Category Archives: Cree

Cree language words with translation

My First Week as a Cree Teacher

Sept 5 to Sept 8, 2023, marks my first week of teaching Cree in the classroom. I have been able to utilize many resources, both printed and online, that I helped develop. The students have been a challenge, as expected, however, I had much support from other teachers, Elders, and educational assistants.

While some of my classes went well, there were instances when the Internet let me down. Technology, let me down. As a computer technician, it was a bit disappointing. What helped, were the Elders who told me about their ideas and thoughts on cultural activities, and the printed resources that I had in my classroom. There are so many printed resources developed by my colleagues over the years, I kind of felt overwhelmed when it came down to choosing what to use.

I did not realize the effort it takes to teach Cree and to try and provide an environment for Woodland Cree Cultural Activities. I have to teach five classrooms: (K-1), (2-3), (4-5), (6-7) and (8-9). Oh, and I was assigned to a high school class: Native Studies 20, a small class, but I need to research topics I have not read about much, since university.

I am hoping for a better week this coming week, of course it will depend on how well I can plan my classes. I will continue to seek advice for the Elders at the school, and from my many colleagues who provide support for each other.

nīhithāwiwin kā-kiskinwahamākīt – Cree culture teacher

Hall Lake – mōsosākahikanisīsihk

Cree language – nīhithawīwin

Sally Ross School

Canada Indian Trust Fund

Several years ago, there was a post on Facebook about an Indian Trust Fund in Canada. It said that it was where the Canadian Government, took their capital from when they funded Indigenous people in our country.

It was a counter argument to the people, usually non-native, that money supporting Indigenous people did not come from tax-payers money, below is a screenshot of the post. I scribbled the name of the original poster (OP), because I do not have permission to post their name as he is not a public figure:

This was shared by a relative of mine on FB recently.

Back when I first saw the post, I thought it was interesting, but it did not concern me very much because it was difficult to discern fake news at the time. In May 18, 2021, an article on TorontoMet Today, highlighted the issue.

How much money flowed through the Indian Trust Fund and where is it now? How can the myth of “free money” for First Nations be deconstructed? What do solutions for financial reparations look like?

It is a very interesting article and worth a read by both Native and non-native people alike. In our quest for reconciliation, it is important that we all have the facts before making assumptions about other people, or nations.

Money – sōniyāw

Our money – kisōniyāminaw

My money – nisōniyām

Your money – kisōniyām



TorontoMet Today – How much does Canada owe Indigenous communities for stolen land?

Yellowhead Institute (PDF) – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: The Indian Trust Fund: Debunking Myths & Misconceptions

Another article that might be of interest from the Yellowhead Institute (PDF) – Recommendations on First Nations Access to Indian Moneys 

 

Rabbit Snaring with nimosōm

I went for a walk along a groomed trail today and felt a bit of nostalgia from the way the trees looked along the path. nimosōm used to take me out rabbit snaring at the trapline when I was a boy. I remember I would feel a bit of uneasiness, but he would always have his .22 with him. I did not know at the time that a .22 would not be very effective on a bear, wolf, or very much else for that matter. It was good enough for me at the time, and it made me feel better.

I remember the trails we would follow would be along the muskeg. The trees would be small evergreen trees that looked ready to die. There would be the odd dead black popular tree with its dead branches and birch trees that had seen their better days. I used to see these dead trees and think, that would be a good spot for an owl to land and look for our rabbits hanging off our snares. We lost many rabbits to predators and one time, nimosōm shot a lynx that was eating one of our rabbits (NIMOSŌM SHOOTS THE RABBIT THIEF).

pisiw – lynx

In the early fall, we would use a canoe along the shore of the lake and get to the area where we walked to in the winter. It was all so fascinating to me. At almost every area we came upon, nimosōm would have a story about what happened to him and/or other people. He would have such a hearty laugh, I remember how his shoulders would bounce as he laughed at his stories. I heard from some people that his stories were rarely true, but I did not care, I loved to hear them. I wish I could hear one now.

nimosōm – my grandfather

ōhō – owl

mahkīsīs – fox

pisiw – lynx

wāpos – rabbit

Cree Vowel Sounds in Moose

There is a significant difference in Cree sounds when you use a macron, a bar above a letter (ō), or a circumflex, a hat above a letter (ô). Both make a long vowel sound, as in moose. I usually use a macron because that is what I learned in high school.

