To kick off this International Year of Indigenous Languages congratulations are due to Priscilla Bosum of Oujé-Bougoumou for making history as the first East Cree interpreter in the House of Commons. This news comes amidst the second reading of C-91, the proposed Indigenous Languages Act.
ᐌᔥᑲᒡ ᐃᓕᓕᐗᒃ ᒨᓚ ᐙᐲᐸᓇᒃ ᐁ ᑮᔑᑳᒃ, ᐱᑯ ᐁ ᑎᐱᔅᑳᒃ᙮ ᒣᒀᒡ ᒫᑲ ᐆᒪ ᐃᐦᑖᐸᓇᒃ ᒥᑭᓯᐗᒃ ᐁ ᒥᔑᑭᑎᒋᒃ᙮ ᐯᔭᒄ ᒫᑲ ᐊᐗ ᒥᑭᓯᐤ ᒨᓚ ᑫᒀᓐ ᒦᒋᐤ, ᐱᑯ ᐃᓕᓕᐗ᙮ ᒨᔕᒃ ᒫᑲ ᐁ ᑎᐱᔅᑳᒃ ᐸᐹᒥᓛᐤ ᐁ ᓈᓇᑕᐙᐸᒫᑦ ᐃᓕᓕᐗ ᑭᒋ ᒧᐙᑦ᙮ ᒨᔕᒃ ᒫᑲ ᐱᑯ ᐁ ᑎᐱᔅᑳᒃ ᐋᐸᑎᓰᐸᓇᒃ ᐃᓕᓕᐗᒃ᙮ ᒨᔕᒃ ᒫᑲ ᓴᑳᐦᒃ ᐸᐹᒧᐦᑌᐸᓇᒃ᙮ ᒨᓚ ᓀᔥᑕ ᐐᔅᑳᑦ ᐋᔕᐗᑳᓰᐸᓇᒃ ᓵᑲᐦᐃᑲᓐ ᐁ ᑎᐱᔅᑳᒃ᙮ ᑯᔥᑌᐗᒃ ᑭᒋ ᐙᐸᒥᑯᒋᒃ ᐆᐦᐃ ᒥᑭᓯᐗ᙮
ᐯᔭᒀᐤ ᒫᑲ ᐃᓕᓕᐤ ᐊᒥᔅᑾ ᑮ ᓇᑕᐎ ᓂᐸᐦᐁᐤ᙮ ᐯᔭᒄ ᒫᑲ ᐊᒥᔅᑾ ᐐᐗᔑᐤ᙮ ᐅᑎᐦᑕᒻ ᒫᑲ ᓵᑲᐦᐃᑲᓐ᙮ ᒨᓚ ᓈᔅᐱᒡ ᒥᔖᐤ ᐊᓂᒪ ᓵᑲᐦᐃᑲᓐ᙮ ᐁᑯ ᒫᑲ ᐊᐗ ᓈᐯᐤ ᑮ ᐋᔕᐗᑳᓯᐤ ᐊᓂᒪ ᓵᑲᐦᐃᑲᓐ᙮ ᒨᓚ ᒫᔥᑯᒡ ᓂᑲ ᐙᐸᒥᒄ ᒥᑭᓯᐤ, ᑮ ᐃᑌᓕᐦᑕᒻ᙮ ᒬᐦᒋ ᒫᑲ ᐋᐱᐦᑕᐤ ᐁ ᐃᐦᑖᑦ ᐁ ᐋᔕᐗᑳᓯᑦ ᒪᔅᑯᒦᐦᒃ ᐊᓂᒪ ᓵᑲᐦᐃᑲᓐ ᑫᒀᓐ ᐯᐦᑕᒻ ᑖᐱᔅᑰᒡ ᐁ ᓘᑎᐦᒃ ᐁ ᐃᑎᐦᑖᑾᐦᒃ᙮ ᐋᔕᔾ ᒫᑯᓂᑯᐤ ᒥᑭᓯᐗ᙮
ᐁᒀᓂ ᑳ ᐃᔑ ᑭᐦᒋᐎᓕᑯᑦ ᓈᔅᐱᒡ ᐙᓚᐤ᙮ ᐃᔅᐱ ᒫᑲ ᓈᔅᐱᒡ ᐙᓚᐤ ᐁᐦᑖᑦ ᑫᑲ ᐙᐸᐦᑕᒻ ᓈᔅᐱᒡ ᐁ ᐃᔥᐹᒃ ᐗᒋᔾ᙮ ᐁᑯ ᐊᐗ ᒥᑭᓯᐤ ᐐ ᐅᑖᒥᔑᒣᐤ ᐆᐦᐃ ᐃᓕᓕᐗ ᐊᓯᓃᐦᒃ᙮ ᐊᐗ ᒫᑲ ᓈᐯᐤ ᐊᔮᐸᓐ ᐅᑦ ᐁᔥᑲᓐ᙮ ᐁᐗᑴᓕᐤ ᒫᑲ ᐁ ᓇᑲᒋᐦᑎᑖᑦ ᐊᓯᓃᐦᒃ᙮ ᒨᓚ ᒫᑲ ᑮ ᐅᑖᒥᔑᒥᑯᐤ ᐆᐦᐃ ᒥᑭᓯᐗ᙮ ᑮ ᐅᑎᐦᒋᐎᓕᑯᐤ ᒫᑲ ᐗᒋᔥᑐᓂᐦᒃ᙮ ᐁᑯᑖᓂ ᑳ ᐸᑭᑎᓂᑯᑦ᙮ ᒨᓚ ᑮ ᐅᐦᒋ ᓂᐸᐦᐃᑯᐤ᙮ ᐁᑰᑕ ᒫᑲ ᐁᐦᑖᑦ ᐊᐗ ᓈᐯᐤ᙮
