USask’s Pewaseskwan Helps Revitalize Indigenous Nehiyawak (Cree) Language and Culture in Saskatchewan – News

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Return Cree to the Community

With approximately 97,000 speakers, Cree is the most widely spoken Indigenous language in Canada, but influences such as boarding schools, sixties scoops, and children’s anxiety about non-Indigenous care have left many people can’t speak Some communities, such as OLCN, are doing significant work to maintain and promote the language. For Pahtayken and Morin, Cree is more than just a collection of words and constructs. It is the key to preserving their culture and improving the health of their communities.

“Part of the language and the way they speak is something that you have to relearn as a person, such as behavior and how to treat people. It’s a story that needs to be told to people to stay healthy within their villages and communities,” Morin explained.

Back in the auditorium, Harper and the other elders take turns speaking. Walter Pahtayken (Dolores’ father), Peter Chief and Jeff Wastesicoot (Pimicikamak Cree Nation (Northern Manitoba) Elder of Treaty 5) also take the stage to share their knowledge of language and rituals with the rest of his Cree community . They listen carefully to each other and nod occasionally to see what is being shared.

Wastesicoot describes the Cree names for various flora and fauna. These words are now obsolete, but they ignite the memory of other elders.

The chief said Wasesikut reminded him of his days on the land with his kokum (grandmother) and mossum (grandfather) who raised him. He hopes these recordings will be there for his children and grandchildren and generations to come so they can learn from him and other elders.

Walter Pahtayken, speaking of community history and place names, agrees.

“The more I talk, the more I think about my past, how I grew up, how my elders taught me. “I hope that we can learn the language,” he said, adding that through language, we can learn the Cree’s values ​​about what is right and what is wrong.


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