Simplifying Cree Language Lessons by Focusing on One Word
Cree words are packed with meaning and can be used as an entire language lesson.
Simon Bird is the Director of Education for the Lac La Ronge Indian Band and he shares his wealth of knowledge teaching Cree. He says, there are people in our communities who want to teach Cree and there are many more who want to learn it. He describes that you can teach an entire language lesson with one Cree word. For example, the word mistatim or misatim means big dog and refers to a horse. The concept of big dog exists within other Indigenous languages (Lakota, Dakota, Ojibway, Saulteaux, etc.) which shows how the horse was introduced to Indigenous people, and that dogs were part of their lives before horses came along. This language lesson brings in elements of history of Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationships, as well as, transportation and culture of peoples. In his discussion he gives an overview of a number of other Cree words that can be used in language lessons. Bird is a leader in his community and believes that if we study the language you will realize its significance and the roots it has in our culture and society – you will begin to appreciate who we are as people.
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