Bloody Buggery Hell!
My Youtube posts still haven’t come in. Poop. Oh well, there’s not too much I can do about it.
Cree class was mucho fun. I learned a bazillion new words and all about the five dialects of Cree spoken, including Y, Th, N, L, and R. I learned that there are no capital letters in Cree, and in the Y, Th, and N dialects there are no L’s or R’s. So why are we called Cree? It’s a shortened form of the French word for us, Kiristenaux, which means Christian. Why did they call us that? Dude, don’t ask me. Our real name is nehiyaw. I learned that the Cree word for fire is iskotew, which also means woman’s heart. Also the Cree language changed post contact, reserve land is not called aski, which means land, it is called askihkan, which means land that is not real, or iskonikan which means land that is leftover. okimaw, which means leader, became okimahkan, which means fake leader. Likewise councellor (I’m assuming it was wiyssowew) became wiyssowehkan which means fake councellor. The words I have just written aren’t totally correct since blogger doesn’t do roman orthographics, or else I just haven’t figured out how to type it on here.
If you would like to know more Cree words, go to the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre (which incidentally is also mandated to preserve the other languages of Saskachewan, Dene, Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, and Nakawe). They have various words, simple phrases, and audio files for the correct pronunciation.
At work I also learned the true origins of Hochelaga, the commonly accepted aboriginal name of Montreal. In fact, that is not what the Mohawks called it. When Cartier landed he went about his european way of showing peace by shaking hands with everyone. Trying to figure out what these bizarre furry smelly people were, they collapsed two words together, Osha which means hand, and aga which means people. Osha Aga, the hand shaking people. Later on the sailors were trying to figure out who they met and because they heard them saying this word they decided those people and that place was Hochelaga.
Canada’s origin is even funnier. Kanata was the word for village, and aja (?) was the word for sitting someplace. White people showed up, came to the villages, and just started sitting around and never left, so they called them squatters, Kanatja, literally village sitters.
Possibly the most romantic sounding cree word that I learned is achakasa ka-akohpit, which means he uses the stars as a blanket.
But the most common Cree word I heard as a child was awass! Awass means go away. Which is what I must do right now.