Let’s Keep On Speaking Cree: Solomon Ratt (y-dialect)

Text by Solomon Ratt, photo by Ilona Pelletier.

ahkami-nêhiyawêtân

ahkami-nêhiyawêtân
kipîkiskwêwininâhk astêw kinisitohtamowininaw

ahkami-nêhiyawêtân
kipîkiskwêwininâhk astêw kinisitawêyimitowininaw

ahkami-nêhiyawêtân
kipîkiskwêwininâhk astêw kipimâtisiwininaw

ahkami-nêhiyawêtân
kipîkiskwêwininâhk astêw kinêhiyâwiwininaw.

ᐊᐦᑲᒥ ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᑖᐣ

ᐊᐦᑲᒥ ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᑖᐣ
ᑭᐲᑭᐢᑵᐏᓂᓈᕽ ᐊᐢᑌᐤ ᑭᓂᓯᑐᐦᑕᒧᐏᓂᓇᐤ

ᐊᐦᑲᒥ ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᑖᐣ
ᑭᐲᑭᐢᑵᐏᓂᓈᕽ ᐊᐢᑌᐤ ᑭᓂᓯᑕᐍᔨᒥᑐᐏᓂᓇᐤ

ᐊᐦᑲᒥ ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᑖᐣ
ᑭᐲᑭᐢᐍᐏᓂᓈᕽ ᐊᐢᑌᐤ ᑭᐱᒫᑎᓯᐏᓂᓇᐤ

ᐊᐦᑲᒥ ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᑖᐣ
ᑭᐲᑭᐢᑵᐏᓂᓈᕽ ᐊᐢᑌw ᑭᓀᐦᐃᔮᐏᐏᓂᓇᐤ

Let’s keep on speaking Cree

Let’s keep on speaking Cree:
In our language is our understanding.

Let’s keep on speaking Cree;
In our language is our recognition of who we are.

Let’s keep on speaking Cree;
In our language is our life.

Let’s keep on speaking Cree;
In our language is our Cree essence.

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

Regina opens Jean Okimâsis Park

CLN Honorary Founder, Dr Jean Okimâsis visits the Regina park named in her honour

Congratulations to the forever-young Dr Jean Okimâsis whose groundbreaking work in the classroom at Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (now First Nations University) inspired the careers of so many fine “Creechers” including Solomon Ratt, Wayne Jackson, Darren Okemaysim and many, many more. Through her teaching Jean has consistently set a strong example for standard spelling as a tool for building a community of readers and writers who are fully literate in Cree.

Unlike spoken language which we can pick up naturally when we hear it enough, learning to read and write (in any language) requires formal training. In a world where residential schools forbade Cree language instruction, opportunities for people to learn to read and write in Cree simply didn’t exist.

The survival of spoken Cree in the face of Canada’s determined interference is nearly miraculous. It is both natural and admirable for people to read and write the language using the tools they learned for English. But a genuine command of the written language, and a genuine command of reading in Cree – the kind of command we want for our Cree-speaking children and grandchildren – demands predictable spelling. As we look forward, imagining Cree as an official language of Canada, it’s hard to formulate that vision without a consistently shared system for writing and spelling.

So today, we congratulate Jean for her patience and persistence and life-long commitment to her language (and we work really hard to spell it right, too!): kimamihcihinân. We hope our efforts make her proud, too.

(If you are a former student of Jean’s (or a student of one of her students), please feel free to leave a comment below. I’m sure she’d love to hear from you!)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/jean-okimasis-regina-city-park-1.4771085

https://www.mbcradio.com/2018/08/regina-park-could-soon-be-named-after-jean-okimasis
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“kitâskwêw, pihtakwatâw!*” It’s Hockey Day in Cree!

https://aptn.ca/hockey/

*itâskwêw, pihtakwatâw! = ᐃᑖᐢᑵᐤ, ᐱᐦᑕᑿᑖᐤ! ᐀ He shoots, he scores!

The excitement on social media about today’s NHL Hockey broadcast in Cree is pretty hard to ignore. Some of our favourite commentators were up at the crack of dawn this morning in Winnipeg, preparing for the excitement. And people all over the west are putting down tobacco and smudging on their behalf, hoping for a truly great event.

To Studio Host, Earl Wood, Play-by-play Announcer, Clarence Iron, Studio Panelist, Jason Chamakese and Studio Analyst, John Chabot: kahkiyaw kimamihcihinân! ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᑭᒪᒥᐦᒋᐦᐃᓈᐣ “You make us all proud!” Find profiles at aptn.ca/hockey

Photo from APTN National News FB page

While we’re all waiting for the game to start, there’s time to brush up on your cheering in Cree. Find the words you’ll need to cheer in Cree, and other hockey-related posts here at Cree Literacy Network. You can even find Akina Shirt singing O Canada. Click the links, or type “hockey” into the search box.

Some other links from today’s media:

Rogers Hometown Hockey: Enoch Cree Nation

https://aptn.ca/hockey/

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/nhl-hockey-plains-cree-earl-wood-1.5061513

https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/shot-callers-qa-clarence-iron-nhls-first-cree-play-play-man/

https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/shot-callers-qa-clarence-iron-nhls-first-cree-play-play-man/

https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/hometown-hockey-25-hockey-terms-translated-plains-cree/

 

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My language is respected: Solomon Ratt (th-dialect), Respect: Arok Wolvengrey (y-dialect)

Julia Ouellette of Loon Lake, Saskatchewan challenged her fellow Cree speakers on FaceBook last week to post a video of themselves on FaceBook in the Cree language. This post includes responses to the challenge from Solomon Ratt, and from Arok Wolvengrey. 

Not everyone is a good enough speaker to take up the challenge. With this post, I’m inviting everyone who takes the challenge to transcribe their words in SRO (and translate into English) so we can add them to Cree Literacy Network’s collection!  Wayne T. Jackson, Kevin Lewis: I’m looking at you guys first! 😉

nipîkiskwîwin kihcîthihtâkwan:
nipîkiskwîn nikiskinwahamâkon tânisi kita-isi-mitho-pimohtîyân ôta kitaskînahk. kîspin oti nitohtamânani âcathohkîwina, kîspin oti nitohtawakwâwi kihtî-ayak.
nipîskwîwin nikiskinwahamâkon tânisi kita-isi-nâkatîthimakwâw nicawâsimisak, nôsisimak ikwa nôcâpânak. kîspin oti nitohtamânani âcathohkîwina, kîspin oti nitohtawakwâwi kihtî-ayak.
nipîkiskwîwin nikiskinwahamâkon kita-kistîthihtamân kahkithaw kîkwaya kâ-kihcihtwâki ikwa kita-kistîthimakwâw kahkithaw kâ-wîtaskîmakwâw. kîspin oti nitohtamânani âcathohkîwina, kîspin oti nitohtawakwâwi kihtî-ayak. 

ᓂᐲᑭᐢᑹᐏᐣ ᑭᐦᒌᖨᐦᑖᑿᐣ:
ᓂᐲᑭᐢᑹᐣ ᓂᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑯᐣ ᑖᓂᓯ ᑭᑕ ᐃᓯ ᒥᖪ ᐱᒧᐦᑏᔮᐣ ᐆᑕ ᑭᑕᐢᑮᓇᕽ᙮ ᑮᐢᐱᐣ ᐅᑎ ᓂᑐᐦᑕᒫᓇᓂ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑮᐏᓇ, ᑮᐢᐱᐣ ᐅᑎ ᓂᑐᐦᑕᐘᒁᐏ ᑭᐦᑏ ᐊᔭᐠ᙮
ᓂᐲᐢᑹᐏᐣ ᓂᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑯᐣ ᑖᓂᓯ ᑭᑕ ᐃᓯ ᓈᑲᑏᖨᒪᒁᐤ ᓂᒐᐚᓯᒥᓴᐠ, ᓅᓯᓯᒪᐠ ᐃᑿ ᓅᒑᐹᓇᐠ᙮ ᑮᐢᐱᐣ ᐅᑎ ᓂᑐᐦᑕᒫᓇᓂ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑮᐏᓇ, ᑮᐢᐱᐣ ᐅᑎ ᓂᑐᐦᑕᐘᒁᐏ ᑭᐦᑏ ᐊᔭᐠ᙮
ᓂᐲᑭᐢᑹᐏᐣ ᓂᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑯᐣ ᑭᑕ ᑭᐢᑏᖨᐦᑕᒫᐣ ᑲᐦᑭᖬᐤ ᑮᑿᔭ ᑳ ᑭᐦᒋᐦᑤᑭ ᐃᑿ ᑭᑕ ᑭᐢᑏᖨᒪᒁᐤ ᑲᐦᑭᖬᐤ ᑳ ᐑᑕᐢᑮᒪᒁᐤ᙮ ᑮᐢᐱᐣ ᐅᑎ ᓂᑐᐦᑕᒫᓇᓂ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑮᐏᓇ, ᑮᐢᐱᐣ ᐅᑎ ᓂᑐᐦᑕᐘᒁᐏ ᑭᐦᑏ ᐊᔭᐠ᙮

