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.
It is a cold day today and I am glad I was provided with a teacherage to bring my family together. The girls have their rooms, and my wife does not have to deal young people coming in and out of our oldest daughters house.
It is 15 ᴼC, 23 with the windchill. My daughter and I were staying at the cabin while my wife and other daughter stayed at our oldest daughter’s house. Right now, I would be busy keeping the cabin warm for my daughter by making sure the fire was going. Having those thoughts reminds me of the struggles (my struggles) at the cabin we lived in at the trapline when I was a child.
The mornings were always cold, even if nimosōm put a fresh birch log in the stove to slowly burn through the night, it would be cold. There would be the odd time when the weather would be nice, but those days were few and far between. It was better than living in a tent, which we had done before the cabin was built, so it was good. A cabin beats an old canvas-tent anytime.
I was too young to make the fire at the time, but many times the fire would already be going by the time I got up. It was a nice surprise to wake up to. Nimosōm was already getting pretty old at the time but his pride would not stop him from being the man and taking care of what needed to be done. My father was the same way, when we moved into the house in Hall Lake, he made sure we always had firewood.
He would use his skidoo to get wood. Later as I got older, he would set up the wood in the bush and have me make the trips to haul the logs back to the house. Those were fun times because I got to use the snow machine. A few times I had to take my little brother because he was a King or something.
I am not sure what kind of chores my sisters did. I am not even sure if they did anything. I would ask, but I am sure they have some tall tales about how much work they did. Besides, I am sure they did not know what kind of chores I had to do, which included hauling water from the lake and chopping wood. I love my sisters of course, and I am sure they had much work to do, I just did not pay attention.
It is windy outside right now and maybe that is what is reminding me of the past. The crisp-cold air and icy wind would easily freeze the nose and earlobes. We always had plenty of knitted mitts and toques so we would be good and warm as long as we remembered to take them along. It would be easy to forget when it was not so cold and being excited to go sliding. It would not take long to realize we had to run and get the toques we needed and run right back to the hill for more fun sliding.
I remember my earlobes would freeze and later swell twice the thickness they were before and were quite tender. My mom would tell me I should have learned by then that I should remember the toque, at least I always remembered my mitts.
Today is November 11, 2020, Remembrance Day. A day to remember our veterans. Have a great day.
my grandfather – nimosōm
nimāmā (the way we say it here, northern sask)
nipāpā (the way we say it here, northern sask)
My younger sister and my younger brother (one term for both) – nisīmis
I recently made the decision to stay with my teaching job at Sally Ross School. I submitted my letter of intent to continue working at my hometown of Hall Lake. It was a hard choice but I feel it is better for my family and myself.
I had some thoughts of going back to my old job as web developer because it was easier than what I had to go through on a day to day basis with my job as grade 5 and 6 teacher. I have met challenges that I thought were too much to handle. I felt inept and too inexperienced to deal with my students who I though deserved a better teacher. I still believe they do, but they are stuck with me until the end of the school year.
I have had much trouble with classroom management and discipline. I have much support and will try to get the understanding of the parents to try and do better. I hope there is some type of understanding worked out because I want all my students to do well.
As for this website, I will continue on because it is my pride and joy. Whenever I am going through a tough time, I know I can get some appreciation for the time and effort I put into this website from my many followers and visitors. It has got me through, time and again and I do not want to lose the support I have garnered from my visitors. I enjoy writing stories and providing a supplement to any Cree program through my efforts. I have enjoyed and used many resource people, especially Solomon Ratt, Simon Bird and Arden Ogg. There are many others of course but these have been my main sources because they are constantly online to support me (more than they know).
The Cree word is a reference to the “Patron Saint of Ireland.” I got the translation from the Gift of Language and Culture website. It is not a holiday that is celebrated on our reserve, but it is acknowledged, and people enjoy the horror movie about an evil leprechaun.
I remember as a child, I would ask about the leprechaun and I would be told that he had a crock of gold at the end of a rainbow. I would sometimes imagine going on a quest to find the gold so I could be rich. Haha, thankfully, I never did go on such a quest, but the thought was fun.
This is a call for stories on trapline cabins. I want you to share stories of your time in a trapline cabin. All stories are welcome. It would be great to hear about your time in a trapline cabin. You can write about anything you want from how and when it was built, or maybe just the times your family traveled to the cabin during certain seasons. While I would like to publish all stories, there are a few guidelines I would like to inform you about.
I cannot offer remuneration or a prize, but I will publish shared stories as deemed appropriate.
I will give full credit and a link to your Facebook profile.
It needs to be between 150 to 1000 words. I can be flexible on this, in the case of several short stories, I will combine stories into one page on the website.
Appropriate language is encouraged
Happy stories are encouraged but sad stories will not be refused
Deadline is March 27, 2020, but I will add stories before that date over the weekends.
No real need to be formal, but I will make minor edits if needed. This is a story telling website, not an English class.
Please inbox me your stories and I will reply during evenings and weekends. I am a full-time teacher and I do not go on Facebook during the day. You can also email me the original document to email@example.com Please write subject as “trapline cabin”
Just a note that this is not a contest, it is more of a chance to share your story with us.
A big thank you to Tom Ballantyne for giving me the idea. I hope you decide to share your story with us at some point.
I learned these terms during my schooling in the band schools of the LLRIB. They are a bit different from the southern dialects because the seasons move along differently down south. This is how it was explained to us by our Cree teacher, I believe it may have been Mary Cook (In Memorium, opens new window).
January – opāwāhcikanasīs
February – kisīpīsim
March – mikisiwipīsim
April – niskipīsim
May – athīkipīsim
June – opiniyāwīwipīsim
July – opaskowipīsim
August – ohpahowipīsim
September – nimitahamowipīsim
October – pimahamowipīsim
November – kaskatinowipīsim
December – thithikopīwipīsim
The meanings of the months, can be found in the sources below:
The earth looks nice when it is winter
The snow looks beautiful
The earth is so white
Sometimes, the weather is bad
When it snows too much, travel is difficult
When the snow falls gently, it is very beautiful
Now it is going to start snowing more