Cree Language makes the CBC National News (with #CreeSimonSays)

The story began last week of a Canadian comic book publisher, Joseph John, astonished to discover there was no Google Translate option for Cree. Perhaps it was the request of a genuine cultural “outsider” (a real Indian from India!) that continues to draw major media attention to the petition to Google that began as a result. Simon Bird (#CreeSimonSays) did a great job speaking up for the language, and raised intriguing possibilities – which also raise questions that need answers.

[Also: Hats off to Sienna Deschambault in the photo above, already taking a leadership role in Cree language revitalization!]

Question One: Which Cree? 
Numerous pieces here at Cree Literacy Network (including this one) hint at the depth and diversity of Cree language variation. “Cree” may seem like a single language to a cultural outsider, but even insiders are not necessarily fully aware that what Western Cree people call “Cree” and what Eastern Cree people call “Cree” are actually different languages (with some mutual intelligibility). And within each group, variation is significant.

(For another view of the Cross-Canada picture of Cree linguistic variation, you can look at our popular Google map (still a work in progress), “Cree Names of Cree-speaking Communities.” (Incredibly, it’s been viewed nearly 83,000 times since posting).

Question Two: What does Google need to make this happen?
A petition attempts to pressure those in power to make something happen. But even if Google is willing, their translation tools can’t simply pull Cree (of any variety) out of thin air. What Google needs, in this case, is an enormous collection of good, written examples of Cree language (perhaps a million examples – not a million different words), and a “concerted effort” by the language community.

For other languages around the world, Google’s tools use computer programs to assemble and then analyze a database of hundreds of thousands of language samples, scanned in from published books, and newspapers, or harvested from the internet. For most languages (take Hindi, for example) enormous, useable samples are generated every day through online news publications and simple communication between fully fluent speakers, reading and writing that language.

Google translate cannot teach people how to speak their own language, or invent new ways of spelling: it builds its tools on established language use. When we look at existing FaceBook Cree language groups, we still see regular declarations that spelling doesn’t matter. This may be true, for one or two words at a time exchanged between fully fluent speakers. But you can’t read or write a book that way (at least, not one that anyone else can read). Computer programs are built on rules and predictability.

For those who think the language simply shouldn’t be shared at all: sadly, linguistic research world wide shows that there is no more effective way of ensuring and accelerating language death.

Question Three: Who can be part of this “Concerted Effort”?
In the news story, Simon mentions his own recent involvement with the 21st Century Tools for Indigenous Languages project at the University of Alberta (funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada). In particular, he mentions the itwêwina dictionary project (you can also find a link on the main menu bar above, highlighted in red). This dictionary is built using the same kind of computer tools that Google would create, and it’s based on a database of all the well written samples of Cree that can be found. Over the last year, its functionality and user-friendliness have grown in leaps and bounds.

Here in our tenth year at the Cree Literacy Network, we’ve been on board with the UofA project since it began. Every one of our Cree language posts becomes part of the Cree language database that helps to fuel the project. Each one of our contributors uses the same foundation of Cree language literacy and standard spelling laid by our honorary founders Dr Jean Okimâsis, and the late Dr Freda Ahenakew, whose work follows on that of the late Ida McLeod, and the late Rev. Canon Edward Ahenakew, going back a century or more.

The initial focus may be on y-dialect, because it has the largest existing collection of written examples, but the deep similarities among the Western dialects opens the door to relatively rapid inclusion of th- and n-dialects (if they are built on the same principles of standard spelling).

There’s an old saying that the best time to plant a tree is thirty years ago. Maybe that’s the really good news in this story. The real work began ages ago, and continues to make significant progress through good faith contributions of speakers, teachers, linguists and advocates from across the Cree language continuum. And many of the CLN’s closest friends and colleagues and readers (that means you!) continue to contribute informally every day to the language databases needed to support the computer tools that will help to revitalize Cree as the fully functional 21st-century language that future generations deserve.

