Congratulations to Willie Ermine, Arzu Sardarli, Ida Swan and so many others involved in publishing this much-needed Mathematical Dictionary for Cree classrooms. That includes Solomon Ratt who took on the job of editing all of the terminology into reliable SRO spelling.
The book has now been recognized with the 2020 Lyle Benko Future Generations Award.
While all available print copies were immediately distributed to Cree classrooms, I was very fortunate to receive a copy for my own library. Perhaps at some point the team might consent to share this resource online in PDF form (we at CLN would certainly be proud to host it!)
Kids (of all ages) graduating this year have borne a special burden through pandemic and quarantine, home schools and unexpected distance learning. Now, as we enter the traditional season of graduation and celebration, we see our neighbours to the south convulsed in societal upheaval that (truth be told) is just as long overdue, and just as badly needed here in Canada.
We are especially proud of these 2020 graduates – at every level of education – as they reach this milestone in their collective lives. We have tremendous hope that, having survived these unique 2020 challenges, they will go on to persist, and succeed, and lead, and live well, no matter what. No matter where they’re from in the Cree language continuum, we all wish each of them long, happy years of miyo-pimâtisiwin, mîtho-pimâtisiwin, mîno-pimâtisiwin, mîlo-pimâtisiwin.
The Cree Literacy Network is just a small part of a big community that embraces them all to wish them well. To help spread the good wishes, we have gathered words of congratulations from a variety of Cree teachers (each with audio), to help parents, grandparents and teachers to join us in acknowledging their achievements. Perhaps these wishes will also help you, the graduates, to congratulate one another on all you’ve made it through together, and wish each other future success.
th-dialect form (for those who aren’t already on their way to protest!)
kaskitîwithiniwak opimâtisiwiniwâw î-ispîthihtâkwanithik
We choose kaskitêwiyiniwak, made up of kaskitê– meaning “black” (or “brown” in context), and iyiniwak (meaning people/living beings). The literal translation of opimâtisiwiniwâw is “all of their lives.”
Of course, there are always other ways of expressing the same idea. For our meme, we chose the word ispîhtêyihtam, “s/he regards s.t. so; s/he holds s.t. in such regard.”
Thank you to Elder Barry Ahenakew for letting us know he prefers the word akihtêw “it counts, it is counted.” With this verb, we could rewrite the slogan as:
Thanks to Chelsea Vowel for her FaceBook reflections on “kaskitêwiyiniwak” as well. They are worth preserving here:
I especially love that it affirms the Indigeneity of Black people, however fractured those ties to homelands are as a result of the transatlantic slave trade, and ongoing colonialism. It’s a term of solidarity instead of being reductive only to colour of flesh, while highlighting that Blackness is a focal point of the racism that Black people experience. I think there is also a lot of room to have deeper discussions with Black people about a Cree term to refer to them that is more descriptive of how they see themselves outside of European racial categories.
Walking Buffalo Singers, Rollin Baldhead, Theoren Bear, Quentin Dreaver and Doug Morin in a still from USask Video.
Thanks to Winona Wheeler for sharing this YouTube post from Media Production at University of Saskatchewan (usask.ca) in honour of 2020 graduates, and congratulations to each one of them: We are all proud of your accomplishments and wish you great success.
Thank you Joseph Naytowhow and Rachel Fiddler for reviving this song written by late Tyrone Tootoosis in honour of our students. Thank you also to Joan Greyeyes for seeing the need and commissioning Tyrone to create this song, and to the Walking Buffalo Singers.
A Treaty right & promise of education
An institution of higher learning
Let us give a War Cry [to Celebrate and Rejoice]
Our individual and collective journeys in seeking independence
kihci-kiskinohamāsowin Higher Education ē-kī-asotamākawiyāhk A Treaty Right & Promise to Education kihci-kiskinwahamâtowikamik An Institution of Higher Learning sākowātētān Let us give a War Cry to Celebrate and Rejoice pasikô-âcihowin ôma Our Individual and Collective Journeys in Seeking Independence
Heather writes: My friend and mentor Tina Hargaden is offering scholarships to her Summer Institutes for teaching language. The focus is using a flexible and culturally- responsive framework that is student and community-centred and is based on a Comprehensible Input approach. You will learn so much more than techniques, strategies and methodologies, such as TPR, TPRS and One Word Images, etc. (And, literacy is used in a structured and effective affordance to language learning!) It is much more of a “post-method” empowering way of learning/teaching language.
You will not only be exposed to how it feels to be a learner and see the framework modelled but also see how it’s flexibility can be used to your advantage within your cultural context. You will be invited to share your challenges and triumphs with other teachers and share ideas for more holistic ways of teaching language—whether in the home using “print learning packets”, asynchronous over the Internet, synchronous using Zoom, etc., in the classroom or on the land.
Of course, we will need to take the framework and strategies, etc. and make creative use of them and the knowledge of our Elders and transform our language work into something even more powerful than it is now. New speakers are created through this way of teaching. It isn’t the whole solution to our language revitalization challenges, but I think it is another important part of it.
US$75 (aprox. CA$105-110) is amazing for a full week of classes! (The full tuition is US$300!) And, you will have access to the recordings as well if you have to miss a class here or there or want to review them. Chose a language you don’t already know to feel what novice learners of our languages experience! Latin, Spanish, ASL, and German will be offered for the lower level course and Spanish and French for the upper level. I went in person last year and benefited greatly. Follow the link and check it out. Language learning as STUDENTS in the morning SEEING the framework modelled and then debriefing and skills training in the afternoon by experienced language teacher trainers. It was an amazing learning and community-building experience!
This video presents a children’s version of the Bible’s Creation Story. The book, “In the Beginning,” is one of a thirty-volume set of Bible stories – all in Plains Cree – published by the Canadian Bible Society (and available there for purchase). The stories were translated into Cree by Dolores and Gayle Weenie.
The books are only available as a boxed set (at $100, that works out to under $3.50 per volume). What the website doesn’t mention is that each purchase includes access to all thirty books in e-reader format, and the e-reader copy includes professionally recorded audio featuring Dolores herself. (Find the series’ Christmas story here with a demo of the e-reader format: Jesus is Born: Dolores Sand (y-dialect))
“A well-spoken sentence in Aturan is a straight line pointing. A well-spoken sentence in Aden is like a spiderweb, each strand with a meaning of its own, a piece of something greater, more complex.” Patrick Rothfuss.
Cree is like Rothfuss’s Adem, except words operate ‘like spiderwebs, each strand with a meaning of its own….’ Take, for example, the word nâkatohkêyimâwasowin “caring” also conveys the ideas of paying close attention, looking after someone, attending to others, and listening closely to others. Much like these geese tend to their young.
kikâwînawak kikî-sâkihikonawak pâmwayês ê-nihtâwikiyahk. ᑭᑳᐑᓇᐘᐠ ᑭᑮ ᓵᑭᐦᐃᑯᓇᐘᐠ ᐹᒷᔦᐢ ᐁ ᓂᐦᑖᐏᑭᔭᕽ᙮ Our mothers loved us before we were born.
Thanks to Karlee Fellner, celebrating her first Mother’s Day-in-waiting, for allowing us to share this image she painted for her own unborn child. It reminds us all of how we were each loved by our mothers, even before we were born.
Happy Mother’s Day to mothers everywhere. (Be sure to add the plural (k) if you’re speaking to more than one mother!)