Astumotah!

That’s probably a really bad spelling of a commonly used Cree word. It may surprise people, after watching most of this blog be in English, that in fact I do appreciate the multilingual quality of Canadian culture. And I did take French through school. I started out in French Immersion actually, the only reason I switched to Anglo schooling was because I moved to Montana for a year. Either way, when my brain is operating at full capacity I can pretty much decipher French. I mean, I do it literally so it sounds funny, but I have some fluent French speaking friends here in town who can correct the mistranslations. And mistranslations always occur. So if people did want to write here in French, and there are a lot of free thinking Quebeckers I know, then that is totally welcome. I am so not into having this blog stay a monoculture. That’s not the point.

The Cree language comes in 5 dialects and is the most widely spoken Aboriginal language in Canada, with 80 000 fluent speakers from Quebec to BC. Cree Speakers are well known for their diplomatic skills and ability to travel to various places while still retaining a sense of humour. The Cree language itself is a decolonized language which made concessions for change after the North West Rebellion, so that certain terms became contrary, including words for land and leader. Currently it is one of the most popular languages to be revived here in Canada, with both Native and Non Native speakers. Cree people were in charge of Canada’s fur trade and provided valuable assistance to otherwise clueless refugees. The Bible is the most recent translated addition to the current written language, the most recent translation was into the Y dialect, otherwise known as Plains Cree. Some new terms were created specifically to describe parts of the New and Old testament.

Lakota is one of the rarest languages in Canada with only 25 fluent speakers and most other Lakota/Dakota/Nakota speakers living in the United States of America. Sioux is considered a derogatory term for this tribe. Dene is a Canadian aboriginal language, and also ironically is the same language as the Navajo people of the South Western United States. Dene people in Canada still remember their migratory history. Saulteaux is another language spoken on the Plains, which has been revived and kept alive, there are some fluent Saulteaux speakers here and in Manitoba.

Cree is not the right name for my tribe, we are actually called Nehiyaw. Cree is a French term for Christians. I also don’t have my orthographics handy, so the accents are not in my Cree words right now, but there are long and short vowels all through Cree. Hopefully someone will point me in the right direction of using them online.

Awass Kisemohkoman!

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