Posted in From the Mainstream, How Cree Works, Literacy and Learning, Simon Bird (#CreeSimonSays), Video | 5 Comments

âyâs, 2018, 2021: Solomon Ratt (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 serve to explain some curious aspect of the natural world, or teach some important cultural lesson. Traditionally, stories of Wîsahkêcâhk were only to be told when the ground was covered with snow.

Another less-known protagonist is âyâs, a young man who is forced into conflict with a jealous stepfather. This epic âtayôhkêwin, which Sol learned at his mother’s knee in northern Saskatchewan seems to be better known around James Bay, where the stepfather goes by the name of Niguishan. Continue reading

Posted in Audio (th-dialect), Sacred Stories, Solomon Ratt, Storytelling Month (February), Video | Leave a comment

Wisahkecahk Snares the Sun (2021, 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 serve to explain some curious aspect of the natural world, or teach some important cultural lesson. Traditionally, stories of Wîsahkêcâhk were only to be told when the ground was covered with snow (which it still is, here in Nunavut where I’m working!)

The story of how Wisahkecahk Snared the Sun is drawn from Edward Ahenakew’s (English-only) collection published as “Trickster Tales,” in The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 42, No. 166 (October-December, 1929) pp 309-353. A pdf scan of the original publication can be purchased for download at

Continue reading

Posted in Audio (th-dialect), Billy Joe Laboucan, Sacred Stories, Solomon Ratt, Storytelling Month (February), Video, Wisahkecahk | Leave a comment

Becoming Proficient: Solomon Ratt (th-dialect)

“ī-kī-nātakwīyāhk kīkisīp” – We checked our rabbit snares this morning. Photos thanks to Chris Ravenis, November 2020

okiskinwahamâkanak nikâh-kakîskimâwak:
aniki kâ-nohtî-nîhithowîcik

nohtâwîpan nikî-kiskinwahamâk ta-isi-tâpakwîyân. nikî-mîthik âpacihcikana ta-ohci-tâpakwâkiyân: cîkahikanis ta-kîskatahwakwâw miscikosak, tâpakwâniyâpiy, ikwa mohkomân ta-manisamân miscikosa ta-sihtoskahamân tâpakwân. nikî-kiskinohtahik ita ta-miskamân wâposo-mîskanâsa ikwa mîna ta-isi-nisitawinamân iyakoni. nikî-kiskinwahamâk ta-isi-othastâyân tâpakwâniyâpiy ikwa tânisi ta-isi-akotâyân wâposo-mîskanâsihk.

nistam kâ-akotâyân wâposo-tâpakwân nikî-mamâthân mâka mihcêtwâw kâ-ati-tâh-tâpakwêyân nikî-ati-nahân. mâka anohc nimamâthân athisk kayâs aspin kâ-kî-tâpakwîyân. kapî mâna poko ta-tâh-tâpakwîyân kîspin ninohtî-nahân.

ikosi anima kahkithaw kîkway: kîspin nohtî-nahîyâni ohcitaw poko kapî ta-pimi-atoskâtamân.

ᐅᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑲᓇᐠ ᓂᑳᐦ ᑲᑮᐢᑭᒫᐘᐠ:
ᐊᓂᑭ ᑳ ᓄᐦᑏ ᓃᐦᐃᖪᐑᒋᐠ

