I have developed a YouTube video of one of my original First Nation Stories, Joe and the Stranger. It took many, many hours and it is a project that I have wanted to do since late spring of 2022.
It is the first of its kind on my YouTube Channel, there is bound to be an error or two but hopefully, they are at a minimum.
I am hoping to learn much more about video and YouTube channels. I want to try new ideas when my creativity starts to bubble (is that a good word?). I have used many images and other videos to help develop this video and relearned a few things from my Flash development days (Adobe Flash has been renamed Animate, I have it at work).
“niwī atāwākān nitahcahk simāk kita takosiniyān itī kāwīkiyān.” – I will sell my soul to get home now.
“tānisi cō, tāpwī kayās.” – How are you Joe, it has been a long time. Says, the stranger.
“awinōma kītha?” – Who are you?
“cō, īmowī nihtāwikīn kāki wāpamitān, ikospi kākī nitowithihtamān kitahcahk.” – Joe, I saw you before you were born, since then, I wanted your soul.
“namwāc kiwī mīthitin kīkway.” – I will not give you anything.
“kiwi asotamātin kīkway cō, māka kita mīthin kitahcahk” – I will offer you something Joe, but you must give me your soul.
“tānihkōma cō?” – What is the matter Joe?
“namwāc!” – No!
“kihtwām kawāpamatin cō.” – I will see you again Joe. Poof, he disappears.
I have used various sounds from YouTube to try and fall asleep, from ocean waves, rivers, and lakes, to the sound of rain. I decided to get into the act for the first time and see how it goes. I like to experiment and this might be a good little project to start with. This is the first of such a project and I am hoping that it goes well. I would like to use other settings in the future.
Audio files of dialogue:
nitohta kimowan īpākītihk ikwa kita nipāpathīn – Listen to the Rain Falling and Fall Asleep
kimiwan nīso tipahikan kita ispathiw – Rain will go on for two hours
ikosi kakwī nipā ikwa – There, now try to go to sleep
Have a good sleep- mitho nipā
There are a few websites that may help you decide to use the technique:
It has been 28 days since my last drink. Four weeks without alcohol, I have not gone this long without a drink in years. It was difficult staying away from drinking, considering it was one of my weekend routines. I at least purchased a 26 of whiskey, each weekend, to give me a good buzz. More often than not, it would lead to more drinking at another place or me taking a cab to get more as soon as the LB or B&W opened the next day.
I was falling behind on so many projects and I angered many people around me and even online. My family, especially my girls would have to deal with me pestering them and I was feeling ashamed about everything. I knew I needed a change.
I have been working out again and taking regular walks at an indoor track. I am finally getting used to exercise and I am feeling much, much better. Check out my video below, I shot it this morning in Cree and translated it to English text this evening.
I want to continue on this path and get healthier. I appreciate the support I have received and I would like to send a special thank you to Kevin Roberts for his offer, to whoever wanted to quit drinking, for a free membership at the gym at JRMCC. I am only on my third weight training workout but I am improving, plus my walks are getting easier.
I am sure by now, that many of you have heard of the multiple stabbings that took place at or near James Smith Cree Nation. I was woken up by the many alerts that were sent out by SaskAlert. My mind raced and wondered if it may have been another abduction, but unfortunately, it was the breaking news of a very tragic incident involving many helpless victims.
According to Global News:
At least 10 people are dead and 15 are injured following a slew of stabbings in 13 locations on James Smith Cree Nation and in Weldon. A Prairie-wide manhunt for two men wanted in connection to the killings continues.
Here’s a timeline of what’s happened so far in chronological order (all times local):
(Please go to the Global News website for details on the timeline).
I have heard of James Smith Cree Nation but I have never been there. I have looked up the FN and found a very beautiful website: http://www.jamessmithcreenation.com/. The reserve land is vast and covers 15,099 hectares, which is a little over 150 SQ KM.
There are many places the wanted criminals could go and there have been plenty of warnings on social media about the perpetrators.
Let us hope that these horrible criminals get caught soon. There are already too many tragedies affecting us in this world.
When I looked at some of the personal pictures of the men, they look to be good upstanding citizens. While a picture is worth a thousand words, actions speak louder. I hope all the families get the justice they deserve and heal, as soon as possible.
The @reginapolice continue to work collaboratively with our partners @RCMPSK on this investigation that started this morning on James Smith Cree Nation. Suspects have not been located. An active, focused investigation will continue until they are located and taken into custody. pic.twitter.com/8m91oSINIU
I remember way back in the mid to late 2000s, I used to drink much more that time than I have recently before I quit last month in August. Although I was in my mid-thirties, it was a confusing time for me personally. I am glad to be here to tell you this story.
