kâ-pî-isi-kiskisiyân / The Way I Remember
Published by: University of Regina Press
Imprint: University of Regina Press
Sales Date: 2023-01-28
Published: January 2023
264 Pages, 152.00 x 228.00 x 1.00 in
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When reflecting on forces that have shaped his life, Solomon Ratt says his education was interrupted by his schooling. Torn from his family at the age of six, Ratt was placed into the residential school system-a harsh, institutional world, operated in a language he could not yet understand, far from the love and comfort of home and family. In kâ-pî-isi-kiskisiyân / The Way I Remember, Ratt reflects on these memories and the life-long challenges he endured through his telling of âcimisowin-autobiographical stories-and also traditional tales.
Written over the course of several decades, Ratt describes his life before, during, and after residential school. In many ways, these stories reflect the experience of thousands of other Indigenous children across Canada, but Ratt's stories also stand apart in a significant way: he managed to retain his mother language of Cree by returning home to his parents each summer despite the destruction wrought by colonialism.
Ratt then shifts from the âcimisowina (personal, autobiographical stories) to âcathôhkîwina, (sacred stories) the more formal and commonly recognized style of traditional Cree literature, to illustrate how, in a world uninterrupted by colonialism and its agenda of genocide, these traditional stories would have formed the winter curriculum of a Cree child's education.
Presented in Cree Th-dialect Standard Roman Orthography, syllabics, and English, Ratt's reminiscences of residential school escapades almost always end with a close call and a smile. Even when his memories are dark, Ratt's particularly Cree sense of humour shines, making kâ-pî-isi-kiskisiyân /The Way I Remember an important and unique memoir that emphasizes and celebrates Solomon Ratt's perseverance and life after residential school.
î-âpasâpahtamân / Looking Back
1. î-ati-powâtamân / On the Threshold of a Dream
2. î-maskamiht ocawâsisîwin / Stolen Childhood
3. kâkikî nika-kiskisin / Lest I Forget
4. atôspîwinâkwan-papakiwayâni-kîsikâw / Orange Shirt Day
5. kîspin îkâ î-kî-ocawâsimisiyân / If Not for My Children
6. kakîpâtisak / Fools!
î-mwayî-nitawi-ayamihcikîyân / Life before School
1. nicâhkosîwikamikos / My Little Hospital
2. salamô ikwâni poko Ratt / Just Solomon
3. acoskîwinisa / Chores
4. wîcisâni-kahkwîthihtowin / Sibling Rivalry
5. wîsahkîcâhk twîhow wanihikîskanâhk / Santa Visits the Trapline
6. tâpokîthihtamowin / Faith
7. ohpahowipîsim / Flying Up Moon
nistam wîsakîthihtahowin / Painful Firsts
1. mâmitonîthihta ôma!/ Think on This!
2. kiskinwahamâtowitâpânâsk / School Bus
3. nikî-tâtopitikawin / I Was Torn
4. nimasinahamawâw nikâwiy / Letter to Mama
5. môniyâw pîsimoyâpiya / Man-made Rainbows
6. î-kîwîhtahikawiyân / Home for the Summer
7. iskwâyâc tipiskâw î-mwayî-ohpahoyâhk / Last Night of Summer
8. kicohcikanis / Transistor Radio
kâ-ati-oskinîkîsiyân / Middle Years at School
1. î-maskamikawiyân nipâhkîkinaskisina / Stolen Moccasins
2. "Dog Biscuits"
3. î-kîmôci-ayamihcikîyân / Undercover Reading
4. î-kîmôtâpiyân / "Jeepers Creepers"
5. mistatimotôn / Horse Lips
6. kâ-makosîkîsikâk / Christmas at School
7. kinîkânîskawâwak kitithinîmak / "A Credit to Your Race"
8. pakwanita-itwîwin / Backhanded Compliment
nîkihk kâ-nîpihk / Summers at Home
1. ka-ispitisicik isîhcikîwin / Protocol: Age-Appropriate Conduct
2. nakwâtisowin ikwa mâtinamâkîwin / Sharing and Generosity
3. kisîwâtisiwin / Kindness
4. kistîthihtamowin / Respect
5. 1969 askîwin kâ-kî-akihtîk / 1969
î-ayahcitiniwiyâhk nitaskînâhk / Strangers in Our Homeland
1. Canada, Oh Canada, 150 askîwina / Canada, Oh Canada, 150 years
2. môtha nîtha Indian / I'm Not an Indian
3. âhkîtâp ithiniwak, cikâstîpathihcikan ithiniwak / "Reel Injuns"
4. kâ-papâmi-atâwîyan ispî kâ-wîskwastîwinâkosiyan / Shopping While Brown
5. âniskô-kiskinwahamâkîwin / Passing on Teachings
6. âhkami-nîhithowîtân / Let's Keep on Speaking Cree
tâpwîwin nîkân î-mwayî-mînosihtamâhk mitho-wîcîhtowin / Truth before Reconciliation
1. tâpwîwin / Truth
2. kithâskiwin / Lies
3. namôtha âhkîtâp Indian / Not a Pretendian
4. kipihtowîwin / The Sound of Silence
5. î-misiwanâcihtâyahk kipîkiskwîwininaw / Linguicide
6. tâniwî sâkihiwîwin? / Where Is the Love?
