Kevin Lewis: kâ-nêyâsihk mîkiwâhpa

Lana Whiskyjack uses her digital storytelling superpowers to help spread the story of beautiful work going on at kâ-nêyâsihk mîkiwâhpa / ᑳ ᓀᔮᓯᕽ ᒦᑭᐚᐦᐸ / kâniyâsihk Culture Camps based at ministikwan / Island Lake, Saskatchewan.

In the video, Dr Kevin Lewis describes the evolution of the camps that began over 15 years ago, giving young people the chance to become oskâpêwisak: the helpers that elders rely on in ceremony. In the years since then, the camp has continued to grow, supporting and promoting language, culture, ceremony and all kinds of land-based learning in a stunningly beautiful setting (Lana’s video images are beautiful: there are even more gorgeous shots to be found on the website – along with Cree/English bilingual descriptions of camps and activities.)

Posted in Audio (y-dialect), Classes, Cree Cultural Literacy, Posts with Audio or Video | 1 Comment

Charlie Venne: omosōma

Charlie Venne with his grandfather and namesake, Charlie Ross, who passed away in December 2017.

Charlie Venne is building a great collection of stories about his grandfather (omosōma) on his First Nations Stories blog (

Along with English-language story-telling, Charlie also embeds audio recordings of key phrases and ideas in Cree, for learners to listen and copy.

I pulled up the whole collection by entering “mosōm” stories into the search bar: a real treat to start the new year! Thank you to both Charlies for sharing with all of us!

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Happy 2019 from Solomon Ratt and CLN

kahkithaw niwâhkômâkanitik, nipakosîthimon kita-mithopathihikoyîk kâ-pî-oski-askîwik. mitho-ocîmi-kîsikanisik!

ᑲᐦᑭᖬᐤ ᓂᐚᐦᑰᒫᑲᓂᑎᐠ, ᓂᐸᑯᓰᖨᒧᐣ ᑭᑕ ᒥᖪᐸᖨᐦᐃᑯᔩᐠ ᑳ ᐲ ᐅᐢᑭ ᐊᐢᑮᐏᐠ᙮ ᒥᖪ ᐅᒌᒥ ᑮᓯᑲᓂᓯᐠ!

All my relations, I hope you have good fortune on this coming New Year. Happy New Year y’all!

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All My Relations (Solomon Ratt, y-dialect, video)

Watch video to read along in Cree, or scroll down to read the text at leisure. Thanks (as always) for sharing, Solomon Ratt!

kahkiyaw niwâhkômâkanitik

ispîhk kâ-mâmawinitohk tahto-awiyak kâ-pîkiskwêt mâci-pîkiskwêw ôma atamiskâkêwin ka-âpacihtât ‘kahkiyaw niwâhkômâkanitik.’ ôma itwêwin ‘kahkiyaw niwâhkômâkanitik’ pîksikwêwin manitohkêwin ohci, ta-kistêyimihk, ta-atamiskawihk, ka-mawimoscikêhk. êwako anima ka-nisitawêyihtamihk mâmawipayiwin kahkiyaw kîkway kâ-ihtakohk, miyo-wîcêhtowin, mînopayiwin, êkwa mîna ka-âsokanihkêhk kahkiyaw pâh-pêtos kêsi-pimâtisiyahk.

kahkiyaw kîkway wâhkôhtowiw. êkota ôma kâ-ohci-payik kistêyimitowin, kisêwâtisiwin, sîpêyihtamowin, êkwa mâtinâwitowin. namôya pêyakwanohk ohci ayisîyiniwak piko mâka kahkiyaw ayisiyiniwak misiwêskamik ohci; namôya ayisiyiniwak piko mâka kotaka kîkwaya ôta askîhk ohci: kâ-nêwokâtêcik, kâ-nîsokâtêcik, kâ-pimitâcimocik, kâ-yâhyânahkik, kâ-otahtahkwanicik, pikwacipakowiyiniwak, êkwa asinîwiyiniwak.

ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᓂᐚᐦᑰᒫᑲᓂᑎᐠ

ᐃᐢᐲᕽ ᑳ ᒫᒪᐏᓂᑐᕽ ᑕᐦᑐ ᐊᐏᔭᐠ ᑳ ᐲᑭᐢᑵᐟ ᒫᒋ ᐲᑭᐢᑵᐤ ᐆᒪ ᐊᑕᒥᐢᑳᑫᐏᐣ ᑲ ᐋᐸᒋᐦᑖᐟ ‘ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᓂᐚᐦᑰᒫᑲᓂᑎᐠ᙮ᐃ ᐆᒪ ᐃᑘᐏᐣ ‘ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᓂᐚᐦᑰᒫᑲᓂᑎᑭ ᐲᑭᓯᑴᐎᐣ ᒪᓂᑐᐦᑫᐏᐣ ᐅᐦᒋ, ᑕ ᑭᐢᑌᔨᒥᕽ, ᑕ ᐊᑕᒥᐢᑲᐏᕽ, ᑲ ᒪᐏᒧᐢᒋᑫᕽ᙮ ᐁᐘᑯ ᐊᓂᒪ ᑲ ᓂᓯᑕᐍᔨᐦᑕᒥᕽ ᒫᒪᐏᐸᔨᐏᐣ ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᑮᑿᕀ ᑳ ᐃᐦᑕᑯᕽ, ᒥᔪ ᐑᒉᐦᑐᐏᐣ, ᒦᓄᐸᔨᐏᐣ, ᐁᑿ ᒦᓇ ᑲ ᐋᓱᑲᓂᐦᑫᕽ ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᐹᐦ ᐯᑐᐢ ᑫᓯ ᐱᒫᑎᓯᔭᕽ᙮

ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᑮᑿᕀ ᐚᐦᑰᐦᑐᐏᐤ᙮ ᐁᑯᑕ ᐆᒪ ᑳ ᐅᐦᒋ ᐸᔨᐠ ᑭᐢᑌᔨᒥᑐᐏᐣ, ᑭᓭᐚᑎᓯᐏᐣ, ᓰᐯᔨᐦᑕᒧᐏᐣ, ᐁᑿ ᒫᑎᓈᐏᑐᐏᐣ᙮ ᓇᒨᔭ ᐯᔭᑿᓄᕽ ᐅᐦᒋ ᐊᔨᓰᔨᓂᐘᐠ ᐱᑯ ᒫᑲ ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᐊᔨᓯᔨᓂᐘᐠ ᒥᓯᐍᐢᑲᒥᐠ ᐅᐦᒋ; ᓇᒨᔭ ᐊᔨᓯᔨᓂᐘᐠ ᐱᑯ ᒫᑲ ᑯᑕᑲ ᑮᑿᔭ ᐆᑕ ᐊᐢᑮᕽ ᐅᐦᒋ: ᑳ ᓀᐓᑳᑌᒋᐠ, ᑳ ᓃᓱᑳᑌᒋᐠ, ᑳ ᐱᒥᑖᒋᒧᒋᐠ, ᑳ ᔮᐦᔮᓇᐦᑭᐠ, ᑳ ᐅᑕᐦᑕᐦᑿᓂᒋᐠ, ᐱᑿᒋᐸᑯᐏᔨᓂᐘᐠ, ᐁᑿ ᐊᓯᓃᐏᔨᓂᐘᐠ᙮

All My Relations:

When people gather together, each speaker begins with a salutary statement for ‘all my relations.’ The statement ‘all my relations’ is the language of spiritual communication, an act of respect, a greeting, a prayer. It is the recognition of unity with the universe, of harmony, of balance, and of the invisible bridge that unites the diversity of our lives.

Everything is related. With this perception comes the ideas of respect, kindness, patience, and sharing. This is not only with people of the same race but for all races, not only with people but with all else that is in our world: the four legged, the two legged, the crawlers, the swimmers, the flyers, the plant-beings, and the rock-beings.