My brother and I had managed to purchase a 66 oz Five Star whiskey. I do not remember the details on how we got it but we had it and we were going to have an all-nighter down by the lake at Hall Lake. It was a beautiful summer night and we had a mosquito coil repelling all the bloodsuckers away from us. We had a deck of cards, and we played many card games, I do not remember if we gambled or not, but it was fun.
As the night wore on, I remember laughing and joking with my brother as we brought up stories of our friends and the past history of our lives growing up at the house up the hill. I remember we would argue over trivial matters and apologize for past misunderstandings. Dialogue would be spread from “I love you, bro,” to “You’re so stupid!” Haha, good times (well, maybe not).
As the morning came and the sun started rising, I asked my brother what happened to the guy that was sitting with us and was laughing and listening to us as we drank ourselves away.
“You kept asking me earlier, I keep telling you, there was nobody here with us.” My brother explained.
I thought back and distinctly remember a guy wearing a brown leather jacket, a dark jean pants and he had neat black hair. I remember his smile as he nodded his head when he listened to us joking and laughing. I could not recall the way his face looked, but he was dark-skinned like my brother and me.
Later, as I drank some more over the years at different times, I would recall this event vividly. When I got to a certain state of intoxication, I would sense that I would see the other person again, I even gave him a name: Seth. I would be in a heightened state of awareness of my surroundings and fear would envelop me as I thought that he would show up again.
When I lived at Lakeview apartments, I saw him at the corner of my eye at the doorway, and yes again, I was in a certain state of intoxication. I did not see the details of his features as well as the last time, more of a silhouette of the man I saw so many years ago. This was either 2012 or 2013, I binged many times during those years.
The last time I saw him was in a dream. I had been drinking at my apartment and fell asleep. I was parked at a parking lot of a 24-hour gas station, Meechewin Place. It was night, well past midnight, I was sitting on the driver’s side when I heard a voice saying, “Let’s go see her.” A reference to my now wife of four years. I looked at the passenger seat and there he was, Seth, grinning and encouraging me to drive to Hall Lake even though I was drunk. His features were in much more in detail than the silhouette but less than when I saw him down by the lake.
I had told my mother about the initial interaction with Seth and she called him,”kimacāyisim,” your devil or demon. I do not know how serious she was because she just sounded like she was teasing me about it. Considering I was drunk at the time, I am not surprised at her reaction. Maybe she was trying to scare me, haha, it might have even worked a time or two when I thought about it at night.
I am a skeptic of many things, including my imagined interaction with this person. I was always under the influence when I thought of him or supposedly interacted with him. Never at any time was there any physical contact. Other than in the dream, he never talked or reached out to me. He was more of a presence that kind of reminded me of me, like a younger self who had never gotten anywhere in his life. A path I could have ended up following many times but have since smartened up. It is surreal to write about and even more so to reminisce about the events that I know could not have taken place.
Being under the influence of any mind-altering substance is dangerous: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Spiritually I have many challenges, I hope to understand someday what I may be missing, but then again, maybe I am not missing anything. However, that is another blog for another time.
kotak awiyak ī-wihci minihkwīmikowahk – Another Person drinks with us
kimacāyisim – your devil or demon (may mean something different to others).
In the last two years, I managed to raise $240 dollars to help with keeping my website online. The assistance was great and I appreciated the support.
While it is not essential or imperative for the website to be online for the survival of our language, it is important to me. I love sharing what I can remember about my late grandfather and to share Woodland Cree words with you. I enjoy the challenge of recording and editing audio. I wish I were an artist so that I could draw my own artwork. I have many ideas on the back burner and hope I can share them with you soon.
I wish I had a whole team to build this website. There is so much potential. I work full time and have little time to take care of the website and any media work that could be done. I get many personal requests that I cannot possibly cover, but thank goodness it has slowed down.
I had hoped many more people would get into tech, especially among young FN youths. There may be a hidden spatter of groups out there, but there have not been many that I noticed. Maybe once there is more support for technology in our Indigenous communities, there will be more interest, or maybe a hidden group will emerge (I hope).
So, I think it would be fair to say that technology is what is lacking in our communities. There would be many more employable people if there was computer training being encouraged. It would be great to work with a network of Indigenous techies, not Trekkies, techies (although FN Trekkies would be cool too).