ᓄᐦᑖᐑᐸᐣ ᓂᑮ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᐠ ᑕ ᐃᓯ ᑖᐸᑹᔮᐣ᙮ ᓂᑮ ᒦᖨᐠ ᐋᐸᒋᐦᒋᑲᓇ ᑕ ᐅᐦᒋ ᑖᐸᒁᑭᔮᐣ: ᒌᑲᐦᐃᑲᓂᐢ ᑕ ᑮᐢᑲᑕᐦᐘᒁᐤ ᒥᐢᒋᑯᓴᐠ, ᑖᐸᒁᓂᔮᐱᐩ, ᐃᑿ ᒧᐦᑯᒫᐣ ᑕ ᒪᓂᓴᒫᐣ ᒥᐢᒋᑯᓴ ᑕ ᓯᐦᑐᐢᑲᐦᐊᒫᐣ ᑖᐸᒁᐣ᙮ ᓂᑮ ᑭᐢᑭᓄᐦᑕᐦᐃᐠ ᐃᑕ ᑕ ᒥᐢᑲᒫᐣ ᐚᐳᓱ ᒦᐢᑲᓈᓴ ᐃᑿ ᒦᓇ ᑕ ᐃᓯ ᓂᓯᑕᐏᓇᒫᐣ ᐃᔭᑯᓂ᙮ ᓂᑮ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᐠ ᑕ ᐃᓯ ᐅᖬᐢᑖᔮᐣ ᑖᐸᒁᓂᔮᐱᐩ ᐃᑿ ᑖᓂᓯ ᑕ ᐃᓯ ᐊᑯᑖᔮᐣ ᐚᐳᓱ ᒦᐢᑲᓈᓯᕽ᙮

ᓂᐢᑕᒼ ᑳ ᐊᑯᑖᔮᐣ ᐚᐳᓱ ᑖᐸᒁᐣ ᓂᑮ ᒪᒫᖭᐣ ᒫᑲ ᒥᐦᒉᑤᐤ ᑳ ᐊᑎ ᑖᐦ ᑖᐸᑵᔮᐣ ᓂᑮ ᐊᑎ ᓇᐦᐋᐣ᙮ ᒫᑲ ᐊᓄᐦᐨ ᓂᒪᒫᖭᐣ ᐊᖨᐢᐠ ᑲᔮᐢ ᐊᐢᐱᐣ ᑳ ᑮ ᑖᐸᑹᔮᐣ᙮ ᑲᐲ ᒫᓇ ᐳᑯ ᑕ ᑖᐦ ᑖᐸᑹᔮᐣ ᑮᐢᐱᐣ ᓂᓄᐦᑏ ᓇᐦᐋᐣ᙮

ᐃᑯᓯ ᐊᓂᒪ ᑲᐦᑭᖬᐤ ᑮᑿᐩ: ᑮᐢᐱᐣ ᓄᐦᑏ ᓇᐦᐄᔮᓂ ᐅᐦᒋᑕᐤ ᐳᑯ ᑲᐲ ᑕ ᐱᒥ ᐊᑐᐢᑳᑕᒫᐣ᙮

My advice to students: those who want to learn Cree.

My late father taught me how to set snares. He gave me the tools with which to set snares: a small axe for cutting down saplings, snare wire, and a knife to cut sticks to brace the snare. He lead me to the rabbit trails and showed me how to recognize them. He taught me how to shape and tie the snare wire across the rabbit trail.

The first time I hung a rabbit snare it was awful but as I set more rabbit snares I became proficient at it. But today I am not good at it anymore as it’s been a long time since I set a rabbit snare. I have to continually set rabbit snares if I want to be good at it.

It is this way for all things: if I want to be proficient at anything I have to continually work at it.

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

International Mother Language Day, 2021

okâwimâwi-pîkiskwêwin kîsikâw misiwêskamik

ᐅᑳᐏᒫᐏ ᐲᑭᐢᑵᐏᐣ ᑮᓯᑳᐤ ᒥᓯᐍᐢᑲᒥᐠ:

International Mother Language Day

This photo is an old one, from October 2010. It’s a Greyeyes/Ahenakew family treasure, shared here with pride. It’s also an image that captures for me and many of my Cree Literacy Network colleagues the idea of mother language, personified in the late Dr Freda Ahenakew, whom we love and miss. Freda is the little figure wrapped in pink and beige, seated right at the heart of this small subset of otawâsisak, ôsimisa, and câpânak (her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren), on the porch of her own log cabin at Muskeg Lake Cree Nation.

Today we offer this photo in tribute to all those for whom the Cree language – in any of its variants or dialects – is a birthright.