î-kîwîhtotahitoyahk / Reclaiming Ourselves
1. askiy kitohtâpamihikonaw / Earth Nourishes Us
2. âniskôhtowin / Interconnectedness
3. ninanâskomon / I Give Thanks
4. kâ-ohtâwîmâwi-kîsikâk / For Father's Day
5. nahîwin / Proficiency
6. kiskîthihtamowin / Knowledge
7. kiskîyihtamowin ohci / About Knowledge: Basil H. Johnston
8. nitohta! / Listen!
nîhithaw kiskinwahamâkîwin: nistam mâmitonîthihcikîwin / Cree Education: First Thoughts
1. tânisi mâna kâ-kî-isi-kiskinwahamahcik awâsisak kayâs? / How Then Were Children Taught Long Ago?
2. kîkwây kiwîhtamâkonaw âcathôhkana? cihcipiscikwân / What Do Our Stories Tell Us? The Rolling Head
10. cihcipiscikwân / The Rolling Head
11. wîsahkîcâhk tapasîw / The Flight of Wisahkecahk
12. wîsahkîcâhk ikwa wîmisôsoy / Wisahkecahk and wîmisôsoy
13. thiskipîw / The Flood
14. opasakwâpisimowak / The Shut-Eye Dancers
15. mâskikâtîw mahkîsîs / The Fox Has a Crippled Leg
16. wîsahkîcâhk ikwa okoskohowîsak / Wisahkecahk and the Startlers
17. wîsahkîcâhk ikwa kâ-masinâsocik waskwayak / Wisahkecahk and the Marking of Birch Trees
18. wîsahkîcâhk ikwa picikîskisîsa / Wisahkecahk and the Chickadees
19. wîsahkîcâhk omikiy mîciw / Wisahkecahk Eats His Scab
20. wîsahkîcâhk pimihamow / Wisahkecahk Migrates South
21. wîsahkîcâhk ikwa wîhtikow / Wisahkecahk and wîhtikow
Notes to the Texts
"Sol is an international treasure the whole world should enjoy." -Buffy Sainte-Marie
"The Way I Remember is inarguably the most important book yet to be published for the preservation of the Cree language and an understanding of the importance of the oral tradition to Cree culture and education." -Jesse Archibald-Barber, First Nations University of Canada
"As he looks back over his life journey reclaiming, breathing new and old life back into our beautiful language, Solomon credits the late Reverend Edward Ahenekew for helping me "to put the pieces together." kista meena dear Solomon, ekosi aytotumawiyak. This is an important book because you have also put pieces together for us so that we can have a good journey. Kinahnaskomtin." -Maria Campbell, author of Halfbreed
"A gift to future generations...Full of humour and resilience in equal measure, these Cree/English stories offer us a glimpse into a world as it was, and future that could be" -Chelsea Vowel, author of Indigenous Writes
"The Way I Remember is an open introduction to Cree culture." -The Miramichi Reader