Moose sounds very much like our Cree word, mōswa. The word is actually much closer to the Ojibwe word “mooz,” except they use a nasalised “oo” sound.

In the meme, you see a moose kissing another moose. Now if the moose could talk, one of them could say, nīcimos, which means my boyfriend or girlfriend (romantic partner). In CreEnglish, nīci mōs or nīci moose, means, my fellow moose. The proper Woodland Cree word, would be nīci mōswa. Listen to the audio, and you will notice how it is sounded out.

Woodland Cree word – nīcimos – my boyfriend/girlfriend

CreEnglish word – nīci-mōs or nīci-moose – my fellow moose

Woodland Cree word – nīci-mōswa – my fellow moose

There is an excellent article from our friends at the Cree Literacy Network called “Reading Plains Cree in SRO,” I encourage you to check it out. It presents information on all the consonants and vowels used in the Cree language. The article has many examples and even audio by Solomon Ratt, audio is always very helpful for the learners. I have referred to this great website many times over the years.

I thought it would be an interesting article to discuss the vowels we use in SRO. Okay, let’s be honest, I just wanted to show off the moose meme. Feel free to share the article or download the meme and then share. Thank you.


mōswak ocīmitōwak – Moose are kissing

nīcimos – my boyfriend/girlfriend

nīci mōs or nīci moose – my fellow moose

mōswa – one moose

mōswak – more than one moose

onīcāniw – cow moose (female)

nōsīs – cow moose (female with a calf)

iyāpīw – bull moose (male)


Welcome to the Ojibwe People’s Dictionary – https://ojibwe.lib.umn.edu/

Cree Literacy Network – https://creeliteracy.org/

MOOSE IN WOODLAND CREE – PAINTING BY MOLLY RATT – https://firstnationstories.com/?p=2124


Female moose Image by Dan Grignon from Pixabay
Male moose Image by Kate Baucherel from Pixabay

‘Pretendians’ – nīhithiwihkānak (Fake Crees)

nīhithiwihkānak – people pretending to be Cree

I recently read a couple of posts on LinkedIn by Jason EagleSpeaker that have inspired me to write about the same topic.


And this one:

These posts reminded me of Grey Owl, and how he had portrayed himself as a First Nation. I heard that he lived at Prince Albert National Park. A group of people were talking about it in my Native Studies 10 class, they mentioned that they visited Grey Owl’s Cabin near Waskesiu Lake.

Although he died in 1938, I had only heard a mention, or two, of Grey Owl. After the discussion in my class, it turns out that he was not even an Indian. He was an Englishmen from Hastings. About six-years after I learned all of this, a film was released in 1999, starring Pierce Brosnan (Yes, James Bond). It was simply titled: “Grey Owl.” I enjoyed it and I kind of knew how it was going to go, so that was no surprise. The real surprise, was James Bond trotting around, looking so Indigenous. It was actually pretty cool.

So, the exposé of Grey Owl, not being an actual Indigenous man, was not shocking to me, because his existence was from a previous time, and it was well known. He does have an interesting story and if you are interested, please find links below this article.

The first unexpected revelation to me, was that of a professional wrestler named: Chief Jay Strongbow. He wrestled in, what is now known as WWE, during the 70s and 80s. By the time I learned he was an Italian American, I already accepted that pro-rasslin’ was scripted. Like a theatrical play, there are “actors” pretending to fight and presenting all kinds of drama for the fans. I was disappointed, but not “shocked.” On a side note, I was very happy to learn that Chief Wahoo McDaniel and Tatanka were real “Indians” and not Pretendians. I have read an article where Ultimate Warrior was asked if he was portraying a Native American, but that concept was squashed by Warrior himself.

The first real shock to me on the revelation of a Pretendian, was the author of Three Day Road, Joseph Boyden. When my university class used his book for assignments and discussion, there was no doubt in my mind that he was an Indigenous man. My class covered the entire book, and we had great discussions over the characters and of Indigenous men in world war history.

I enjoyed the book and was fascinated by the tale of Xavier and Elijah, two young Cree men who volunteered to go to war and became snipers. Boyden, I imagined, was a great First Nations man who was successfully presenting Indigenous people as having great potential. While Indigenous people do have great potential, the farce of Boyden really pissed me off. Why did he not just represent himself as what he was? I do not feel it is wrong to be inspired by another nationality, however, honesty is very important in these matters. Might he actually be Indigenous? Hmm, maybe he should have mentioned it at the beginning and had been forthright about his heritage. Instead, many of us foolishly assumed he was First Nation because of the books.

