Language and Culture Links
Plains Cree (nêhiyawêwin) links:
There are just SO MANY resources out there now, that I have to reorganise this page a bit better so it does not simply overwhelm. I hope the sub-pages I’ve set up help guide you towards the resources you’re looking for.
In terms of Things You Need On Your Shelf, I highly recommend you have at least these books:
- nêhiyawêwin paskwâwi-pîkiskwêwin: Cree, Language of the Plains, by Jean Okimâsis (grammar guide)
- Cree Words: English to Cree and Cree Words: Cree to English (I can’t find this available online right now. You can usually get it through a university that teaches Cree though. In addition, this dictionary has been included in the Online Cree Dictionary if you don’t want it in paper form.)
- also available as a free app for all your mobile devices, so get it!
- Yay, it’s back up after a long hiatus! Word and phrases with audio, in various languages spoken in Saskatchewan. The link above is to Plains Cree. Great chance to hear the pronunciation of simple words.
- Yay, a new resource! There are 134 videos modelling phrases in Plains Cree (scroll to bottom of page). Hearing the language is so, so vital. This particular dialect uses the ‘ch’ sound in place of the ‘ts’ sound that I am used to for the Cree letter ‘c’, but it is a small difference and the words are just as understandable.
- the video resources above are part of a wider First Language Speaking Project. The site also has Elder recordings, Elder transcripts, flashcards, oral quizzes, Cree phrase downloadable audio, links to language books and dictionaries and so on. It is an enormous collection of Cree (3 dialects included). The site is volunteer run and as such is underfunded, but was made by individuals who care about keeping their language alive through speaking.
- This site can look a little ‘busy’ sometimes, but it is full of great resources. Here is an order form for Plains Cree resources. Here are language instructional resources available in ‘th’ Woods Cree, ‘y’ Plains Cree, and Dene. I would love to hear from anyone who has actually purchased one of these sets. There are A LOT of print resources you can get from this site, so I highly recommend taking a look-see.
In addition, there are a number of fantastic online resources. Check out their interactive learning areas as well as the multimedia pages. Here are interactive vocabulary exercises in Plains Cree. I poke around this website a lot and have not yet exhausted all the materials they continue to develop!
And because I missed this before, here are complete, amazing language units you can download for free! I include only these two here because grades 1-3 are available so far only in the TH dialect and in Dene.
- Click on Stories to read the accounts of various Elders both in English and in Cree. The stories are for advanced learners, but the English translations provide important access to the cultural messages being shared.
- This demo flash resource from the Bear Hills Cree is a good start. Only the demo version is accessible right now. I’m not sure what’s happening with this, because as you’ll see in the next link, the project seems to have been moved to a different platform.
- Miyo Education also has links to many printable Cree resources in PDF format. I’ve just recently discovered this resource and I’m loving it! Note that a lot of newer language development in Alberta is being done in syllabics rather than in the RSO. Here is an order form for many, many Cree resources. Here is a link to the printable resources.
- there are all sorts of ‘sets’ of vocabulary modeled for you in youtube form. Awesome!
- (This is currently down, but I’m hoping it’ll be back up so I’m keeping this link) This resource focuses entirely on Cree kinship terms and provides a comprehensive explanation of grammatical structures used as well as a decent description of basic kinship roles. There is some audio provided. This resource is more suited to older learners. At the end, there is even a test
- Nisto was down for a while too. The link above will take you to the main page with more than language resources. This link will take you directly to the language lessons which were developed in 1972. The way things are spelled in these lessons reflects the way fluent speakers tend to pronounce the words, with many sounds ‘dropped’ in rapid speech, so it may be confusing to beginners. Nonetheless, it is a good resources. As well, the dialect represented is from Manitoba, and it is useful to see the differences in pronunciation and wording.
-I stumbled upon these recently. There are 40 sets of flash cards with vocabulary and translations. I was excited that there seemed to be audio included, but it is apparently some form of automatic digital reading that definitely does not give you proper pronunciation. I suggest just forgetting it’s there at all
What I LOVE about this is that there is great vocab…such as these sets on the theme of Tim Hortons, KFC and Facebook/internet slang! Some of this is definitely Creelish, but it’s relevant and funny. There is a testing function that allows you to see if you can remember the terms you are learning.
- CD for purchase
- This blog inspired me to start my own. The author is a hardcore Plains Cree addict/linguist (same difference?) and he discusses various interesting aspects of the language.
- this site provides a list of books in Cree and where possible gives you links so that you can order them. What is great about this site is that they review the books to ensure that they use standard Roman Syllabic Orthography and are in the Plains Cree dialect.
- A wonderful streamed resource! You can listen to three legends as told by members of the Atahtakoop (Sandy Lake) First Nation. Most of the stories are told in English, but with many Cree words and phrases.
Video interviews in Cree
- no subtitles or text provided, full on Cree.
- Elder Annie Bird on child-rearing (good sound quality)
- Thomas Ratt on the Cree language
- Albert Ross on the Cree language