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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Solomon’s Christmas Cards 2018 (y-, th-dialects)

Just like Sol himself, these Christmas cards get better every year. Download them to print for yourself, but don’t forget to practice your pronunciation by listening to the audio!

For additional Christmas material, look for “Christmas” in the Category menu on the right, or click here:


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Rhonda Head: Ave Maria

mâmaskâc! Brava!

Congratulations to Rhonda Head whose recording of Schubert’s Ave Maria – in Cree – is still holding on to #4 on Classical Charts in Canada on reverbnation. It has also moved up to #28 on the Global Charts – that’s around the world!

Let’s help her climb the charts by listening to her song 🎶🎵🎶

To listen, click here:

Although the text doesn’t match completely, here is Dolores Sand’s translation of the text into Plains Cree (in case you’d like to sing along).

Plains Cree text (Dolores Sand) English text of Ave Maria, as used by the Catholic Church
kitātamiskātin Maria
manitow osākihitowin
kitēhihk ayāw kisē manitow
ispīhci kahkiyaw iskwēwak
ayiwāk kititēyihtākosin
ayiwāk mīna itēyihtākosiw
kā-kī-kikiskawat Jesus
kihcihtwāw Marie
kihcihtwāw Marie
manitow okāwīmisk
anohc mīna wī-nipiyāhki
anohc mīna wī-nipiyāhki
kākikē nīsohkamawinān
kihcihtwāw Marie
Hail Mary full of Grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed are thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.
Holy Mary Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now
and at the hour of our death

#music #cree #creemezzo #avemaria #schubert #lovelanguage #cool#love #red #ocn #canada #global #world #climbingcharts

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Language Keepers Conference 2018

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2018: ihkopîwipîsim / ᐃᐦᑯᐲᐏᐲᓯᒼ / November

Thanks to Solomon Ratt for allowing the Cree Literacy Network to share his 2018 calendar, complete with his own original illustrations. Following his request, we will post one image at the beginning of each month. For those who like to plan a little further in advance, a link to complete pdfs is included here:
Y- and Th-Dialect Version:


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