In honour of Orange Shirt Day, September 30.
ORANGE SHIRT DAY: Every Child Matters
In honour of Orange Shirt Day, September 30.
Going through my Facebook feed this morning, I noticed a shared post by Jarome Stpierre and it showed a picture and a video of somebody leaving huge tracks. I was intrigued and decided to share with you what his father has taken footage of.
Seeing tracks like this must be awesome. I can only imagine what the feeling was like to see something like that. After hearing stories about wihtikō (wendigo from other bands) from nimosōm – my grandfather, I would always be on the lookout for strange tracks or any anomaly whatsoever. Unfortunately, I have never seen anything remotely resembling a mystery such as the tracks posted above.
I have seen bears that looked like a humanoid of some kind and realized that it was a bear upon closer inspection. I have even seen a bear from afar on the side of the road and told my son, “Charles, look, that’s a bear over there.” Only for the bear to fly up to the trees because it was a raven. He had a good laugh, as I laughed with a red face (I didn’t tell him I was embarrassed).
My eyes may not be the best proof of anything. I would like to find something as tangible as the tracks from Jerome’s father. Maybe I will go for a walk today and look for something.
mistāpiw namīhtāw – Bigfoot has left tracks
The First Nation Stories Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/firstnationstories/) recently reached over 1500 likes. It has been a long time coming. I appreciate all the followers from the beginning and to the new ones the page gets each week.
From the words of Cree Teacher, Simon Bird – kinanāskomitin = I thank you/I am thankful for you/I am grateful for you (#CreeSimonSays).
kihci-mitāhatomitanaw mīna niyānan mitāhatomitanaw – 1500
mīna kihtwām – until next time
I remember when I was about 10 or 11 years old and nimosōm – my grandfather told me that he used to have a dog team. It was fascinating to hear about the places he travelled with his team. It was places nearby but hearing it as a young boy, it sounded so much more glamorous and seemed to be in faraway places.
It was all well and good when he told me about what he used to do, but he started telling me that he was planning on getting a NEW dog team. I remember being very excited about it and thought I’d be able to see it happen and maybe try it myself the next winter.
He was able to get a big male and a female husky. We were in Pesiw Lake that summer when he acquired the dogs and we moved them to Hall Lake in the early fall. By the next spring, there was pups, many with big feet that nimosōm said, meant that the dogs were going to be big.
I picked out a puppy myself and it turns out nimosōm picked the same one. piyakwan awa kōtinahk, kitīminow awa – we picked the same one, this is our dog. I honestly didn’t know how that was going to work, but nimosōm seemed happy about it and I didn’t ask how it would work if he had to go back to the trapline.
It might have been a week or two later that the situation did not matter. I went for a walk with my friends and near a culvert lay a dead puppy. I was not sure at the time, but it kind of looked like mine. I was upset; however, I hid my feelings from my friends and just went home. I’m glad they didn’t ask why I had to go home, back then; we hid our feelings from each other because only we thought only little kids cried.
Later that evening, it turned out that my puppy had gone missing. A man we called mahkistikwān – big head, had killed and ditched it near the culvert where my friends and I saw it. It was very disheartening for me. I have never had a dog since, not because it was so heartbreaking, but because I decided that maybe it’s too much responsibility.
nimosōm – my grandfather
mahkistikwān – big head
atim – dog
achimosis – puppy (little dog)
nitīm – my dog
kitīm – your dog
The results of the Facebook poll show that a little more than three quarters are in favour of using Cree first in all my bi-lingual posts and pages. I think I will try to keep Cree first for translations in poetry or narratives (kāwitha macīthihta – Do not have bad thoughts) and dialogue in my stories that have Cree translations available (The Eagle Flies into the Past – mikisiw kayās isi pimithāw).
I wish I could do entire translations in Cree for my stories, however, that would entail a great deal of my time, time I do not have as a teacher.
I appreciate the response from all my followers. I hope you all continue to check out the website. I hope to update at least once a week.
ninanāskimon kā ayimihtāyin nitācathohkīwina. Thank you for reading my stories.
All comments are welcome.
Around 1982, when my parents moved us from La Ronge to Hall Lake, our house and area was a new place to explore for this 8-year-old at the time. There were many trees near and around the house and nipāpā – my father spend days cutting trees down and digging out the tree stumps. I was too small to help with that, but I did haul what scraps I could. I wish I had pictures I could show.
There was a mistik – tree, that caught my eye earlier on because it stood out among the mītosak – popular trees behind the house, it was an ithināhtik – black spruce. I immediately noticed the tree had long branches at the bottom and made a natural umbrella, my sisters and I ran to this tree to get away from the rain many times.
During the winter of the year, nipāpā had trapped and skinned either a nikik – otter or ocīk – fisher. My memory is a bit fuzzy but anyway, he had thrown the skeleton of the animal on the branches of the ithināhtik, maybe about 3 metres high. Over the years, the bones got higher and higher until I completely forgot about them. When I did remember many years later, I could not make it out. Not a trace. I wondered if it was dragged away by ravens and crows or by the squirrel that made the tree it’s home.
In late July of this year, 2019, the tree finally fell after a storm. Right away I went to the tree when I found out and looked for the bones that were thrown onto the branches. I did not find the skeleton. I was kind of disappointed but considering its been 37 years, there was little chance it would still be there. I just thought it would be a good story to tell my children as I held up the skeleton, but that is not to be. Like the readers of this blog, it can only be imagined.
nipāpā – my father (this is how we say it in our “colonized” reserves).
mistik – tree
mītos – popular tree
ithināhtik – black spruce
nikik – otter
ocīk – fisher
This is the literal meaning but being sweet would mean s/he is kind (ī-kisīwātisit).
ī-kisīwātisit -s/he is kind
This song has run through my mind time and time again so I thought I would make a Cree meme out of it.
Images from Pixabay – https://pixabay.com/
Whenever there was a big thunderstorm, my late grandmother would put a rubber boot at the window. Thunderbirds do not like rubber boots and it drives them away, it worked every time.
awīyak kāstāt kinokātīwaskisin wāsīnamānihk, pithīsowak kita-pōni kitowak
When someone puts a rubber boot at the window, the Thunderbirds will stop calling
The following names are ones I have heard locally as real names or nicknames. I did not use or suggest any derogatory names from insults or body parts.
There are audio clips included, however, the names are sometimes pronounced differently. This blog post is just for fun and not a proper list to go by. Any suggestions are welcome, thank you.
|Phonetic or suggested spelling||Standard Roman Orthography (SRO)||Meaning|
|Iskwesis or Skwesis||iskwīsis||girl|
|Nitanis or Tanis||nitānis||my daughter|
|Iskwew or Skwew||iskwīw||woman|
|Pesim||pīsim||sun, also means month and moon|
|mahigun or mahikan||mahihkan||wolf|
|Mikisew||mikisiw||bald – eagle|