Life among the Crees, in Chinuk Wawa

(Tune in next time for Life among the Inuit, in Chinuk Wawa.  I promise!)

Cree bannock bread

Cree fish

Sometimes you can’t find the sun, but the fish won’t leave you alone:

Life among the Crees, as told by the visiting Monsignor Emile Jean-Baptiste Marie Grouard (another pioneer of publishing in Canadian Aboriginal languages) to the Secwepemc of Kamloops and Father Le Jeune.

Emile Grouard photo

Le Jeune in turns tells it to us in Chinuk Wawa:

Grouard (2)

     Alta lisivik iaka mamuk komtaks kopa nsaika
Then the bishop reported to us 

kata ukuk ilihi pi ukuk tilikom kah iaka chako
how that country and those people are where he had come from.  

Ukuk ilihi kopa Kamlups aias tlus ilihi,
This country around Kamloops is a beautiful place,  

pi ukuk ilihi kah iaka chako, wik kakwa. Iaka drit
but that country where he was coming from, it’s not like this.  It’s really 

saia kopa iakwa Iawa, kopa wam ilihi, son
far from here.  There, in the summer, the sun 

iaka ipsut kopa <10> oklak, pi iaka wiht
hides at 10 o’clock, and it once again  

gitop kopa <2> oklak, kopa sitkom pulakli.
comes up at 2 o’clock, in the middle of the night.  

Ilo pulakli kopa iawa ilihi; kopa <12> oklak
There’s no night in that country there; at 12 o’clock 

sitkom pulakli kopa Kamlups, iaka drit lait kopa
midnight at Kamloops, it’s really light in 

iawa ilihi.
that country there.

 

     Pi pus liplit klatwa nanich tilikom kopa
And when the priest visits the people 

saia, kopa north ilihi, son kwanisim chako
far away, in the north country, the sun keeps getting 

ilip aias. Tanas saia, pi son ipsut
bigger and bigger.  After a little ways, the sun hides  

kopa <11> oklak, pi iaka gitop kopa <1>* oklak.
at 11 o’clock, and it comes up at 1 o’clock.  

Tanas saia wiht pi ilo iaka ipsut
A little farther still and it doesn’t hide, 

kopit iaka tanas klatwa kopa ilihi, sitkom
it just goes slightly towards the ground, half 

klatwa kopa ilihi pi sitkom ilo Tanas
goes to the earth and half not.  A little 

saia wiht pi ilo iaka ipsut. Kopa mokst
ways farther and it doesn’t hide at all.  For two 

Sondi, kopa tlun Sondi, kopa iht mun, kopa
weeks, for three weeks, for a month, for 

mokst mun, kopa lakit mun, son iaka
two months, for four months, the sun 

kuli kopa sahali ilihi iaka klatwa rawn.
travels in the heavens, going around.  

Iaka chako tanas kikuli pi ilo iaka ipsut.
It gets a bit lower but it doesn’t hide.  

Ilo pulakli kopa <4> mun Pi kata ukuk
There’s no night for 4 months.  But how do these  

tilikom pus kakwa, wik na klaska slip?
people get by if it’s like that, don’t they sleep?

Nawitka klaska slip Klaska mamuk pi chako
Indeed they sleep.  They work until it gets to be 

sitkom pulakli Kopit sitkom pulakli klaska
midnight.  After midnight they 

klatwa styuil Kopa <2> oklak iaka lamas
go to pray.  At 2 o’clock it’s mass.   

Kopit lamas iaka iskom syupir, pi klatwa
After mass he [they] take supper, and go 

slip, aias hloima ukuk mamuk Ilip
to sleep; this way of doing things is very odd.  First 

lamas pi iawa syupir taim pi iawa klatwa
mass and then suppertime, and then going 

slip
to bed.  

 

     Nawitka, aias tlus iawa kopa Shulai:
    Indeed, it’s very nice there in July: 

son, ilo pulakli kwanisim son kopa tlun
it’s sunny, there’s no night, always sunshine for three 

mun kopa lakit mun, pi pus chako kol ilihi
months, for four months, and when it gets to be winter, 

drit aias klahawiam iawa ilihi; son ilo
that country there is really miserable; the sun never 

chako kopa tlun mun kopa lakit mun. Kwanisim
comes for three months, for four months.  It’s always 

pulakli, klunas kopa sitkom son. Klaska
night, maybe [even] at noon. They  

nanich tanas lait, kakwa pus son tiki chako
see a bit of light, as if the sun wants to come 

pi wik iaka chako, kopit sitkom son iaka wiht
but it doesn’t come, in the afternoon it’s once again 

aias pulakli, pi kakwa kopa tlun mun kopa lakit mun
very dark, and it’s like this for three months, for four months.  

 

     Tilikom iawa ilo tlap tlus makmak kakwa msaika
    The people there don’t get good food like you folks 

kopa Kamlups: klaska makmak fish, pi fish pi
at Kamloops: they eat fish, and fish and 

fish. Tanas son fish sitkom son fish
fish.  In the morning, fish; noon, fish; 

mimlus son wiht fish; kopa likarim ayu
evening, fish again; during Lent lots of  

fish pus chako kopit likarim ayu fish
fish; when Lent comes to an end, lots of fish; 

kopa Krismas ayu fish pi kopa Pak fish
at Christmas lots of fish and at Easter fish; 

kwanisim fish Som taim klaska tlap iht
always with the fish.  Sometimes they get a 

potito, pi klaska drit tlus tomtom
potato, and they’re overjoyed 

pus tlap potito Som taim wiht klaska
to get a potato.  Sometimes they also 

tlap tanas kalakala, pi klaska tlus tomtom
get a little bird, and they’re happy 

makmak kalakala. Som taim wiht klaska tlap
to be eating fowl.  Sometimes they even get 

mawich, iaka nim karibu, pi klaska tlus
a kind of deer called caribou, and they

tomtom pus klaska tlap ukuk mawich.
are happy to get that deer.  

Ilo kansih klaska nanich saplil̂ iht
They never see bread; one 

sak flawr kopa iawa ilihi <50> tala;
sack of flour in that country there is 50 dollars; 

pi ilo ayu flawr klatwa kopa iawa ilihi
and not much flour goes to that country there;  

liplit wiht kakwa klunas kopa Krismas klunas
the priest says it’s like this: maybe at Christmas, maybe 

kopa aias Sondi iaka tlap tanas lagalit, pi iaka
on a holiday he gets a bit of bannock [bread], and  he’s  

yutl tomtom. Kanawi hloima son kopit fish iaka makmak.
delighted.  Every other day, it’s just fish that he eats.  

Kamloops Wawa #137 (February 1896), page 36

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