Since my last post I have been inspired to learn more about the culture of the Plain’s Cree. My inspiration came on two different occasions: the first was walking around Wascana Lake and the second was at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum.
When I was walking around Wascana Lake I saw the Teepee outside of First Nation’s University. It had just snowed and it was such a peaceful and beautiful morning. I was reminded of the power of our history and the importance of the land to our First Nations People.
Second of all, as my kids and I walked around the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, (don’t you guys love that place?) we stood looking over the exhibit that shows a buffalo jump with an incredible painting of the prairies in the background. The speaker described the land and traditions in both English and Cree and I, again, felt moved by the incredible history and culture that we are so fortunate to have in our province.
Something that I have discovered during my Cree learning journey is that there are not a tonne of resources to learn Cree. Furthermore, there are not a tonne of social media resources to help learn Cree and First Nation’s culture. I will share some of what I have found below.
I found several resources on YouTube that talked about the earth, the land and the creator. Check out this YouTube channel for Cree teachings. This one has Cree words of the day in addition to cultural resources. I really enjoyed watching the videos and hearing traditional teachings. Here is one video for you to see. This video shares a Cree teaching called “The Sound of the Universe and the Creation of Mother Earth”
Sylvia describes: “Even the very air is so sacred and so life-giving.” This is such a powerful statement to me as human beings are dependent on the air to survive. To the Plain’s Cree, the air is sacred and therefore human beings are filled and dependent on “the very air of the creator.”
How does this relate to learning the Plain’s Cree language? As I was researching, I came across the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre website. When introducing the Cree language, the website reads as follows:
“Today, First Nation people believe that language is their identity and it is what keeps the culture strong. When there is no First Nation language, there is no First Nation culture. Language is the lifeblood that feeds the striving identity of First Nation people. Once the language is lost, there is no hope of retrieving it. The plain and simple reality is that there is no motherland where First Nation people can go to retrace and relearn their language, for this is our motherland.”
As a non-FN person, I believe this journey will help me to be an ally with FN people who are working to preserve their language. With a better understanding of language and culture, I can support and be aware of the issues related to language preservation.
Finally, I will leave you with an update of my vocabulary that I have been working on. Here are the numbers from 1-20:
Does anyone else find that they have to write things our to learn them?
Look at those numbers guys. Super long! Not easy to learn!
Does anyone have good cultural resources that they use in their classroom? I would love to hear about them!