ᐯᔭᒄ ᒫᑲ ᐊᐗ ᒥᑭᓯᐤ ᐱᑯ ᒦᒋᒥᓕᐤ ᒦᒋᐤ, ᒨᔀ, ᐊᑎᐦᑾ ᒫᑲ᙮ ᐊᓐᑕ ᒫᑲ ᐁ ᑕᔒᐦᑫᑦ ᐊᐗ ᓈᐯᐤ ᐁᑯᑖᓂ ᐌᐦᒋ ᒦᒋᓱᑦ ᐁ ᐯᑖᓕᒋ ᒦᒋᒥᓖᐤ ᐆᐦᐃ ᒥᑭᓯᐗ᙮ ᐊᐗ ᒫᑲ ᒥᑭᓯᐤ ᐃᓕᓕᐗ ᑳ ᒧᐙᑦ ᑮᔖᔥᐱᓐ ᐁ ᐙᐸᐦᑕᐦᒃ ᒦᑭᐙᒻ ᐁᒀᓂ ᐁᔑ ᑭᐦᒋᐎᑖᑦ ᒥᓯᐌ ᑫᒀᓐ ᐊᓐᑕ ᐁ ᐲᐦᒋᐦᑎᐦᒃ᙮ ᐊᐗ ᒫᑲ ᓈᐯᐤ ᑳ ᐐᒋ ᑕᔒᐦᑫᒫᑦ ᒥᑭᓯᐗ ᐁᑯᑖᓂ ᐌᐦᑎᓇᐦᒃ ᑫ ᐋᐸᒋᐦᑖᑦ ᒥᓯᐌ ᑫᒀᓐ᙮
ᐃᐦᑖᐗᒃ ᒫᑲ ᐊᔭᐦᐋᔑᔕᒃ ᐊᓐᑕ ᐗᒋᔥᑐᓂᐦᒃ᙮ ᐆᑭ ᒫᑲ ᒥᑭᓯᐗᒃ ᒨᔕᒃ ᓂᐹᐗᒃ ᐁ ᑮᔑᑳᒃ ᒣᒀᒡ ᐁ ᑭᔖᔥᑌᒃ᙮ ᐊᐗ ᒫᑲ ᒥᑭᓯᐤ ᑳ ᐯᑖᑦ ᒦᑭᐙᒪ, ᓈᔅᐱᒡ ᒥᐦᒉᑦ ᑮ ᐯᑖᐤ ᐊᓐᑕ ᐗᔥᑾᔨ ᐊᐸᐦᒀᓇ᙮ ᐊᐗ ᒫᑲ ᓈᐯᐤ ᐊᓐᑕ ᑳ ᐃᐦᑖᑦ ᑮ ᒫᒋ ᐱᑭᔥᑭᐱᑕᒻ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᐗᔥᑾᔨ ᐊᐸᐦᒀᓇ᙮ ᑮ ᐱᔅᑯᐦᑎᑖᐤ ᒫᑲ ᐙᔅᑳ ᐊᓐᑕ ᐗᒋᔥᑐᓂᐦᒃ᙮ ᐁᑯ ᒫᑲ ᒣᒀᒡ ᐁ ᓂᐹᒋᒃ ᐆᑭ ᒥᑭᓯᐗᒃ ᒣᒀᒡ ᐁ ᑭᔖᔥᑌᒃ ᐁ ᑮᔑᑳᒃ, ᑮ ᓴᔅᑲᐦᐊᒻ ᐆᐦᐃ ᐗᔥᑾᔭ᙮ ᐆᑭ ᒫᑲ ᒥᑭᓯᐗᒃ ᐃᔅᐱ ᑫᔅᑫᓕᐦᑕᐦᑭᒃ ᐁ ᐸᓯᓱᒋᒃ ᐊᔮᐦᒋᐸᓕᐦᑣᐗᒃ ᐅᑕᐦᑲᑾᓂᐙᐗ᙮ ᐋᐦᒋᐱᑯ ᒫᑲ ᐸᓯᑌᐸᓕᐤ᙮ ᒥᓯᐌ ᒫᑲ ᑮ ᐃᔥᒀᓱᐗᒃ᙮ ᒥᓯᐌ ᑮ ᓂᐱᐗᒃ᙮ ᐊᐗ ᒫᑲ ᓈᐯᐤ ᑭ ᐱᑭᔥᑭᑲᐦᐌᐤ ᐆᐦᐃ ᒥᑭᓯᐗ᙮ ᓈᔅᐱᒡ ᑮ ᐊᔮᐱᔒᔑᐦᐁᐤ᙮ ᐁᐗᒀᓂ ᒫᑲ ᐁ ᑮᔑᑳᒃ ᑳ ᒫᒋ ᐊᔮᐱᔒᔑᒋᒃ ᒥᑭᓯᐗᒃ᙮
ᐊᐗ ᒫᑲ ᓈᐯᐤ ᑮ ᑯᒋᐦᑖᐤ ᑭᒋ ᓃᔖᐦᑕᐐᑦ ᐊᓐᑕ ᐅᐦᒋ᙮ ᒨᓚ ᒫᑲ ᑮ ᑲᔥᑭᐦᑖᐤ᙮ ᐆᒪ ᐗᒋᔾ ᓈᔅᐱᒡ ᑮ ᐃᔥᐹᐤ᙮ ᐯᔭᒄ ᒫᑲ ᐆᐦᐃ ᐊᔭᐦᐋᔑᔕ ᒨᓚ ᑮ ᐅᐦᒋ ᐱᓯᔅᑫᓕᒣᐤ᙮ ᑭ ᐗᓚᐐᐱᑕᒻ ᐱᑯ ᐅᑕᑭᔑᔾ᙮ ᐊᐗ ᒫᑲ ᓈᐯᐤ ᑮ ᐲᐦᑐᑫᐤ ᐊᓐᑕ ᒥᑭᓯᐗ ᐎᔭᐎᓖᐦᒃ᙮ ᑮ ᑭᐸᐦᐅᑎᓱᐤ ᒫᑲ ᐁᑯ ᒫᑲ ᑳ ᑏᐦᑏᐦᑎᐱᐸᓕᐦᐅᑦ ᐊᓐᑕ ᐁ ᐲᐦᒋᔑᐦᒃ᙮ ᐁᒀᓇ ᒫᑲ ᑳ ᐃᔑ ᐸᐦᑭᔑᐦᒃ ᐊᓐᑕ ᐅᐦᒋ ᐗᒌᐦᒃ᙮ ᒨᓚ ᒫᑲ ᑮ ᐅᐦᒋ ᐋᐦᑯᔑᓐ ᑳ ᐃᔥᒀ ᐸᐦᑭᔑᐦᒃ᙮ ᑮ ᐗᓚᐐᐤ ᐊᓐᑕ ᐅᐦᒋ᙮