Posted in Identity | Leave a comment

MESC Learning Services Announces Syllabics for Chromebooks

Congratulations to Maskwacîs Education Schools Commission’s MESC Learning Services, and to all of our friends at University of Alberta’s AltLabs (especially you, Eddie Santos) on your collaboration with Google (through Software Engineer Craig Cornelius) to integrate Plains Cree syllabics into Google Chrome, facilitating Plains Cree syllabics on Chromebooks.

As MESC writes, “This is an historic first, and we are thrilled that MESC played a role in the preservation and promotion of ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ / nehiyawewin for Maskwacîs and anyone interested in learning Plains Cree syllabics in the world.

ᒐᐦᑭᐯᐦᐃᑫᐏᐣ / cahkipehikewin (Cree syllabics) are essential to teaching and learning Nehiyawewin as the symbols express the correct sounds used in Cree words and phrases that strengthen language skills and îyinîw mâmitonehicikan (Cree thought) for awâsisak (children) êkwa oskâyak (and youth).

For more information and how to install the Plains Cree syllabics into Google Chrome (including one of Eddie’s incredibly helpful tutorials), visit:

Learn more about AltLab, and its collaboration with MESC, First Nations University (and even the Cree Literacy Network) in developing 21st-century language tools, including the online itwêwina dictionary, (You can find more of Eddie’s really helpful tutorials there, too!)

Posted in Community News, Literacy and Learning, Syllabics | Leave a comment

Buffy Sainte-Marie: Universal Soldier (Solomon Ratt, y-dialect)

In tribute to Buffy Sainte-Marie on her birthday, Solomon Ratt has prepared a Cree interpretation of her “Universal Soldier” (1964). We’ve presented it below in Sol’s karaoke video, and in text (to encourage others to read along, and maybe even record it for themselves.) The photo to the right is Solomon himself in 1966: a cadet, already being groomed for warfare at the tender age of 14.

One constant challenge in translating songs from English into Cree is working with two very different language structures. English words tend to be short and free-standing. Cree words tend to be long and heavily inflected. In the case of this song, for example, the four-syllable phrase, “He’s five foot two”expands into 19 syllables when it’s fully translated into Cree: niyânan mistit mîna nîso micihcinis ispihcikâpawiw. Clearly, something’s got to give!

In the table that follows this video, you will find the original English, followed by Cree in standard spelling. A third column, labelled “back translation” helps to illustrate the choices and compromises Sol had to make as interpreter in order to produce singable lines.