My language is respected:
My language teaches me how to walk in a good way; but only if I listen to the sacred stories; but only if I listen to the Elders.
My language teaches me to take care of my children, my grandchildren, and my great-grandchildren; but only if I listen to the sacred stories, but only if I listen to the Elders.
My language teaches me to respect all sacred things and respect all those who share the earth with me. But only if I listen to the sacred stories, only if I listen to the Elders.

My adopted younger brother, Arok Wolvengrey, wrote this below:

kistêyihta kahkiyaw kâ-kihcihtwâki,
kistêyim kikâwînaw askiy,
kistêyimik kêhtê-ayak,
kistêyimik kahkiyaw kâ-wîtaskêmâyahkok:
kâ-nêwokâtêcik, kâ-nîsokâtêcik,
kâ-otahtahkwanicik, kâ-yâhyânahkik,
kâ-pimitâcimocik, pikwacipakowiyiniwak
êkwa mîna asinîwiyiniwak.
tâpitaw ta-kî-kakwê-miyo-kwayaskohtêyan

ᑭᐢᑌᔨᐦᑕ ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᑳ ᑭᐦᒋᐦᑤᑭ,
ᑭᐢᑌᔨᒼ ᑭᑳᐑᓇᐤ ᐊᐢᑭᕀ,
ᑭᐢᑌᔨᒥᐠ ᑫᐦᑌ ᐊᔭᐠ,
ᑭᐢᑌᔨᒥᐠ ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᑳ ᐑᑕᐢᑫᒫᔭᐦᑯᐠ:
ᑳ ᓀᐓᑳᑌᒋᐠ, ᑳ ᓃᓱᑳᑌᒋᐠ,
ᑳ ᐅᑕᐦᑕᐦᑿᓂᒋᐠ, ᑳ ᔮᐦᔮᓇᐦᑭᐠ,
ᑳ ᐱᒥᑖᒋᒧᒋᐠ, ᐱᑿᒋᐸᑯᐏᔨᓂᐘᐠ
ᐁᑿ ᒦᓇ ᐊᓯᓃᐏᔨᓂᐘᐠ᙮
ᑖᐱᑕᐤ ᑕ ᑮ ᑲᑵ ᒥᔪ ᑿᔭᐢᑯᐦᑌᔭᐣ

Respect all sacred things:
Respect Our Mother Earth,
Respect the Elders,
Respect all those with whom we share the earth:
The four-legged, The two-legged,
The Winged-ones, The Swimmers,
The Crawlers, The Plant People,
And the Rock People.
Always I should strive to walk in balance.

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Three Little Birds (Bob Marley): y-dialect

Maybe it’s Solomon Ratt’s photo in a crocheted Rastafarian hat, maybe it’s because Spring is finally springing, but I was reminded of this great Bob Marley song that might be perfect for a whole bunch of tiny Cree immersion students to sing somewhere. So I attempted a translation (below).

The third link in the chain of memory is this viral dance recital video (that might make a kind of choreographic suggestion). https://youtu.be/iKRsclxBZGg

I really hope there’s a teacher somewhere ready to take this hint and make a video. I’ve also added a YouTube karaoke video below.

[Full disclosure: When I try to do translation without help, I kind of identify with the little blonde girl on the far right. So thanks, Ben Godden for giving my first round translation an upgrade. And thanks to anyone else who helps find errors!]

Three Little Birds. Bob Marley (translated by Arden Ogg)

kâya nânitaw itêyihta.
kahkiyaw kîkwas: kiyâm ôma!
nikamo: kâya nânitaw itêyihta
kahkiyaw kîkwas: kiyâm ôma!

niwaniskân
nipâhpihkwân
nisto piyêsisa
nitiskwâhtêmihk
ê-nikamocik
miyo-nikamowina
ê-itwêhk: kitāsiwīhtamātin!

kâya nânitaw itêyihta.
kahkiyaw kîkwas: kiyâm ôma!
nikamo: kâya nânitaw itêyihta
kahkiyaw kîkwas: kiyâm ôma!