ᓈᔅᐱᒡ ᒫᑲ ᐙᓚᐤ ᐃᐦᑖᐤ ᐊᓐᑕ ᑳ ᑮ ᐅᐦᒋ ᑭᐦᒋᐎᓕᑯᑦ ᐆᐦᐃ ᒥᑭᓯᐗ᙮ ᑮ ᑯᒋᐦᑖᐤ ᒫᑲ ᑭᒋ ᑮᐌᑦ ᐅᑦ ᐊᔅᑮᐦᒃ᙮ ᐊᐗ ᒫᑲ ᓈᐯᐤ ᓈᔅᐱᒡ ᒥᐦᒉᑦ ᐲᑐᔥ ᐁ ᐃᔑᓈᑯᓯᓕᒋ ᐃᓕᓕᐗ ᑮ ᐙᐸᒣᐤ᙮ ᐊᐗ ᓈᐯᐤ ᐱᑯ ᑮ ᐯᔭᑯᐤ ᒬᐦᒋ ᐆᒪ ᐁ ᐃᔑᓈᑯᓯᑦ ᐊᓄᐦᒡ ᑳ ᐃᔑᓈᑯᓯᒋᒃ ᐃᓕᓕᐗᒃ᙮ ᒨᓚ ᐐᓚ ᐁᔥᑾ ᐃᔅᑴᐤ ᐃᐦᑖᐸᓐ ᐆᒪ ᐁ ᐃᔑᓈᑯᓯᑦ ᑳ ᐃᔑᓈᑯᓯᒋᒃ ᐊᓄᐦᒡ ᐃᔅᑴᐗᒃ᙮
ᐊᐗ ᒫᑲ ᓈᐯᐤ ᐃᔅᐱ ᐙᓚᐤ ᓇᐗᒡ ᑳ ᐯᒋ ᑮᐌᑦ ᐙᐸᐦᑕᒻ ᐁ ᓇᒣᐦᑖᓕᒋ ᐃᓕᓕᐗ᙮ ᐙᐸᐦᑕᒻ ᓈᔅᐱᒡ ᒥᐦᒉᑦ ᒦᒋᒥᓕᐤ ᐁ ᐲᐗᔥᑌᓕᒃ᙮ ᑮ ᑯᒋᐦᑖᐤ ᒫᑲ ᑭᒋ ᒦᒋᑦ ᐆᐦᐃ ᒦᒋᒪ᙮ ᒨᓚ ᑮ ᒦᒋᐤ᙮ ᒨᓚ ᐙᒋ ᒫᓂᔒᔥ ᒦᒋᒻ ᐃᔅᐳᑾᓐ, ᐋᔕᔾ ᐁᒋᑳᓂ ᑳ ᐃᔥᒀ ᐋᐸᑕᐦᒃ᙮ ᐆᑭ ᐃᓕᓕᐗᒃ ᑳ ᓇᒣᐦᑖᒋᒃ ᒨᓚ ᒦᒋᓱᐗᒃ, ᐱᑯ ᒥᓛᐦᑕᒶᒃ ᐁ ᒦᒋᓱᒋᒃ᙮ ᒨᓚ ᐅᒋᔥᑭᔑᐗᒃ, ᒥᒍᓂ ᐐᐦᑴᓯᐗᒃ᙮ ᐁᒀᓂ ᐌᐦᒋ ᐁᑳ ᒦᒋᓱᒋᒃ᙮ ᑫᑲ ᒫᑲ ᐊᐗ ᓈᐯᐤ ᐅᑎᐦᑌᐤ ᐆᐦᐃ ᐃᓕᓕᐗ᙮ ᐁᑯᑕ ᒫᑲ ᑳ ᑕᔒᐦᑫᑦ ᓇᑭᔅᑲᐤ᙮ ᐯᔭᒄ ᒫᑲ ᐊᐙᔑᔥ ᑮ ᑭᔅᑭᓇᐙᐸᒥᑯᐤ ᐁ ᒦᒋᓱᑦ᙮ ᐁᒀᓂ ᑳ ᐊᑎ ᓂᐱᑦ ᐊᓇ ᐊᐙᔑᔥ᙮ ᐊᐗ ᒫᑲ ᓈᐯᐤ ᐃᑌᐤ ᐆᐦᐃ ᐃᓕᓕᐗ, ᒫᐦᑎ ᑭᑲ ᑲᓇᐙᐸᒥᑎᓈᐙᐤ ᑖᓂ ᐁᔑᓈᑯᓯᔦᒄ, ᐃᑌᐤ᙮ ᐁᑯ ᑖᐺ ᒥᓯᐌ ᑮ ᑲᓇᐙᐸᒣᐤ᙮ ᒨᓚ ᐁᒋᑲ ᐅᒋᔥᑭᔑᐗᒃ ᐆᑭ ᐃᓕᓕᐗᒃ᙮ ᐁᒀᓂ ᐯᔭᑾᓐ ᓀᔥᑕ ᐃᔅᑴᐗᒃ, ᒥᒍᓂ ᐐᐦᑴᓯᐗᒃ᙮ ᐊᐗ ᒫᑲ ᓈᐯᐤ ᐃᑌᐤ, ᒪᔦᐎᑌ ᐅᔖᓂ ᐁᔑᓈᑯᓯᔦᒄ, ᐃᑌᐤ᙮ ᒫᒋᑲ ᓃᓚ ᐁᔑᓈᑯᓯᔮᓐ, ᐃᑌᐤ᙮ ᐙᐸᐦᑎᓓᐤ ᒫᑲ ᐅᒋᔥᑲ᙮ ᐁᑯ ᒥᓯᐌ ᐁᑕᔑᒋᒃ ᐆᑭ ᐃᓕᓕᐗᒃ ᓈᔅᐱᒡ ᐯᔓᒡ ᑲᓇᐙᐸᒣᐗᒃ ᐆᐦᐃ ᒥᒋᔥᑲ᙮ ᐁᑯ ᐯᔭᒄ ᐊᓐᑕ ᐁᑕᔑᒋᒃ ᐌᐦᒋ ᐃᑗᑦ, ᐁᐦᐁ ᑳ ᐊᓴᒧᓯᑦ, ᐃᑗᐤ᙮ ᐁᑯ ᐊᐗ ᓈᐯᐤ ᐃᑌᐤ ᐆᐦᐅ ᐃᓕᓕᐗ, ᑭᑲ ᐅᔑᐦᐃᑎᓈᐙᐤ, ᐃᑌᐤ᙮ ᐁᑯ ᐊᐗ ᓈᐯᐤ ᐅᑎᓇᒻ ᒨᐦᑯᒫᓐ ᐁᑯ ᒥᓯᐌ ᑮ ᒫᒋᔗᐤ ᐆᐦᐃ ᐃᓕᓕᐗ᙮ ᑫᑲ ᒫᑲ ᒥᐦᒉᑦ ᐁᑎ ᒫᒋᔣᑦ᙮ ᑫᑲ ᒨᓚ ᔕᐎᔑᑳᑫᐤ ᐅᒨᐦᑯᒫᓐ᙮ ᐁᑯ ᒫᑲ ᑮ ᑖᔑᐳᑖᐤ᙮ ᒨᓚ ᒫᑲ ᑭᔅᑫᓕᐦᑕᒻ ᓈᔅᐱᒡ ᐁ ᑳᔖᓕᒃ ᓃᔥᑕᒻ ᒫᑲ ᐁ ᒫᒋᔑᑳᑫᑦ ᑳ ᐃᔥᒀ ᑖᔑᐳᑖᑦ᙮ ᐌᓵ ᒥᔥᑕᐦᐃ ᑮ ᒫᒋᔗᐤ᙮ ᐁᐗᒀᓇ ᒫᑲ ᐃᔅᑴᐤ᙮ ᐁᐗᒀᓂ ᒫᑲ ᐁ ᑮᔑᑳᒃ ᑳ ᒫᒋ ᐸᓯᑎᔦᒋᒃ ᐃᓕᓕᐗᒃ ᓀᔥᑕ ᐃᔅᑴᐗᒃ᙮ ᐁᒀᓂᒪ ᑳ ᒫᒋ ᐃᔑᓇᑯᓯᒋᒃ ᐊᓄᐦᒡ ᑳ ᐃᔑᓇᑯᓯᒋᒃ᙮ ᐁᒀᓂ ᒫᑲ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᐁ ᑮ ᐅᔑᐦᐋᑦ ᐊᐗ ᓈᐯᐤ᙮ ᐁᑯ ᒦᓇ ᑳ ᐯᒋ ᑭᐦᑐᐦᑌᑦ᙮
ᑫᑲ ᒦᓇ ᐅᑎᐦᑌᐤ ᑯᑕᑭᔭ ᐃᓕᓕᐗ᙮ ᐆᑭ ᒫᑲ ᐃᓕᓕᐗᒃ ᑮ ᐅᓲᐗᒃ᙮ ᐸᑾᓀᐦᐊᒶᒃ ᒫᑲ ᐊᔅᑭᔾ ᐁᔑ ᑖᐱᐦᑎᑖᒋᒃ ᐅᓱᐙᐗ᙮ ᐊᐗ ᓈᐯᐤ ᒥᓯᐌ ᑮ ᑮᔥᑳᓗᐌᐦᐌᐤ ᐆᐦᐅ ᐃᓕᓕᐗ᙮ ᐁᒀᓂ ᒫᑲ ᐌᐦᒋ ᐁᑳ ᐅᓲᒋᒃ ᐃᓕᓕᐗᒃ᙮ ᐊᐗ ᓈᐯᐤ ᒦᓇ ᑮ ᐯᒋ ᑭᐦᑐᐦᑌᐤ᙮
ᑮ ᐅᑎᐦᑌᐤ ᑯᑕᑭᔭ ᐃᓕᓕᐗ᙮ ᐆᑭ ᒫᑲ ᐃᓕᓕᐗᒃ ᒨᓚ ᐙᐱᐗᒃ ᐁ ᑮᔑᑳᒃ᙮ ᐊᐗ ᓈᐯᐤ ᐃᑖᐱᐤ ᐲᐦᒋ ᐊᓐᑕ ᒦᑭᐙᒥᐦᒃ᙮ ᐊᐗ ᓈᐯᐤ ᐙᐸᐦᑕᒻ ᐊᔅᑭᐦᒄ ᓈᔅᐱᒡ ᒥᔥᑕᐦᐃ ᐱᒥᔾ ᐊᓐᑕ ᐁ ᐊᑯᐦᑎᐦᒃ᙮ ᐁᑯ ᐊᐗ ᓈᐯᐤ ᐲᐦᑐᑫᐤ ᐊᓂᒪ ᒦᑭᐙᒻ᙮ ᒦᒋᐤ ᐊᓂᒪ ᐱᒥᔾ ᐊᔅᑭᐦᑯᐦᒃ ᐅᐦᒋ᙮ ᐁᑯ ᐆᑭ ᐃᓕᓕᐗᒃ ᐁᑳ ᐁ ᐙᐱᒋᒃ ᑭᔅᑫᓕᐦᑕᒶᒃ ᐊᐌᓂᐦᑳᓐ ᐁ ᒦᒋᑦ ᐊᓂᒪ ᐱᒥᔾ᙮ ᐆᑭ ᒫᑲ ᐃᓕᓕᐗᒃ ᑮᓂᑳᓕᐗ ᐅᑑᔅᑾᓂᐙᐗ᙮ ᐁᐗᑯ ᒫᑲ ᐃᔮᐸᒋᐦᑖᒋᒃ ᐁ ᓂᐸᐦᑖᒋᒃ ᑫᒀᓐ᙮ ᐊᐗ ᒫᑲ ᓈᐯᐤ ᒪᓂᓇᒻ ᐊᓂᒪ ᑭᔥᑐᐦᑲᓐ, ᐌᐱᓇᒪᐌᐤ ᒫᑲ ᐆᐦᐃ ᐃᓕᓕᐗ᙮ ᐊᐗ ᒫᑲ ᐯᔭᒄ ᐃᓕᓕᐤ, ᐋᔕᔾ ᐊᐌᓂᐦᑳᓐ ᓂ ᒀᔥᑯᐦᑐᑖᒄ, ᐃᑌᓕᐦᑕᒻ᙮ ᐁᒀᓂ ᐁᔑ ᑕᐦᑲᐦᒋᑳᑫᑦ ᐊᓂᒪ ᐅᑑᔅᑾᓐ᙮ ᒬᐦᒋ ᒫᑲ ᐅᒡ ᐊᐙᔑᒥᔕ ᒦᔅᑯᐦᐌᐤ᙮ ᐁᒀᓂ ᐁ ᑮ ᓂᐸᐦᐋᑦ᙮ ᐊᐗ ᒫᑲ ᓈᐯᐤ ᐁᒀᓂ ᑳ ᐯᒋ ᑮᐌᑦ ᑮ ᐅᑎᐦᑕᒻ ᐅᑦ ᐊᔅᑭᔾ᙮
The above story is an âtayôhkân, a traditional Cree story. A shortened version of this story was first published in 1881 in Horden’s A Grammar of Cree Language under the name “An Indian’s Adventure.” A bilingual version of it was published here on June 24, 2015. This first published version is notable for lacking key parts of the story, which are included in the version presented above. The latter was collected by the linguist Truman Michelson in 1935 during his fieldwork in Moose Factory. He gathered the story in syllabics and attributed it to a certain Harvey Smallboy. This is its first publication (December 5, 2018).
The story’s syllabic orthography has been updated to include vowel lengths and aspirates. The whole was also read to Hilda Jeffries, a fluent Cree-speaking elder from Moose Factory, who approved of the reading and corroborated the story as one she was told by her late uncle when she was young. She recalls the giant birds being called miši-mikisiw, but was also familiar with their alternate name, mištasiw, which is the name used in the version from 1881.