I quit smoking – nipōni-pīhtwān. Cigarettes and cigars have ruled my time between activities and everything else. I had been smoking since I was twelve years old. I blogged about my past experiences with smoking in Nov 2020 (Smoking on the Rez and Other Places). I had attempted to quit smoking many times.
The last time I smoked was Feb 21, 2022, it is now May 21, 2022, three whole months. My previous best was about three weeks in 2019, but my trigger, which is driving and smoking, got me right back into it. It is becoming less and less of a trigger.
I recently had an appointment with an eye specialist, and he was glad I quit smoking because as a diabetic, smoking significantly increases the risk of my eyes getting damaged. I have told several people of my accomplishment but hearing the doctor’s elation about quitting, made me proud. 1
My blood pressure has improved and I feel more energetic. There is one setback, I gained about 11 pounds. It is because food is now so delicious from my healing taste buds. Spices and sweets have come to life and I end up eating more than I should.2 It is something I need to work on. Plus I need to exercise more but one step at a time.
I recently found out that the brand of cigarettes I smoked, have gone up in price again, they are now over 17 bucks a pack. This is at the rez store with a treaty card.
It pains me to see many young people starting to smoke, they do not know what they are getting themselves into. While things may have improved nationally, it is still an ongoing problem.3
nipōni-pīhtwān– I quit smoking, the literal term might be “I stopped smoking,” but most people I know would say the Cree term, to mean they had quit smoking.
Last week, I needed to draw up a contract for a deal I had in the works. I thought of copying and pasting from a contract template I found online but I decided that it was too much work. The wording would have to be edited and the contents would be out of place from the copy and paste from PDF to Word.
I thought of just writing it out myself and spending all the time it needed to get it right. I wondered if I could make one online and remembered I was part of an affiliate from LawDepot.
Their website covers many services from:
I went to the Business section and I found an easy way to draw up a service agreement by answering questions about the deal between myself and the other party. It was very easy, however, I did make a few mistakes and was able to redo the contract with appropriate details.
I had to first sign up for their seven-day trial, which was easy enough. After I completed and polished the details of the contract, a downloadable link was provided in PDF. From there I just needed to print and sign in the presence of the third party. It was very easy.
So if you decide you need some type of legal service, I would recommend LawDepot. You see all the ads on this page, click one and you can get started with a FREE 7-DAY trial. They will be more than happy to answer all your questions.
This evening I decided to try out Teachers Pay Teachers. I have used it before when I was a teacher to get unique lessons for my students and it was such a joy (and a relief) to find awesome teaching resources and many for free, in all subjects.
The lesson I developed is based on a phrase I used on a Cree meme, NÊHIYAW NIYA – I AM CREE – https://firstnationstories.com/?p=3900 I opted to use Plains Cree at this time, but I would like to add a mix of Plains and Woodland Cree in the future.
This development took me about three hours, with many breaks in between, so maybe about 2 hours tops. I can imagine it would take much more time to develop more sophisticated lessons, so it will take a while to add useful lessons.
I had fun with it and I plan on making some more lessons for download. With the work that gets put in, I will charge an appropriate price for my lessons and I hope they catch on. There are premium options that cost money and they involve digital lessons which I know I can develop, given time.
If I end up having time to develop more content, I may just do that. I can easily use the contents of my website to make lessons and the graphic work would not be that difficult. This is an exciting time!
Reading the articles and watching the videos, brought me back to when I was a boy watching Little Big Man and the Mystic Warrior on our family TV. In 101 reserve, La Ronge, many of us would sit around watching the movies portraying the Sioux with all kinds of regalia. The teepees and majestic terrain of the wild prairies were very different than what we were used to.
I had seen movies of the Little Big Horn and so I knew about the injustices and unfair practices of the U.S. government. It was not until I attended university classes, that I learned about the Wounded Knee Massacre. Our professor at the time was very angered about the incident. The class was very quiet as we all listened intently to the details of the massacre. We were all horrified at the tale. How could people be treated so terribly?
In 1990, Kevin Costner directed a movie, Dances with Wolves, that captivated the world with its portrayal of a white man assimilating into the Sioux tribe. I enjoyed the movie on VHS, but it kind of bothered me that it took a white man to bring attention to the atrocities that took place so many years ago. The movie is fictional, however, AMMSA.COM stated that: Natives (were) portrayed honestly and sympathetically (article link below).
There is an excellent documentary about the massacre. After the discussion of the horrific incident, it goes to the history of Native Americans 1000 years preceding the Wounded Knee Massacre. I would recommend it to everybody and not just Indigenous people.
Episode 1: Wounded Knee Legacy and the Ancestors; 2: Mexico (45:10) 500 Nations