ᑳᔭ ᓈᓂᑕᐤ ᐃᑌᔨᐦᑕ᙮
ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᑮᑿᐢ: ᑭᔮᒼ ᐆᒪ!
ᓂᑲᒧ: ᑳᔭ ᓈᓂᑕᐤ ᐃᑌᔨᐦᑕ
ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᑮᑿᐢ: ᑭᔮᒼ ᐆᒪ!

ᓂᐹᐦᐱᐦᒁᐣ
ᓂᐢᑐ ᐱᔦᓯᓴ
ᓂᑎᐢᒁᐦᑌᒥᕽ
ᐁ ᓂᑲᒧᒋᐠ
ᒥᔪ ᓂᑲᒧᐏᓇ
ᐁ ᐃᑘᕽ: ᑭᑖᓯᐑᐦᑕᒫᑎᐣ!

ᑳᔭ ᓈᓂᑕᐤ ᐃᑌᔨᐦᑕ᙮
ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᑮᑿᐢ: ᑭᔮᒼ ᐆᒪ!
ᓂᑲᒧ: ᑳᔭ ᓈᓂᑕᐤ ᐃᑌᔨᐦᑕ
ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᑮᑿᐢ: ᑭᔮᒼ ᐆᒪ!

Don’t worry about a thing,
Cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singin: don’t worry about a thing,
Cause every little thing gonna be all right!

Rise up this mornin,
Smiled with the risin sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin, (this is my message to you-ou-ou:)

Singin: don’t worry bout a thing,
Cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singin: don’t worry (dont worry) bout a thing,
Cause every little thing gonna be all right!

 

 

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Another NHL Connection: Congratulations Brady Keeper!

And congratulations to Pimicikamak Cree Nation as Brady signed with the Florida Panthers on March 19, 2019. Brady: we wish you a long, healthy, successful career in the NHL. tahkahkih, Brady: ahkamêyimo! (But you’re obviously already pretty good at that!)

Brady Keeper from Hockey East Players’ Stats page: http://www.hockeyeastonline.com/men/statistics/players19.php?mnem19

Brady was interviewed this morning on CBC’s “The Current” too. There’s still a chance to hear if you tune in via CBC Radio app. The segment is yet to play in Alberta and BC. It may even air again the evening recap.

https://www.tsn.ca/keeper-s-improbable-nhl-story-cause-for-celebration-in-cross-lake-1.1276116?fbclid=IwAR1VkCvLvFDg4AN8ccF0tlsp8AcVCE-jF3B6OsP_MO1YSIwzWecGLYy4ip0

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kakîpâtisak: Solomon Ratt (th-dialect)

kî-kakwî-nipahtâwak nipîkiskwîwin
ispî kâ-kî-kiskinwahamawicik;
kakîpâtisak!
nikî-kiskinwahamawikwak
tânisi kita-isi-pasikôhtâyân 
anima kâ-kî-nâspitihkwâmiskahkwâw. 

ᑮ ᑲᑹ ᓂᐸᐦᑖᐘᐠ ᓂᐲᑭᐢᑹᐏᐣ
ᐃᐢᐲ ᑳ ᑮ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒪᐏᒋᐠ;
ᑲᑮᐹᑎᓴᐠ!
ᓂᑮ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒪᐏᑿᐠ
ᑖᓂᓯ ᑭᑕ ᐃᓯ ᐸᓯᑰᐦᑖᔮᐣ 
ᐊᓂᒪ ᑳ ᑮ ᓈᐢᐱᑎᐦᒁᒥᐢᑲᐦᒁᐤ᙮

They tried to kill my language
When they were educating me:
The fools!
They taught me how to raise
That which has been in a trance.

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Eugene Cardinal: In Memoriam

Late Eugene Cardinal enjoys reading a story from the collection of late Cecilia Masuskapoe, transcribed and published in SRO. 

Thanks to Viper Nayawatic for sharing his video of late Eugene Cardinal (below), singing the Cree Sunrise Song. It’s a lovely way to honour our late Elder who left us in January of this year, after giving so much to Cree language and culture as resident Elder at Blue Quills College.

At the time of Eugene’s passing, Viper wrote: “I’m glad I had the opportunity to meet this man he was a good man with a kind heart and a voice that would make everyone sit quietly. I tried to visit him every morning at school, sure going to miss my friend.”

A personal obituary can be found at https://northernlightsfs.ca/tribute/details/671/Eugene-Cardinal/condolences.html

We at Cree Literacy were honoured to meet Eugene, too. The photo above was taken in the midst of the 47th Algonquian Conference in Winnipeg in October 2015. Eugene sat down to enjoy a good book written entirely in Cree (in SRO) by the late Dr Freda Ahenakew. Learn more about the book itself here.