Source: Cree notes and texts collected by Truman Michelson, 1935 Summer [NAA MS 3394, notebook 1, 2, &3, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution]
Most outsiders visiting Cree communities around Wînipekw (aka James Bay) have heard or have been taught the Cree salutation ‘wâciye’ without any mention of its origins or history. It may surprise many to know that this salutation is actually of English origin and that it has not always enjoyed such a widespread distribution. Its popularity has led to the decline of other salutations in the Cree language, leading even some young Cree people looking puzzled when they hear some of these other words. In this blogpost we will explore the history of Cree salutations.
The word ‘wâciye’ can be heard in all Cree communities around Wînipekw and is typically spelled in a variety of ways, depending on the type of orthography and dialect. In syllabics, it is spelled either ᐙᒋᔦ or ᐙᒋᔮ, the latter being the dialectal form used in the northern east coast communities. Some may even spell it ᐙᒋᔮᐦ in the northern dialect, following a more recent trend of marking all final aspirations in Cree. Using the alphabet, the word may also be seen spelled as ‘wâchiye,’ ‘waachiye,’ ‘wâchiyâ,’ ‘wâchiyâh,’ ‘waachiyaa,’ or ‘waachiyaah.’ There are of course some flagrant misspellings, but these will be ignored for the purposes of this post.
The word itself is actually an English borrowing. Watkins, an Anglican missionary, wrote in his Cree dictionary of 1865 that “The expression, ‘what cheer?’ has been adopted by the Indians and is used both at meeting and at parting, answering in the former case to ‘how do you do?’ and in the latter ‘good bye.’ It is generally doubled, ‘what cheer? what cheer?'” He also wrote that the English expression is “the common seaman’s salutation” and that it had become “thoroughly naturalized into Cree.” He even provides us with the word’s plural form, ‘wâciyekw,’ spelling it “whatcheâk” in his dictionary.
The English expression “what cheer” appears to have a continued existence in English as well, albeit in contracted forms. The Oxford English Dictionary provides us with two entries, “wotcher” and “wotcha,” stating their etymologies as “late 19th century: corruption of what cheer?” The words are therein glossed as informal British greetings.
Interestingly, the use of this word in Cree, although entirely naturalized by the mid-18th century, has not always extended outside of the coastal communities. Inlanders can often recall the first time they heard the word, usually in the context of meeting coasters. The word appears to have begun spreading inland in the 1970s, a time of social upheaval as our people negotiated the JBNQA and eventually settled in our contemporary communities. For inlanders, the more popular salutation has been ‘kwey,’ not ‘wâciye.’
‘Kwey’ has generally enjoyed a much broader distribution than ‘wâciye,’ being used in Cree dialects such as Southern East Cree, Atikamekw, and Western Innu. Aside from Cree, the word is also used in the Anishinabe dialects spoken in Quebec, as well as in the Eastern Abenaki languages. This has led many to suggest it is a loadword from Anishinabe, but the fact remains that only the dialects spoken in the region that straddles the Ottawa river and Abitibi Lake use this term. Further west, the word is replaced by ‘aanii(n),’ literally meaning ‘how.’ This then begs the question, where does ‘kwey’ come from?
The earliest mention of ‘kwey’ in a Cree language document appears to be in Charles Arnaud’s 1856 manuscript dictionary of the dialect spoken at Essipit and Pessamit. Arnaud, an Oblate missionary, lists the word as “Bonjour Kuaï Kuaï.” Earlier manuscript dictionaries curiously omit the word, suggesting it may in fact have been borrowed from another language between the time of the early manuscript dictionaries and Arnaud’s time. In fact, the earliest textual examples we have of this word are from the Jesuit Relations, but they do not refer to the Cree language. Two such examples of the word show up in 1636, both reported by the Jesuit Jean de Brébeuf when speaking of the Wyandot people. Despite the loss of their language due to the epidemics, war, and relocation, their close relatives the Mohawk continue to use this word as a greeting in the community of Kahnawake. The word may therefore actually be a Iroquoian loanword that spread into Algonquian communities after the displacement of the Wyandot to Quebec City in the mid-17th century.
So if both ‘wâciye’ and ‘kwey’ are loan words, what was the original Cree salutation? The Plains Cree dialect appears to have preserved the original word, spelled “atamiskawêw” in Arok Wolvengrey’s dictionary of Plains Cree, published in 2011. Being a verb, it can be translated as ‘he or she greets him or her.’ In fact, the word is present in literary sources from dialects spoken around Wînipekw in the mid-19th century, including Bible translations and even Watkins’ dictionary mentioned above. It also shows up in early manuscript dictionaries, including one from the 1680s, compiled by Antoine Silvy, a Jesuit stationed in the Saguenay region who is also known for having travelled all the way to the region of present day Waskaganish. In the Jesuit Bonaventure Fabvre’s dictionary from the 1690s, the phrase “kit atamiskâtin” is found, followed by the gloss “je te salue.” This then appears to have been a widespread expression that has fallen out of use as ‘wâciye’ and ‘kwey’ increasingly gain popularity. But they are not the only words used nowadays.
