First post of 2021, what a year 2020 has been. I started the year with being a teacher and ended up being an online resource teacher. Over the holidays, I became a Digital Communications Officer.
What a transition it is. The job is very demanding but at least it makes the days go faster. I am back with a few familiar faces and I am enjoying the tasks and duties because it plays off my strong points of technology. Videos and image editing, newsletters, web development/design and continuing my support for the teachers (it is all still under the same department).
My family is still healthy so far. I hope that doesn’t change. The case of COVID-19 have been climbing all over Canada and our small community has been hit with a few cases, but we are back down to zero. I hope it stays that way.
My stories have taken a hit and so have my inspirations for Cree memes. I have too much on my mind right now, but I am glad I secured my website for most of the coming year. Thank you to my contributors, I will try to come up with something during February.
My daughter Deedee recently drew the shape a bird using a tree and its branches. Very creative way of drawing. I do not know where she saw this picture, but I can tell it required much patience. She did an awesome job.
I am finally ordering a book I had my eye on for a long time, Woods Cree Stories by Solomon Ratt. I cannot wait to read the stories. Unfortunately, I will not receive it for another couple of weeks or more. According to the Amazon website, it will arrive between December 31, 2020 and January 6, 2021. If I subscribed to Amazon Prime, I would have gotten it sooner and FREE shipping. Hmm, with the Holiday shipping deadlines in Canada going on, I may not get it for a long while.
It is a paperback, so it will be easy and comfortable to read while I lay on my bed. I have read many short stories on my computer and cell phone, but this book is not available on Kindle. Which is fine, I just have to wait for it and hope it gets here as soon as possible. Maybe the weather will be so good, that the shipping will be extra quick. Wishful thinking, since the shipping companies are already swamped with packages needed to get to their destinations.
The book includes nine stories–including Boys Get Lost, Foolishness, and Animals Become Friends–and a Woods Cree-to-English glossary (Amazon description). I hope be inspired by this book and enjoy a book written in my dialect (TH), which is difficult to find anywhere. Most of the books I read are in the Plains Cree dialect, while I can understand the dialect just fine, I want to read the Woodland Cree dialect by one of the foremost Cree Teachers in Saskatchewan, Solomon Ratt.
I mentioned before that nimosōm would sometimes stay with us on the reserve at my parents place during the summer. Those were good times because I got to listen to my grandparents whenever they would talk about the old days.
It was a beautiful summer day when he decided to go on a hike. He told me that there was an old trail he used to take to a small lake east of Hall Lake: “wīcīwin nosim, kiwī itohtāhitin apisci sākahikansīs, itī māna ikī kaskimohtiyān koskinikiyān.” (Come with me my grandchild, I will take you to a small lake, it is where I would go when I was young by cutting across).
So, it was set, we would be on foot and we were actually out to look for spruce grouse and partridges. He had a single-shot .22 caliber gun and I used a straight-bow and carried 5 store bought arrows. At this point, I had only shot small spring birds to make flour soup and missed many more squirrels (which brought in $1 a piece during trapping season). During the winter before, I had gone out on my own and tried to hunt down a partridge which I just kept on missing, it was very disheartening.
About 15-20 minutes into our trip, we came across an old bear snare that was rusted and deserted to hang precariously on a log. He mentioned a name of the person who may have left it there and how they were so inept at looking after their snares. “tāpwī īsa ikī kakīpatiso awa kākī tāpwakwīt, nītha wītha nika tāpakōmoha maskwa.” (This person that set the snare was so stupid, I would have snared the bear).
As we got deeper into the woods, we came upon a group of ptarmigans. Nimosōm flashed his big smile, “watch out pithīw, watch out.” He went sneaking up on them and I heard a shot, bang! He got one of them, “īniyānanicik pithīwak” (There is five partridges). He managed to kill four of them and I got one right through the neck, it was such a proud moment for me.
After our kills, we did end up walking to the small lake, which is actually a part of Hall lake river system. We sat and admired the view from afar as there was much marshland. We had our rest and we went back home. I hope to go back there this summer with my son (unless there are many bear sightings).
A note on my translations: The translations I made on this blog might be off for some people, however, it is the way I understood my grandfather when he talked to me.
I have recently purchased an SSL Certificate for my website. There may be some technical instabilities during the week but I hope it will be brief and not too disruptive for my visitors. I realize this type of info is not what visitors are looking for, but I just thought you would interested in the fact that I care about this website and my visitors.
Ever since Google started pushing SSL certificates on websites, I have been considering an SSL integration to the website. I held back because I do not sell products on my website. However. there has been a nagging icon on the address box that says, Not secure.
I do not like it. It tells visitors that my website is not secure. With some of my donationmoney, I have purchased an SSL certificate and I want to get it done during the week. I hope it goes smoothly.
If I ever decide to sell any products, my website will be ready for business. For now, I will continue to share stories and memes that interest my visitors and potential visitors (spread the word and share).
This year was not a good year for blueberries in my area. I remember three years ago in 2017, there were so many berries that were still on the plants in mid to late September. Large bunches of berries literally falling off the plants when you touched them. My daughter and I went for a long walk that time, and we had our fill of large soft blueberries by the time we were done.
I remember as a boy in Hall Lake, my good buddy and I were admiring our momma’s buckets of blueberries. We decided to get some of our own. We grabbed margarine containers from the cupboards and off we went. We knew the general area where they got their berries from.
We did not venture very far when we came upon a natural garden of blueberries, just bursting off the plants. Okay, maybe not that many but there were plenty. We filled up our containers quickly and picked some to eat right off the shrubs. On our way home, we came to a large gravel pit and walked along the edge with our containers on hand.
As we worked our way down the pit, my buddy tripped over a rock or something. You could see the concerned look on his face as he held up his container and managed not to drop one berry when he hit the ground. We both started laughing. He was okay, he did not get hurt. He would have been hurt if he spilled all his berries, but he was fine.
A friend of mine, Arden Ogg from the Cree Literacy Network, recently suggested that I redesign an image I developed with the Cree phrase, “I Am Cree”. She believes that it is a powerful phrase for learners, and I wholeheartedly agree.
Below are the redesigned versions of the Cree memes with only the Cree words written on them.