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Fragments of Reality: Solomon Ratt (th-dialect)

pah-piskihc tâpwîwina:
âcathohkîwina masinahikanihk
kâ-kî-mâwasakonahkwâw opîtatowîwak;
namôtha iyakoni misakâmî âcathohkîwina,
pah-piskihc poko tâpwîwina.

pah-piskihc tâpwîwina:
nîsta mîna nikiskisin apisîs
ikwa pah-piskihc âcathohkîwina;
namôthah misakâmî âcathohkîwina iyakoni,
pah-piskihc poko tâpwîwina.

pah-piskihc tâpwîwina:
ta-apihkîyahk âcathohkîwina
masinahikanihk ohci mîna kikiskisnowininahk;
mâmawi-atoskîyahki kika-misakâmî-astânaw âcathohkîwina,
namôtha poko pah-piskihc tâpwîwina.

ᐸᐦ ᐱᐢᑭᐦᐨ ᑖᐿᐏᓇ:
ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑮᐏᓇ ᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑲᓂᕽ
ᑳ ᑮ ᒫᐘᓴᑯᓇᐦᒁᐤ ᐅᐲᑕᑐᐑᐘᐠ;
ᓇᒨᖬ ᐃᔭᑯᓂ ᒥᓴᑳᒦ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑮᐏᓇ,
ᐸᐦ ᐱᐢᑭᐦᐨ ᐳᑯ ᑖᐿᐏᓇ᙮

ᐸᐦ ᐱᐢᑭᐦᐨ ᑖᐿᐏᓇ:
ᓃᐢᑕ ᒦᓇ ᓂᑭᐢᑭᓯᐣ ᐊᐱᓰᐢ
ᐃᑿ ᐸᐦ ᐱᐢᑭᐦᐨ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑮᐏᓇ;
ᓇᒨᖬ ᒥᓴᑳᒦ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑮᐏᓇ ᐃᔭᑯᓂ,
ᐸᐦ ᐱᐢᑭᐦᐨ ᐳᑯ ᑖᐿᐏᓇ᙮

ᐸᐦ ᐱᐢᑭᐦᐨ ᑖᐿᐏᓇ:
ᑕ ᐊᐱᐦᑮᔭᕽ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑮᐏᓇ
ᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑲᓂᕽ ᐅᐦᒋ ᒦᓇ ᑭᑭᐢᑭᐢᓄᐏᓂᓇᕽ;
ᒫᒪᐏ ᐊᑐᐢᑮᔭᐦᑭ ᑭᑲ ᒥᓴᑳᒦ ᐊᐢᑖᓇᐤ ᐋᒐᖪᐦᑮᐏᓇ,
ᓇᒨᖬ ᐳᑯ ᐸᐦ ᐱᐢᑭᐦᐨ ᑖᐿᐏᓇ᙮

Fragments of reality:
sacred stories in books
collected by settlers;
those are not complete stories,
just fragments of reality.

Fragments of reality:
I too remember only bits
and pieces of our sacred stories;
those are not complete stories,
just fragments of reality.

Fragments of reality:
to weave together those sacred stories
from books and out memories;
together we will complete the sacred stories
not just fragments of reality.

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Joe Fafard: oskana kâ-asastêki 

Joe Fafard “Oskana” 1995. Bronze,
25 x 51 x 29 cm (sold at auction)

I’m sad to learn of the passing of Saskatchewan artist Joe Fafard. My all-time favourite piece of his is called “Oskana” – the Cree word for “bones”. The name is a clever pun on the old Cree name for Regina: oskana kâ-asastêki, literally meaning,”Where the bones are piled,” but usually rendered in English as “Pile of Bones.” This little bronze sculpture of a bison at rest is made up of thousands of little pieces, shaped like bones, and it makes me smile as it slyly honours Regina’s Cree roots.

Read more about Joe Fafard here: 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/joe-fafard-death-saskatchewan-sculpture-artist-1.5059549?fbclid=IwAR2y8VcPprkGJl71oLBQk6E1jQGZeATOY2QZFT1DL8VAeFjQt_Sf2qkzQ7E

Find oskana kâ-asastêki and other Cree place names on this Google map:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1KQcuBlf6nALH6J1MC_DI0q-sG7A&usp=sharing

 

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