In Southern East Cree and certain Innu dialects, the French word ‘bonjour’ has been adopted and is pronounced as ‘pôšow.’ Depending on the orthography used, it can also be seen spelled as ‘pûshû,’ ‘puushuu,’ or ‘pushu.’ This salutation has also been turned into verbs that replace the original word mentioned above. In Southern East Cree the verb is ‘pôšôhkawew’ while in the Innu dialects it is ‘pushukateu.’ These words generally mean ‘he or she greets him or her,’ but are sometimes interpreted as referring to handshaking, which has always been part of the traditional Cree salutation. In the same way, ‘wâciye’ has also been turned into a verb of the same meaning along the coast of Wînipekw. Here the verb is ‘wâciyemew.’
Whether one uses ‘wâciye,’ ‘kwey,’ or ‘pôšow,’ one should understand that all three of these loanwords are now part and parcel of the Cree language. They are not English, Wyandot, or French words anymore when pronounced in the Cree manner. In fact, the ability to accommodate loanwords, to a certain extent, is a sign of linguistic vitality. The English language would not be what it is today without its plethora of loanwords, including words of Algonquian origin such as ‘skunk,’ ‘toboggan,’ ‘moccasin,’ and ‘pow-wow.’ What is most important is that we simply continue speaking our language. And with that, I salute you all with a wâciye, kwey, and pôšow!
Today, on a popular social media site, a picture of a cloud seen over Waswanipi was posted. The comment accompanying the picture read, “Hmmm, more weird looking clouds.” Here is the picture.
Granted, these clouds do look kind of weird, they are quite common. In the field of meteorology, this type of cloud is called by the Latin term altocumulus undulatus.
When faced with the need for highly specific words, the English language often depends on Latin. The Cree language, on the other hand, is properly equipped to describe highly detailed features of the natural world, including clouds. This is largely due to a grammatical feature called polysynthesis, which I spoke at length about in an earlier post. In the Cree language of Waswanipi, the altocumulus undulatus cloud is known by the following term:
This word is a beautiful example of polysynthesis, so let us break it down. The word ᐸᐦᑯᓈᒋᑴᐗᔅᑾᓐ is an inanimate intransitive verb (i.e., a VII) that features two medials built on the stem of a transitive animate verb (i.e., a VTA). The stem on which the word is built is the following:
This stem means, “to skin an animal.” To that stem a medial is attached, referring to the animal being skinned. In the case, the animal is an otter and the medial is as follows:
This medial is derived, through a normal process of medial derivation, from the noun ᓂᒋᒄ. Together, these two components form a new stem, meaning “to skin an otter.” The stem is as follows:
To this stem, another medial is attached. This one means “cloud” and has the following form:
This medial is derived from the noun ᐗᔅᒄ, a word that is now obsolete in Waswanipi. This medial, however, cannot form a new stem without the addition of a final. The final here adds no meaning to the word, but rather helps form a VII verb. The final is the following:
Together, these components come to mean “there is an otter-skinning cloud.” This may be a strange description for anyone not accustomed to seeing otters being skinned, but for those who have the choice of word immediately becomes obvious.
When skinning an otter with a bone scraper, the skinner will simultaneously strike the subcutaneous tissues while pulling the skin away from the area being struck. Doing so repeatedly creates a lumpy texture in the otter’s fat, reminiscent of the aforementioned cloud.
While many of us nowadays tend to imagine puppies and kittens in the shapes of clouds, evidently hunters and trappers see things quite differently! So the next time you see an altocumulus undulatus you can help keep a beautiful and meaningful word in use by calling it what our people have called it for centuries, ᐸᐦᑯᓈᒋᑴᔅᑾᓐ.
ᐊᐌᓇ ᐌᐦᑕᐗᑳᑴ ᑭᒋ ᐯᐦᑕᐦᒃ, ᐁᑯᔑ ᑲᑕ ᐯᐦᑕᒻ᙮
ᒋ ᓂᐹᓐ ᐋ, ᒋ ᓂᐹᓐ ᐋ
ᓂᔥᑌᔅ ᒞᓐ, ᓂᔥᑌᔅ ᒞᓐ
ᒉᒋᔐᐹ ᒪᑗᐦᑎᓐ, ᒉᒋᔐᐹ ᒪᑗᐦᑎᓐ
ᑎᓐᒃ ᑖᓐᒃ ᑣᓐᒃ
ᑳ ᓇᐌᔮᑯᓀᑦ ᒥᔥᑎᒄ
ᐁ ᐊᑎ ᑎᐦᑭᓱᓕᒋ ᑰᓇ
I designed the following chart as a tool to convert the Cree alphabet into syllabics, and vice versa. Aside from a few important changes, it is based on traditional syllabics charts. This version features the letters used in the standard alphabetic orthography and the syllabics used in the eastern syllabic orthographies. The terms cardinal and ordinal refer here to the orientation of the individual syllabic characters. They are included here as a pedagogical tool, in line with my use of these terms in the syllabics lessons published on this blog. The third category, listed here as supplemental, groups together characters that were originally designed to represent sounds from non-Cree languages, as when transcribing English names.
Note that the long vowels require diacritics in both orthographies to distinguish them from their corresponding short vowels, making the conversion from one orthography to the other effortless. Also note that the long vowel e does not require a diacritic as it does not have to be distinguished from a corresponding short vowel. This simplifies any orthographic conversion as its corresponding syllabic series has traditionally forgone the use of a diacritic as well.