Universal Soldier misiwê simâkanis
by Buffy Sainte-Marie Buffy Sainte-Marie omasinahikêw
Translated by Solomon RattSolomon Ratt nêhiyaw-masinaham"Back translation" (Solomon Ratt)
He’s 5’2”, he’s 6’4.”cimisisiw, kinwâskosiwHe is tall, he is short
He fights with missiles and with spears.nanâtohk (i)si-nôtinikêw.He fights all sorts of ways
He’s all of 31 and he’s only 17.kî-kîsohpikiw mîna kêkâc kîsohpikiwHe’s grown up and almost grown up
He’s been a soldier for a thousand years.kayâs ohci simâkanisîwiw.He’s been a soldier for a long time.
He’s a Catholic, a Hindu, an atheist, a jain;pahkw-âyamihâw, âkayâsîwi-ayamihâw;He’s a Catholic, he’s an Anglican;
A Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew.nanâtohk ê-isi-ayamihât.He prays in all sorts of ways.
And he knows he shouldn’t killnamôya ta-kî-nipahtâkêtHe shouldn’t kill
And he knows he always will killkâkikê ka-nipahikHe will forever kill you…
You for me my friend and me for you.niy-ôhci (ê)kwa niya kiy-ôhci.For me, and me for you
And he’s fighting for Canada;nôtinikêstamawêw CanadaHe’s fighting for Canada
He’s fighting for France;nôtinikêstamawêw FranceHe’s fighting for France
He’s fighting for the USA;nôtinikêstamawêw USAHe’s fighting for the USA
And he’s fighting for the Russians;nôtinikêstamawêw RussiansHe’s fighting for the Russians
And he’s fighting for Japan;nôtinikêstamawêw Japan.He’s fighting for Japan
And he thinks we’ll put an end to war this way.itêyihtam ta-pôni-nôtinitohk.He thinks war will stop.
And he’s fighting for Democracy;nôtinikêstam Democracy;He fights for Democracy
He’s fighting for the Reds;nôtinikêstam Reds;He fights for the Reds.
He says it’s for the peace of all.itwêw ka-wîtaskît ômaHe says its for peace.
He’s the one who must decidewiya kâ-wiyasiwêtHe decides
Who’s to live and who’s to die;ana ta-nakataskêt.the one to die.
And he never sees the writing on the wall.môya wâpahtam kâ-pê-mâyipayik.He doesn’t see the bad coming.
But without him how would Hitlerpiko wiya tânisi HitlerWithout him how would Hitler
Have condemned him at Dachau.ta-itisahokot Dachau;Have sent him to Dachau
Without him Caesar would have stood alone.piko wiya Caesar ka-pêyakohtay.Without him Caesar would have stood alone.
He’s the one who gives his bodymêkiw miyaw t-âpacihtâhkHe gives body for use
As a weapon for the war;nâh-nôtinitowinihkin the war.
And without him all this killing can’t go on.piko wiya ma-kway nipahitowin;Without him there would be no killing
He’s the universal soldiermisiwê simâkanisHe’s a universal solder
And he really is to blamewiy-âwa kâ-itôtahk.He is the one who does all this.
But his orders come from far away no moreitasiwêwina môy-ohci wahyawOrders do not come from afar
They come from him and you and mekiyânaw kê-tisahamahk.We send the orders.
And brothers can’t you seenîtisânak, wâpik!Sibling, see!
This is not the way to put an end to war.môy-ômisi ka-pôni-nôtinitohk.This is not the way to end war.
Posted in Audio (y-dialect), Solomon Ratt, Songs in Cree, Video | Leave a comment

Wayne Jackson: The One I Love (y-dialect)

Thanks to Wayne Jackson for sharing the valentine he made for his wife Tracy this year. It’s a translation into Cree of the REM song, “The One I Love” – another great one for listening and singing along, and a great addition to our little library of songs in Cree.

ana kâ-sâkihak

nitisahamawâw ana kâ-sâkihak,
nitisahamawâw ana kâ-nakatispahak,
konita kîkwêy ka-mâmitonêyihtamân,
nitisahamawâw ana kâ-sâkihak,


nitisahamawâw ana kâ-sâkihak,
nitisahamawâw ana kâ-nakatispahak,
konita kîkwêy ka-mâmitonêyihtamân,
nitisahamawâw ana kâ-sâkihak,


ê-itisahamawak ana kâ-sâkihak,
ê-itisahamawak ana kâ-nakatispahak,
konita kîkwêy ka-mâmitonêyihtamân,
nitisahamawâw ana kâ-sâkihak,


Posted in Audio (y-dialect), Songs in Cree, Video, Wayne (Goodspirit) Jackson | Leave a comment

Origin of the Moon (th-dialect)

The Cree word for “sacred story” or “myth” is âtayôhkêwin (in y-dialect), âcathôhkîwin (in th-dialect). Wisahkecahk is often the protagonist of these stories, which often serve to explain some curious aspect of the natural world, or teach some important cultural lesson. Traditionally, stories of Wîsahkêcâhk were only to be told when the ground was covered with snow.

This story about the Origin of the Moon is drawn from an English-only collection, titled Nêhiyaw Atayohkêwina [Cree Legends]: Stories of Wîsahkecâhk edited by Stan Cuthand, and published by Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nation (1973; revisions 1977, 1988), that is currently out of print. In the book, it appears as “Origin of the Moon” on pages 42-45.

Although it’s not part of the repertoire that Solomon Ratt grew up with, we decided – as part of February 2021 Storytelling – to re-animate the story, by reading it aloud in English, then having it translated back in Cree.

In this post, scroll down to find:

  1. Video recorded on 22 February 2021 via Zoom. Arden Ogg reads the story in its published English version, with Solomon Ratt providing translation into Cree (th-dialect).
  2. Parallel text transcription of English (re-typed from the published SICC book), along with a new, 2021 text translation in th-dialect provided by Solomon Ratt. When you listen and read along, be sure to watch out for the places where the new Cree telling departs from the written translation: an important part of the storyteller’s art.
Origin of the MoonStan Cuthand, Ed., nêhiyâw atayohkêwina (Cree Legends): Stories of Wîsahkêcâhk. Regina: Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre (1973, rev. 1977, 1988).
kayâs, mêtoni kayâs, namôya kî-ihtakow tipiskâwi-pîsim. kîsikâwi-pîsim piko kâ-kî-ihtakot. kisê-manitow kî-ayâwêw itisahwâkana ta-wîcihikot otatoskêwinihk. pêyak awa itisahwâkan kî-itâw kâ-nâkatawêyimât kîsikâwi-pîsimwa.A long time ago, there was no moon. There was only the sun. The Creator had messengers who helped him in his work. One of these was the Caretaker of the Sun.
nîso kî-otawâsimisiw, nâpêsisa êkwa iskwêsisa. kî-nistowak kîsikohk. kî-cîhkêyihtamwak.He had two children, a boy and a girl. All three lived in the Sky World. They were very happy.
otânisimâw kî-kanwêyihtam kapêsiwin. kapê kî-kanâcihtâw. ispîhk kâ-kî-pahpawahahk opîwayakohpiwâwa, pîwayak kî-nîhci-pahkisinwak, ê-kî-kôniwicik. okosisimâw kî-nôcihcikêw êkwa kî-nôci-kinosêwêw. ita kâ-kî-akotât otayapiya ta-pâsoyit êkota ohci nipiy kî-pahkihtiniyiw, ê-kî-kimiwaniwik.The daughter looked after the camp. She kept it clean and tidy. When she shook the feather bedding, the feathers would fall to the earth as snow. The son hunted and fished. Where he hung his nets to dry, droplets fell to the earth as rain.
ohtâwîmâw ohpimê kî-ay-ayâw. kapê-kîsik pônam okihci-iskotêw kîsikâwi-pîsim.The father would be away. All day he kept the great fire burning on the Sun.
mêtoni kî-kisêyiniwiw, wîpac ta-nakatêw otawâsimisa, nama wîhkâc kîhtwâm ka-takosihk. kî-itêw; “ispîhk nipiyâni kiyawâw piko ta-âhkami-pônamêk iskotêw awêkâ cî ayisiyiniwak êkwa pisiskiwak askîhk ta-nipiwak.He was very old. Soon he would leave his children, never to return. He said to them; “When I die, you must keep the fire burning, or else the people and animals on earth will die.”
pêyakwâw ê-kî-ati-mêstaskitêk iskotêw kîsikâwi-pîsimohk, ohtâwîmâw kî-pê-kîwêw, ê-kî-nêstosit. kî-itwêw, “awâsisak, nitawâsimisak. êkwâni ta-sipwêhtêyân. nama wîhkâc kîhtwâm nika-pê-itohtân.” awâsisak kî-mâtowak, ê-kî-mawîhkâtâcik. kî-kiskêyihtamwak ê-wî-nipiyit.One day when the fire was low on the sun, the father came home tired. He said, “Children, my children, my children. I have to go. I will never return.” The children cried and mourned. They knew he would die.
kâ-kîkisêpâyâk êkwa ta-pônamihk kîsikâwi-pîsim iskotêw. awâsisak kî-ati-kîhkâtowak awîna ta-kî-itôtahk. “kiya pôna, kiya nawac kikisiyayawisin.” “namôya, kiya nîkân.””namôya, namôya niya, kiya nawac kikisiyayawisin, kiya kotawêw.” êkosi ê-kî-isi-têpwâtitocik.In the morning it was time to start the sun's fire. The children began to quarrel over who would do the task. “You start the fire, you are older.” “No, you start first.” “No, I will not, you are older, you start the fire.” They yelled thus to each other.
ayisîniwak askîhk kî-ati-mikoskâtêyihtamwak, ê-kî-itwêcik, “tânêhki awa kîsikâwi-pîsim kâ-mwêstasisihk?” “âsay awa ta-kî-sâkâsot!”The Earthlings began to worry, saying, “Why is the sun so late?” “It should be up by now!”
wîshakêcâhk kî-itohtêw kîsikâwi-pîsimohk ê-kî-nitawâpênawât tânisi ê-kî-ispayiyik. ispîhk kâ-kî-takosihk kêyâpic ôki wîtisânimâwak kî-kîhkâtowak. wîsahkêcâhk kî-kisiwâsow. “ayisiniwak êkwa pisiskiwak ka-nisiwanâtisiwak,” kî-itêw.Wisahkecahk went to the Sun to see what was the matter. When he arrived, the brother and sister were still quarrelling. Wisahkecahk was angry. “The People and animals will perish,” he said to them.
kiya ôma piko! kiya ôma kapê ka-pônaman ôma iskotêw!” kî-itêw nâpêsisa. “kiwîhowin ôta ohci kika-itikawin ‘pîsim.’ êkwa iskwêsisa kî-itêw, “kîsta mîna kika-sôhki-atoskân pêyakwan kistês. kika-kanawêskotêwân pêtos ita. tipiskâki kika-atoskân. kika-itikawin ôta ohci ‘tipiskâwi-pîsim.’ “It is up to you! You keep the fire burning,” he told the boy. “Your name from now on will be pîsim.” To the sister, he said, “You too will work as hard as your brother. You will keep the fire in another place. You will work at night. You will be tipiskawipîsim, the Moon.”
“namôya kikî-ohci-miyo-wîcêwititonâwâw. êwako ohci pêyakwâw piko pêyak askîwin kika-wâpamititonâwâw. kâkikê ôta ohci kika-wâpamititonâwâw akami-kîsikohk ohci.“You did not get along. As a punishment, you will see each other once a year. For all time, you will see each other from across the sky.”
êkosi kî-ispayin. ahpô mîna anohc êkosi isi-ayâw.And so it happened. Even now it is so.