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Santa Visits Saddle Lake 2018 (video)

miyo-manitôwi-kîsikanisik onîhcîkiskwapiwinihk!

In a brilliant display of mutual cultural appreciation, Santa made his first visit of 2018 to Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Alberta this week. The kids appreciated him so much, we can’t even hear what the drum group was playing for his big entrance (but I think I hear some moms trilling)! I’ve watched it three times so far, and I’m still grinning.

As Mary Cardinal Collins told me, “This is how we decolonize Santa. I see all these posts about decolonizing Christmas. We have always borrowed the idea, but made it our own with Cree ways: humor and generosity, giving. Ever since I can remember, I used to get new moccasins for midnight mass, and we had words in cree: ê-akotamakawiyan ‘gifts were hung up’ (referring to the tree).”

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Edmonton Journal: StatCan report finds more people are learning Indigenous languages

Carolyn Kiskotagan grew up afraid to speak Cree in public, until one day she couldn’t help herself and it all came pouring out. (HAMDI ISSAWI / STARMETRO)

Lovely story about Carolyn Kiskotagan, and about Cree language reclamation. My favourite quotes:

“Our spirit is made up of everything our ancestors did,” Kiskotagan said. “The language is a part of the spirit, so when all those things were torn away, the spirit is not whole.”

“The way we speak our language, the way we practise respecting the land, and all those teachings that we have, the more that we learn about those things, the more whole our spirit becomes,” she said. “Even though it is a second language, better late than never.”

“Some people will say they don’t want to try to speak Cree because they think they sound funny, because people laugh at them,” she said. “I would say, ‘Continue trying, continue speaking — it doesn’t matter if they think you sound funny. The only way you’re going to learn is if you keep on speaking and listening to people who speak Cree.’

Read the story via the Edmonton Star (9 December 2018, Hamdi Issawi):

Download the complete story by Hamdi Issawi (9 December 2018) here: StatCan report finds more people are learning Indigenous languages _ The Star

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2018: pawâcakinisîsipîsim / ᐸᐚᒐᑭᓂᓰᓯᐲᓯᒼ / December

Thanks to Solomon Ratt for allowing the Cree Literacy Network to share his 2018 calendar, complete with his own original illustrations.

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Janice Bone: Water, dreams and Treaties: Agnes Ross’ Mémékwésiwak stories and Treaty No. 5

Janice Bone and her thesis advisors, 2018

Congratulations to Janice Bone on completing her Master of Arts in Native Studies at the University of Manitoba, and thanks to her for sharing this link to her thesis, newly released by UM Libraries as a downloadable PDF.

Janice’s grandmother, Agnes Marie Ross of Pimichikamak, told her stories in Cree of the mêmêkwêsiwak, that Janice recorded, transcribed and translated into English. The thesis also examines other writing about the mêmêkwêsiwak. (I look forward to having the chance to read it!)

View the complete thesis here:


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Dictionary of Moose Cree receives Ontario Heritage Award

It’s always nice to see good work officially acknowledged. For me, it’s even better to see a new Cree dictionary completed and offered to its community, because I know the depth and care that work requires. Here’s a March 2018 article from the United Church Observer that acknowledges Geraldine Govender of Moose Factory, lead linguist Kevin Brousseau and their hard-working team.

Read the whole article here (with lots of additional links):

Another exciting development is the online “Talking Dictionary” of Ililîmowin (Moose Cree, l-dialect),  that can be found at:

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Jesus is Born: Dolores Sand (y-dialect)

Thanks to Dolores Sand for sharing the biblical story of Christmas in Cree (y-dialect) with help from the technical staff at the Canadian Bible Society. The file she sent is in epub format for most electronic readers. Download it by clicking the following link:  CreeLitBk12

I’m not familiar with e-readers, but my Mac opens the file with “Book” software. Once it’s open there, I can click on the speaker icon at the top, and hear Dolores read along with the text, highlighted page by page.

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