Cree Names of French or English Origin

Personal names of French or English origin were quite common in recent generations in our communities. These names came to be simply due the inability of monolingual Cree-speakers to pronounced certain sounds specific to these European languages. Since the residential school era, most of us have become bilingual, and in some cases trilingual, and we now tend to give our children French or English names and pronounce them in their language of origin, without good reason.

It is entirely natural for names to be adapted as their are adopted from foreign languages. Most English and French names themselves are of foreign origin, often biblical Hebrew. Names such as Joseph, Jean or John, Maria, Marie, or Mary are all of Hebrew origin, yet they are pronounced in an English or French manner when borrowed into these languages. Cree is no different. It is unfortunate that in becoming bilingual we have largely abandoned not only genuine Cree names, but also Cree versions of foreign names.

The following is a list of personal names originally of French of English origin and is by no means exhaustive. Every one of these names is used in our communities, though they are sometimes preceded by ᒥᔥᑕ or ᒋᔐ, indicated seniority or eldership. Names can also take a diminutive form for familiarity, endearment, or as a way to mark juniority. The following are spelled how they are pronounced in the Southern Inland East Cree dialect.

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