“The Air we Breathe is Sacred”

Tansi classmates,

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:

IMG_7895.JPGDoes 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!


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11 Responses to “The Air we Breathe is Sacred”

  1. Lindy Olafson says:

    File Hills Tribal Council has a great Cree app.
    It’s great for kids, has some games and stuff as well. There are children teaching the words. Many common phrases and words related to food, numbers, etc.
    Good for you, a new language is a lot of work to learn!

    Liked by 1 person

    • strauchc says:

      Thanks so much! I do have that one on my phone and I have been using it. I also thought that it would be a great App for kids to use to learn. I like that it has games too. Thanks for the tip and for coming by:)


  2. Great post and progress with your learning project! I am inspired and I think you are doing a great job. This will be invaluable in months and years to come.

    Liked by 1 person

    • strauchc says:

      Thanks so much! I agree. I feel much more confident with my understanding of FN culture and language after my learning journey. I believe this will help me as I am working with students. In particular, the newcomer program has a specific section devoted to FN education for newcomers to Canada.


  3. In my EADM program we learn and discuss a lot on the Indigenous issue and Indigenization in Teacher Education Programs in the province. We discuss several topics on the relationships and how Saskatchewan teachers can harmonize Western and Indigenous perspectives. Reading what you posted here, it seems to me that you are really part of this movement. Great post, I am looking forward to reading more posts on your Cree learning progress.

    Liked by 1 person

    • strauchc says:

      That is awesome! I have heard lots of great things about that class! I hope to be able to teach my children as well as adult learners about the things that I have learned about FN culture. They are many relevant and important lessons to share. I have also enjoyed following your language journey! I bet you are looking forward to your trip!


  4. thehackelhub says:

    Congratulations on your progress! Learning any language, especially one that is so different from our own is no easy task. I can see this project taking you so far – a huge part of reconciliation is showing value and learning and appreciate language is one way you can do that. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • strauchc says:

      Thanks! You are totally right. For that very reason I wanted to undertake this learning journey. I believe that we have to value the rich and beautiful culture that we have. We can’t loose that and must take part in preservation.


  5. Great job! I liked that you are learning a bit more about the Cree culture in addition to the language, good idea! Cree words are so long! For the Cree word of the week we do in my classroom, it always take me several mindful practices before I feel comfortable showing the kids. Keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • strauchc says:

      Thanks so much! They are so long! It also takes me a few hundred repetitions for those words to cement. Also, since I haven’t been actively using them in my everyday life I feel like I have to relearn them every time that I sit down to study Cree! I need more Cree speakers in my life to help me practice 🙂


  6. Pingback: Learning | mekwa kiskinohamâkosiwin | Advocacy and Learning

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