelling.

Zoom Event Details – Mark your Calendar:

(Optional) Preparing to Listen:

Truthfully? No real preparation is needed. Sol’s habit of alternating between Cree and English as he goes along is a great help to those (like me) who are struggling learners.

Of course, the stories differ with each telling: that is part of the story teller’s art. But part of my personal delight in Sol’s storytelling comes from knowing the stories well enough (at least in English) that, even as I listen to the Cree, I can follow the story’s structure, listen for the words I know well, understand the meaning of the hand gestures and sound effects, and (most importantly) be ready to laugh along with the real Cree speakers at the inevitable punchlines.

To make it easier to prepare (for those who want to), I’ve pulled together links to some of the most familiar stories here, all from assorted past Cree Literacy posts.

2016 Storytelling Videos
https://creeliteracy.org/2016/03/09/solomon-ratt-february-2016-storytelling-videos/

The Rolling Head
https://creeliteracy.org/2016/03/09/solomon-ratt-rolling-head-th-dialect/

Wisahkecahk goes South
https://creeliteracy.org/2016/12/20/wisahkecahk-goes-south-solomon-ratt-th-dialect-y-dialect-with-audio/

Wisahkecahk  and the Dancing Ducks
https://creeliteracy.org/2016/02/15/dancing-ducks-th-dialect/

Wisahkecahk Seeks a Bride (Billy Joe Laboucan)
https://creeliteracy.org/2017/09/23/billy-joe-laboucan-wisahkecahk-seeks-a-bride-y-dialect/

Wisahkecahk and the Little Startlers
https://creeliteracy.org/2016/02/15/little-startlers/

Wisahkecahk and the Wihtikow
https://creeliteracy.org/2017/01/11/wisahkicahk-and-the-wihtikow-th-dialect/

Wisahkecahk and the Chickadee
https://creeliteracy.org/2017/04/19/wisahkecahk-and-the-chickadee-solomon-ratt-th-dialect/

Wisahkecahk and the Moose
https://creeliteracy.org/2017/01/13/solomon-ratt-wisahkecahk-and-the-moose-y-dialect-video/

What do our stories tell us? (An overview of the significance of storytelling in Cree culture and education)
https://creeliteracy.org/2019/02/21/kikway-kiwihtamakonaw-acathohkiwina-what-do-our-stories-tell-us-solomon-ratt-th-dialect-audio/

Posted in Posts with Audio or Video, Sacred Stories, Solomon Ratt, Wisahkecahk | Leave a comment

A Wish for 2021 (Solomon Ratt: y-dialect)

pitanê oski-askîwin 2021 kakî-ohpinênaw nêhiyawêwin.
ᐱᑕᓀ ᐅᐢᑭ ᐊᐢᑮᐏᐣ 2021 ᑲᑮ ᐅᐦᐱᓀᓇᐤ ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ᙮
May we, in the new year 2021, all lift up the Cree language.

With thanks to all those who have shared their skill and knowledge with us this year, and to all those who have followed and taken new steps, learning to introduce themselves, beginning to read or sing along, or simply joining us in a little laugh as we play with language. As we look towards the new year, we wish you (you and us together!) continued success learning, speaking, and reading Cree: Every little success makes our Cree language stronger.

Posted in Audio (y-dialect), New Years, New Years, Solomon Ratt | Leave a comment

2020 Winter Solstice Storytelling – Complete Audio (Solomon Ratt)

kâ-mâwaci-cimâsik kîsikâw âcathohkîwin
ᑳ ᒫᐘᒋ ᒋᒫᓯᐠ ᑮᓯᑳᐤ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑮᐏᐣ
Solstice Storytelling

Those of us who were able to get in to the Zoom room had a great time listening to Sol’s 2020 Solstice treat that include six of the escapades of Wisahkecahk. The full video is too large to post here, but we were able to extract the audio that some listeners may enjoy. I’ll be adding written texts to this post as I’m able. They won’t be a precise match for the audio, because live storytelling frees the storyteller to adapt to his audience and to the moment, but I can promise they’re a lot of fun to hear!

Sol’s storytelling style provides lots of support for students by alternating between Cree and English, and by having fun making up voices for characters and even using sound effects.

The audio file embedded here includes the entire storytelling session.

The Sacred stories included those of the Flood, the Little Startlers, Birch Tree Markings, Wisahkecahk eating his own scab, and the Shut-Eye Dance. In the manner of traditional story tellers, Sol changes gears quickly from one to the next, stringing them along (along with his audience) one after another.

 

 

Posted in Audio (th-dialect), Events, Sacred Stories, Solomon Ratt, Solstice, Storytelling Month (February), Wisahkecahk | 1 Comment