A feature of the alphabetic orthography is that it is not based on English or French phonetics. Rather, it is based on the actual sound structure of the Cree language. As such, every Cree sound is represented by only one letter, making the conversion from the alphabet to syllabics that much easier. For example, the Cree sound variously pronounced as /tsh/, dzh/, /ts/ or even /tz/ is always represented by the single letter c rather than the awkward and variable use of tsh, ts, tch, ch, g, and even j, all of which derive from English and French phonetics. Similarly, the Cree long vowel pronounced as /i:/ is written as ī (or alternatively î), rather than using the English based e, ee, ea, or even ii. As a final example, the Cree sound that varies between /k/ and /g/ is always spelled as k, rather than drawing from English phonetics and misleadingly using k and g for what is really only one sound in Cree. A word, therefore, commonly written as meegwetch, meegwech, miigwetch, or even miigwech, is consistently written as mīkwec in the Cree alphabetic orthography and ᒦᑴᒡ in syllabics.
Spelling in a consistent manner is an important requirement for literacy. Not doing so creates barriers for language learners and hinders the progression of literacy for a language that is already at risk of being lost in many communities across Cree country. For those wishing to learn how to read and write in syllabics, lessons can be found here.
The creativity of children never ceases to amaze me. Linguistically, they find ways to play with the languages they speak that make us laugh while simultaneously saying much about where they are from. Here’s a funny example I once overheard from young children playing together in my home.
Enh! You just said “doo who!”
The Cree language can be likened to the world’s most mechanically intricate clocks that, despite their innumerable moving parts, display time using only two or three hands. Similarly, our beautiful language is built on a rich, but incredibly complex, grammatical structure, and yet boasts only a simple repertoire of vowels and consonants. In this way, our language sounds deceptively simple, but its grammar has thwarted many in their attempts to learn to speak it.
Certainly, numerous factors aside from grammar conspire against the would-be Cree speakers. Inconsistent orthographies, sparse learning materials, dialectal differences, and even idiolectal preferences are complicit. But there is one grammatical feature that is so unfamiliar to speakers of European languages that it usually escapes their attention, only to repeatedly frustrate their efforts at speaking with any degree of fluency. This feature is called polysynthesis.
Polysynthesis is the process of stringing together many morphemes, or word-parts, into long words that would be typically expressed as sentences in non-polysynthetic languages. What better way then to illustrate this process than by presenting here what many say is the longest Cree word ever?
The word you are about to see was posted on a social media page dedicated to the Cree language. It is allegedly known by many elderly people in communities along the east coast of James Bay and is here presented in the northern dialect. Prepare to run out of breath trying to read this aloud.
It was evident from the comment section on this social media site that this word stumped many Cree-speakers. So by way of illustration, let us break this word down to reveal its actual meaning. While doing so, the grammatical process of polysynthesis will be made abundantly clear.
The length of this Cree word can be partially explained by its inflexions. In other words, it is a verb that has been conjugated by the addition of a prefix and a suffix. The prefix is here separated by a space, but some people prefer to place it next to the word, making it appear even longer. The inflexions in this word are highlighted here for your convenience.
The prefix here is a simple past tense marker (some would argue it is a perfective aspect marker, but we can overlook this for the sake of simplicity). The suffix here is a third person plural dubitative preterit marker. It conveys an event involving a group of people that we infer to have occurred, but did not witness ourselves.
Another segment in this word is a derivational morpheme that conveys a passive voice. A passive voice is used in verbs where the subject undergoes the action of the verb. In English, the passive voice would be used to say things like “he is seen” or “she is appreciated.” The passive is highlighted here in blue.
This passive voice tells us that that something is being done to this group of people. In other words, they are not active participants in this event, but rather, recipients. Let’s keep working at this word!
The next segment is a derivational morpheme that contains both a prefix and a suffix which conveys the meaning of providing something for others. It is here highlighted in red.
So we now know that something was provided for a group of people in the past, but the speaker only infers this information as he or she was not a witness to the event. A little more work and we shall soon find out what they received!
The following segment is a derivational morpheme that literally means “pack,” “bag,” or “container.” It is here highlighted in green.
The speaker is therefore telling us that it is inferred that a group of people in the past received a package containing something. Shall we keep going?
The morpheme referring to the contents of the package is underlined below.
This morpheme can also exist as a word on its own, as follows:
This word means “spatchcocked grouse.” But even it itself is a word composed of smaller parts! In fact, it is a compound consisting of a suffix referring to grouse and an initial segment that literally refers to game split open from the back and deboned for smoking or grilling. On its own, it is used to refer to fish, but with the suffix it comes to refer to grouse. Here is the root of it all, the word that refers to fish split from the back for smoking or roasting:
It would be remiss of me not to mention that even this word is a noun derived from an initial verb composed of two parts, but I digress too much. Let us return then to the original word now that we have broken it down into its different segments.
This Cree word can be translated as follows (the translation is colour coded to match the associated parts of the Cree word):
They were presumably given a package of spatchcocked grouse.
As has been shown, this one Cree word (two if we consider the prefix a separate word) requires the use of nine English words to be properly translated. This then illustrates beautifully what polysynthesis means. It is so foreign to English-speakers that it must be explicitly explained if they ever wish to acquire any fluency in the Cree language. But do not despair! The Cree language obeys strict rules that allow speakers to formulate these kinds of words. With a bit of practice, one can learn how to do so and amaze fellow Cree-speakers! Perhaps then, a longer word could even be composed to earn the title of the longest Cree word ever.