pêyakôtênaw — An East Cree Family Group at Winter Camp, 1974

Cree-speaking pre-reader hard at work!

Cree-speaking pre-reader hard at work!

In this beautiful documentary of an East Cree winter hunting camp, an NFB crew accompanies a small family group  — a pêyakôtênaw — on their winter trapping roundseast of James Bay.
pêyakôtênaw could be literally translated as “one town,” but in the traditional sense, it referred to one family, or small group of families, living and hunting together, just like this video shows. Perhaps this is the real origin of the Cree word otênaw ‘town’.

Listening carefully to the Cree, I could recognize a few words here and there. Real speakers will surely do better, despite the dialect difference. I love the visuals, and the  teaching of children by their parents how to continue to care for the land they live on. The still photo I chose to use here is a favourite moment (among many): the beautiful nosiness of the pre-schooler watching the trader write his cheque and do his books around 41′. Perfect pre-literacy in action! http://www.nfb.ca/film/cree_hunters/

About Arden Ogg

Arden Ogg is Director of the Cree Literacy Network, a not-for-profit in its seventh year of gathering and curating Cree language literacy materials on the web and creating connections between students, teachers, speakers and linguists across the Cree dialect-and-language continuum.
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