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

Sacred Stories Heal, Final Zoom Session: 22 February 2021, 7pm CST

[updated 22 Feb, 7pm]

To join live Zoom session, Click Here

Passcode: 642920

  • Zoom sessions will take place each Monday in February: 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd.
  • Each session begins at 7pm Central Standard Time.
    (7pm in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 6pm in Alberta)
  • Sessions will be jointly hosted by Solomon Ratt and Ramona MacKenzie
  • Sessions will be recorded for later viewing online.

Video recordings from each session (thanks to Ramona MacKenzie) can be found at the following links:

Session One included:

  1. The Rolling Head,
  2. Wisahkecahk and the Dogs, and
  3. Wisahkecahk and the Birch Trees.

Only one story was recorded in Session Two (thanks Ramona MacKenzie). By request, two stories* that weren’t recorded that day will be repeated in the remaining sessions.

  1. Big Skunk

Session 3 included five stories. The first three were experimentally drawn from an English-only publication, and translated back into Cree in performance, reclaiming and re-animating them in their original language.

  1. Origin of the Moon (English read by Arden Ogg)
  2. Wisahkecahk and the Rabbit (English read by Darian Âcikahtê)
  3. Wisahkecahk and the Moose’s Coat (English read by Ramona MacKenzie)
  4. *Wisahkecahk Migrates with the Geese (th-dialect) Solomon Ratt 2016, 2021
  5. *Wisahkecahk and the Wihtiko

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