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Cree

“The Cree language (also called Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi) is spoken in many parts of Canada, from the Rocky Mountains west to Labrador in the east. Cree is also spoken in northern Montana in the United States. Cree is often written in syllabics (i.e., symbols representing a combination of consonant and vowel, or just a consonant or vowel). Cree is one of the most widely spoken Indigenous languages in Canada. In the 2016 census, 96,575 people reported speaking Cree.” – The Canadian Encyclopedia

Isabel Scribe: Episode 1

Isabel Scribe is a member of the Pimicikamak Cree Nation, also known as Cross Lake in Northern Manitoba. Isabel is a fluent speaker of the Swampy Cree language.

Isabel Scribe is a member of the Pimicikamak Cree Nation, also known as Cross Lake in Northern Manitoba. Isabel is a fluent speaker of the Swampy Cree language.

Lisa Muswagon and Isabel Scribe: Episode 1

Isabel Scribe and Lisa Muswagon are members of the Pimicikamak Cree Nation, also known as Cross Lake in Northern Manitoba.

Lisa Muswagon and Isabel Scribe: Episode 2

Isabel Scribe and Lisa Muswagon are members of the Pimicikamak Cree Nation, also known as Cross Lake in Northern Manitoba.

Lisa Muswagon and Isabel Scribe: Episode 3

Isabel Scribe and Lisa Muswagon are members of the Pimicikamak Cree Nation, also known as Cross Lake in Northern Manitoba.

Mabel Horton is from the Nisichawayasihk  Cree Nation in Nelson House, Manitoba. She is fluent in the Rocky Cree, learning it from her parents, grandparents, aunties, and uncles.

Cree

The old saying is, “All Nations will gather under the Sacred Tree of Life.”

To learn Cree, I had to teach them how to introduce themself in their mother tongue. I went from there to start what I call Beginners Cree. Being a language keeper is a big responsibility and duty to revive our language. 

Mino pimàtisiwin translates to “the good life” in our Cree language, Inineemowin. Ni key yan mino pimatiswin,” I have had a good life.”

Learning about residential schools and their impact on the language, the journey of bringing it back, and the interest in Indigenous culture from non-Indigenous children.

In this article, my objective is to share the traditional ways that my family taught me. Shared with me are stories of traditional values taught to another family and how they pass the traditional ways to their children.

Cree Speakers

LISA MUSWAGON

Lisa Muswagon is a member of the Pimicikamak Cree Nation, also known as Cross Lake in Northern Manitoba. She is Nakoda Cree and grew up in northern Manitoba, the Interlake, and Winnipeg.

Her parents, Isabel and Charles, raised Lisa and her siblings in ceremonies and with traditions. She picked up the hand drum to pass on the legacy of storytelling. She is on the path of breaking cycles and is learning Cree to teach it to the next generation.

CREE LANGUAGE

Learn the basics of the Cree language with Lisa Muswagon.

ISABEL SCRIBE

Isabel Scribe is a member of the Pimicikamak Cree Nation, also known as Cross Lake in Northern Manitoba. Isabel is a fluent speaker of the Swampy Cree language.

She and her husband, Charles, raised their children in ceremonies and with traditions. Isabel provides culturally responsive counselling, therapy, Indigenous ceremonies, and empowerment through storytelling, workshops, and sharing circles.

CREE LANGUAGE

Learn the basics of the Cree language with Isabel Scribe.

Mabel Horton

Mabel Horton is from the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation in Nelson House, Manitoba. She is fluent in the Rocky Cree, learning it from her parents, grandparents, aunties, and uncles. 

Cree and other Indigenous languages were greatly impeded and almost irradicated through the Canadian Residential School System. However, there are efforts to reclaim the language, and Mabel has seen a drive in younger generations to connect with their roots.

CREE LANGUAGE

Learn the basics of the Cree language with Mabel Horton

Materials

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  • Wâhkôhtowin – kinship
  • Mîyo wîcehtôwin – getting along together
  • Mâmahwohkamâtowin – working cooperatively
  • Manâtisiwin and manâhcihitowin – respect and respect for each other
  • Pikiskwestamowewin – speaking on behalf of others
  • Kiskinwahasimôwewin – accepting guidance
  • Kiskanowapâhkewin – a keen sense of observation
  • Nanahihtamowin – obedience, to listen with an open heart
  • Kisewâtisiwin – compassion, loving kindness
  • Tâpwewin and kanacisowin – honesty and clean living
  • Wîcihitowin – sharing
  • Okihtowihiwewin – generosity
  • Tapateyimisôwin and ekakisteyimisowin – humility.

Greetings

Hi! How are you?Tân'si
Fine, and you?Namôya nân'taw, kiya mâka
The same, it is truly a nice day.Pêyakwan, tâpwê miyo-kîsikaw
How are you called (What is your name?)Tân'sîsîyihkâsoyan
________ is my name.________ nit'sîyihkâson

Days of the week

Sunday (it is)Ayamihêwikîsikâw
Monday (it is)Pêyakokîsikâw
Tuesday (it is)Nîsokîsikâw
Wednesday (it is)Nîsokîsikâw
Thursday (it is)Nêwokîsikâw
Friday (it is)Niyânanokîsikâw
Saturday (it is)Mâtinâwikîsikâw

Numbers

1pêyak
2nîso
3nisto
4nêwo
5niyânan
6nikotwâsik
7têpakohp
8ayinânêw
9kêkâmitâtaht
10mitâtaht

Vocabulary

yesâha / îhî
no/notnamôya
big/smallmisi / apisci
quick/slowpapâsi / nisihkâc
early/latewîpac / mwêstas
cheap/expensivewîhtakihtêw / mistakihtêw
near/farkêhciwâk / wahyaw
hot/coldtemperature: kisitêw / tahkâw
weather: kisâstêw / tahkâyâw
fullsâkaskinêw
easy/difficultwihcasin/nayihtâwan / âyiman
heavy/lightkosikwan / yahkasin
open(it is) /shutyôhtêkotêw / kipahikâtêw
right/wrong(it is)kwayaskwastêw /namastêw
old/newkayâsâyowin / oskâyowin
old/young personkisêyaya / oskiyaya
ElderKêhtêyaya
good/bad (I)miywâsin / mâyâtan
worse (it's getting)nawac mâyihtâkwan
allkahkiyaw
everybodypokâwiyak

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