Anyway, there have been other reveals in the past few years and I am not really surprised, especially by people involved in the entertainment industry and politics. A prominent author of many popular Indigenous books would seem to be of First Nation ancestry, but I guess we all learned our lesson. If anything, it has made me question anyone, who “claims” to have Native blood in their ancestry. So, thank you for that Mr. Boyden.

EAGLESPEAKER PUBLISHING – https://www.eaglespeaker.com/

Eaglespeaker.com on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/eaglespeakerpublishing/

Jason EagleSpeaker on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/eaglespeaker/


Chief Jay Strongbow (Wiki) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_Jay_Strongbow

Grey Owl – https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0128239/?ref_=tt_mv_close

Grey Owl (Wiki) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_Owl_(film)

Joseph Boyden’s Apology and the Strange History of ‘Pretendians’ – https://www.vice.com/en/article/yppmdv/joseph-boydens-apology-and-the-strange-history-of-pretendians

Author Joseph Boyden’s shape-shifting Indigenous identity – https://www.aptnnews.ca/national-news/author-joseph-boydens-shape-shifting-indigenous-identity/

MĀSIHKĪWIN – WRESTLING, WAHOO MCDANIEL – https://firstnationstories.com/?p=3277

TATANKA – MĀSIHKĪWIN – WRESTLING – https://firstnationstories.com/?p=3290

I have agreed to: LinkedIn Embed Terms of Use

tânisi Song by Brian McDonald – audio clips

The first time I heard of Brian McDonald was in 2005 when he and others developed an immersion school in Onion Lake. I was working as a web developer for the Gift of Language and Culture website, based in La Ronge. The first song I ever heard from Mr. McDonald was tânisi, it was, and still is, a very popular Cree song. It is one of the best Cree songs I have heard, right up there with many Winston Wuttunee tunes and Carl Quin.

There is a GoFundMe page organized by Belinda Daniels that states:

This action for fundraising is for Brian MacDonald; for all the years, his songs were used by family members, teachers, schools, the community & artists across the Cree country.

It is a very worthy cause and I happily donated what I could to help out Brian McDonald for all his contributions to the Cree music universe.

Link to GoFundMe page: https://gofund.me/2ad596d2

I have typed out the lyrics of the song, tanisi, line-by-line, and included audio clips for whoever wants to practice saying the phrases. I took the lyrics from our dear friends from the Cree Literacy Network and added them to my website. Be sure to check out their great Cree website: https://creeliteracy.org/

tānisi Song: Brian MacDonald

Hello! – tānisi!

How are you? – tānisi kiya?

I am fine. – namōya nānitaw.

Come on in. – pihtikwē.

Sit down. – API.

Have some tea. – maskihkiwāpoy minihkwê.

It’s nice that you’ve come to visit. – tāpwê miywāsin ê-pê-kiyokawiyan.

Where have you been? – tānitê ê-kî-itohtêyan?

Please tell me what you’ve been doing. – mahti ācimo kîkway ê-osihtāyan

Please tell me a story. – mahti ācimostawin.

I am trying out a new microphone but it is not the greatest. I have a new mic in mind and I might purchase it in the next month or so. Check out the link, maybe you can use one too. If you have a suggestion, please email me at cv2k@hotmail.com. Thank you for visiting.

Fifine USB Recording Microphone – Amazon.ca

Supporting Links:

tânisi Song: Brian MacDonald

 

Cree Songs CD by Brian MacDonald (Plains Cree Y)

https://www.ammsa.com/publications/saskatchewan-sage/first-nations-partner-support-language-learning

Kihew Waciston Cree Immersion School

Bethany the Girl Ghost (cīpay iskwīsis) – Introduces her Friends VIDEO

I made a video clip for Halloween. A ghost girl named Bethany introduces her friends to us in Woodland Cree.

Animation is very time-consuming but the end product is fun to watch. Thank goodness there are multiple online sources for images, video, and audio. All I need to do is put it all together using Adobe Animate and Movavi Video Suite. I have older versions of the software here at home, but they work just fine. If I had the time, I would contract out my services for cheap animation. Who knows, maybe I can make time, it is fun stuff to produce.

The idea for this animation, came to me a bit late and too close to Halloween. I want to make more animations and cannot wait until my inspirations entice me to put in the effort.

Devil – maci-manitow

Witch – maci-nōcokwīsīs

Zombie – miyaw kā-pimohtīpathik

Clown – mōhcohkān

Vampire – akahkway

Bat – apahkwācīs

Many of the Cree terms come from one of my favourite Cree websites: https://itwewina.altlab.app/

Images were supplied by PIXABAY.COM – FREE!!!

Ghost Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Bat Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Background Image by Syaibatul Hamdi from Pixabay

Zombie Image by Amanda Elizabeth from Pixabay

Devil Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Witch Image by GraphicMama-team from Pixabay

Mummy Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Dracula Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Clown Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Tree moon Video by Joe Hackney from Pixabay

Cree Commentary – 70 Days without Alcohol


I have been sober for a total of 70 days. 10 weeks without a drop of alcohol. It has been very difficult for me, considering I used to drink every weekend. It may have been more difficult if I had drunk every day. I am happy to be where I am right now and I hope it stays that way.

My health has improved and so has my weight training. I walk more often, except for a few days when my knee was sore, but that is bound to happen when you have not been active regularly. My muscle memory is improving every week, so much so that I am going to have to watch myself and not get injured.

I have not started any intense exercise such as jogging, but I do go on a stationary bike sometimes. I would like to save my knees for when I am older, I am currently 48 years of age and I have seen too many of our middle-aged friends and family members with bad knees. I did have a bit of a scare last week but my knee is much better now. I hyperextended it by tossing and turning, of all things. Who knows, maybe I weakened it by going too hard on the stationary bike or by walking too fast.

 

Weight training Image by Pexels from Pixabay

atōspīwinākwan papakiwayān – Orange Shirt 2022

I have seen many posts on Facebook by survivours that did not make it home. If you are Indigenous, chances are, you have been affected by residential schools.

kahkithaw awāsisak akisowak – Every Child Matters

atōspīwinākwan papakiwayān – Orange Shirt

When you really think about it, we are all affected in some way. We all live together on this land and we all affect each other one way or another. It would be remiss for anybody, not to acknowledge the terrible history of residential schools, day schools, and other places where Indigenous people were supposed to be “assimilated” into mainstream society.

While it does not make up for the atrocities, I find it welcoming that Orange Shirt Day has been recognized across our nation. I have read the story of Phyllis and her orange shirt that she was so proud of. It is a very disheartening story, I cannot imagine the horror she went through and the very indecent and atrocious “welcoming” she received when she first attended school (https://www.orangeshirtday.org/phyllis-story.html).

I hope this day brings awareness to all of our country and to the world. We can never forget what took place and we must try to find out what happened to those left behind. I really hope we can all live in peace and harmony someday. I hope we can all accept each other and our diverse beliefs, the way it should have started when the settlers arrived.

Please have a look at the new images that I have been working on. I took a lot of time because I was getting more and more indecisive. I finally decided to post three different designs that you know of, lol.

You will notice in two of the images, I use a fifth hand (orange hand), it is to represent the missing children that never came home to their loving families.

If you want to print any of these images out to a t-shirt, please feel free, as long as you keep my website logo on the side.   I further request that you donate any profits to a charitable organization that recognizes victims of residential schools.

Design

Dimensions: 5949×5949 Pixels
Filesize: 1.9 MB
Resolution: 325 DPI
Image format: PNG Download ⇓

Dimensions: 5949×5949 Pixels
Filesize: 1.5 MB
Resolution: 325 DPI
Image format: PNG Download ⇓

Dimensions: 5949×5949 Pixels
Filesize: 1.7 MB
Resolution: 325 DPI
Image format: PNG Download ⇓

I realize and understand, that the translation and/or interpretation of the phrase, “Every Child Matters” has been discussed and debated on social media. However, I will not be participating in such a subjective topic because it can easily be taken out of context in both text and tone, thank you for understanding.

ORANGE SHIRT DAY: Every Child Matters

http://www.orangeshirtday.org/

Wiki – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_Shirt_Day

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – Canada.ca

Image Sources:
hand-310884.png Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay
t-shirt-294078.png Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay
feather-833327.png Image by Ewey from Pixabay
dreamcatcher-3290331.png Image by A K from Pixabay
common-1300520.png Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay