Thanks to Solomon Ratt for preparing this y-dialect (Plains Cree) version – in print and audio – of this original Residential School story, written in his own th-dialect (Woodlands Cree) and translated into English. Click the audio link to listen and read along!
Dog Biscuits – Salamô âcimow
 ispîhk kâ-kî-awâsisîwiyân nikî-nitawi-kiskinwahamâkosin ohpimê nitiskonikanihk ohci. kistapinânihk mâna kâ-kî-nitawi-kiskinwahamâkosiyân, êkota Residential School ê-kî-itohtahikawiyân. mistahi mâna nikî-kitimâkihikawinân, mâka namôya êwako niwî-âtotên, niwî-âcimâwak nîci-kitimâkisak, nîci-okiskinwahamâkanak.
ᐃᐢᐲᕽ ᑳ ᑮ ᐊᐚᓯᓰᐏᔮᐣ ᓂᑮ ᓂᑕᐏ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑯᓯᐣ ᐅᐦᐱᒣ ᓂᑎᐢᑯᓂᑲᓂᕽ ᐅᐦᒋ᙮ ᑭᐢᑕᐱᓈᓂᕽ ᒫᓇ ᑳ ᑮ ᓂᑕᐏ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑯᓯᔮᐣ, ᐃᑯᑕ Residential School ᐁ ᑮ ᐃᑐᐦᑕᐦᐃᑲᐏᔮᐣ᙮ ᒥᐢᑕᐦᐃ ᒫᓇ ᓂᑮ ᑭᑎᒫᑭᐦᐃᑲᐏᓈᐣ, ᒫᑲ ᓇᒨᔭ ᐁᐘᑯ ᓂᐑ ᐋᑐᑌᐣ, ᓂᐑ ᐋᒋᒫᐘᐠ ᓃᒋ ᑭᑎᒫᑭᓴᐠ, ᓃᒋ ᐅᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑲᓇᐠ᙮When I was a child I went to school away from my reserve. It was at Prince Albert where I went to school, there was a Residential School there where I went. There was a lot of ill treatment, but I’m not going to talk about that, I’m going to tell a story about my fellow pitiful ones, my fellow students. 0000
 pah-piskihc mâna nikî-kitêyimikawinân, pêyakwan kâ-itahtopiponêyâhk ê-isi-kitêyimikawiyâhk. êkwa mâna âtiht kâ-misikiticik nâpêsisak kî-kah-kitimahêwak anihi nâpêsisa nawac kâ-apisîsisiyit. êkwa mîna kî-nâh-nôtinitowak nâpêsisak mahti awîna nawac kâ-maskawisêt.
ᐸᐦ ᐱᐢᑭᐦᐨ ᒫᓇ ᓂᑮ ᑭᑌᔨᒥᑲᐏᓈᐣ, ᐯᔭᑿᐣ ᑳ ᐃᑕᐦᑐᐱᐳᓀᔮᕽ ᐁ ᐃᓯ ᑭᑌᔨᒥᑲᐏᔮᕽ᙮ ᐁᑿ ᒫᓇ ᐋᑎᐦᐟ ᑳ ᒥᓯᑭᑎᒋᐠ ᓈᐯᓯᓴᐠ ᑮ ᑲᐦ ᑭᑎᒪᐦᐁᐘᐠ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᓈᐯᓯᓴ ᓇᐘᐨ ᑳ ᐊᐱᓰᓯᓯᔨᐟ᙮ ᐁᑿ ᒦᓇ ᑮ ᓈᐦ ᓅᑎᓂᑐᐘᐠ ᓈᐯᓯᓴᐠ ᒪᐦᑎ ᐊᐑᓇ ᓇᐘᐨ ᑳ ᒪᐢᑲᐏᓭᐟ᙮We were kept separate from each other; according to age we were kept that way Some boys who were bigger than the rest would be mean on the smaller boys and they would fight amongst themselves to see who was the strongest: this was the way of it. 0000
 êkosi ôma kâ-kî-ati-ihkihk. ana nawac kâ-maskawisêt “First Boss” kî-itâw êkwa mîna kotak “Second Boss” êkwa mîna kotak Third Boss”….niya mâka “Last Boss” ayisk ê-kî-apisîsisiyân êkwa mîna ê-kî-pâwanîsiyân êkospîhk mîna. nama nânitaw, kiyâm, nikî-itêyihtên mâna ayisk mâna nistês ê-kî-nah-nâtamawit.
ᐁᑯᓯ ᐆᒪ ᑳ ᑮ ᐊᑎ ᐃᐦᑭᕽ᙮ ᐊᓇ ᓇᐘᐨ ᑳ ᒪᐢᑲᐏᓭᐟ “First Boss” ᑮ ᐃᑖᐤ ᐁᑿ ᒦᓇ ᑯᑕᐠ “Second Boss” ᐁᑿ ᒦᓇ ᑯᑕᐠ Third Boss” … ᓂᔭ ᒫᑲ “Last Boss” ᐊᔨᐢᐠ ᐁ ᑮ ᐊᐱᓰᓯᓯᔮᐣ ᐁᑿ ᒦᓇ ᐁ ᑮ ᐹᐘᓃᓯᔮᐣ ᓇᒪ ᓈᓂᑕᐤ, ᑭᔮᒼ, ᓂᑮ ᐃᑌᔨᐦᑌᐣ ᒫᓇ ᐊᔨᐢᐠ ᒫᓇ ᓂᐢᑌᐢ ᐁ ᑮ ᓇᐦ ᓈᑕᒪᐏᐟ᙮The one who was the strongest we called “First Boss,” the next was “Second Boss,” and another was “Third Boss.” Me, I was “Last Boss” because I was small and skinny even then. It didn’t matter. No worries, I thought, because I had an older brother to look out for me. 0000
 pêyak awa nâpêsis nikî-pakwâtik, kapê mâna ê-kî-kakwê-nôtinit…mâka kî-kostîw nistêsa. Older brother nikî-paspîn. mâka pêyak askîwin nistês namôya kî-ohci-pê-kiskinwahamâkosiw, ayaya, nikî-kostâcin, nikî-kostâw awa nâpêsis kâ-kî-kakwê-nôtinit. ohcitaw piko ta-kakwê-kaskimak ana First Boss ta-nâtamawit.
ᐯᔭᐠ ᐊᐘ ᓈᐯᓯᐢ ᓂᑮ ᐸᒁᑎᐠ, ᑲᐯ ᒫᓇ ᐁ ᑮ ᑲᑵ ᓅᑎᓂᐟ … ᒫᑲ ᑮ ᑯᐢᑏᐤ ᓂᐢᑌᓴ᙮ Older brother ᓂᑮ ᐸᐢᐲᐣ᙮ ᒫᑲ ᐯᔭᐠ ᐊᐢᑮᐏᐣ ᓂᐢᑌᐢ ᓇᒨᔭ ᑮ ᐅᐦᒋ ᐯ ᑭᐢᑭᓌᐦᐊᒫᑯᓯᐤ, ᐊᔭᔭ, ᓂᑮ ᑯᐢᑖᒋᐣ, ᓂᑮ ᑯᐢᑖᐤ ᐊᐘ ᓈᐯᓯᐢ ᑳ ᑮ ᑲᑵ ᓅᑎᓂᐟ᙮ ᐅᐦᒋᑕᐤ ᐱᑯ ᑕ ᑲᑵ ᑲᐢᑭᒪᐠ ᐊᓇ First Boss ᑕ ᓈᑕᒪᐏᐟ᙮There was this one boy who disliked me, he always tried to fight me. But he was afraid of my older brother so I was safe. But one year my older brother did not come to school. Uh oh, I was afraid of that boy who always tried to fight with me. I would have to try to convince the First Boss to look after me. oooo
 Frank Misti-sikâk nika-isiyihkâtâw ana nâpêsis kapê kâ-kakwê-nôtinit, êkwa Joseph Misti-kiyâsk, nika-itâw ana First Boss.
Frank ᒥᐢᑎ ᓯᑳᐠ ᓂᑲ ᐃᓯᔨᐦᑳᑖᐤ ᐊᓇ ᓈᐯᓯᐢ ᑲᐯ ᑳ ᑲᑵ ᓅᑎᓂᐟ, ᐁᑿ
Joseph ᒥᐢᑎ ᑭᔮᐢᐠ, ᓂᑲ ᐃᑖᐤ ᐊᓇ First Boss᙮
 nikî-ah-awihâw mâna ana First Boss nikwâmikbookma (my comic books), êkwa mîna nikî-kakwê-atoskâtamawâw otatoskêwin. pihtaw mâka kî-âtawêyihtam kahkiyaw kîkway, âhpô mîna anihi nisîwi-mîciwina kâ-kî-itisahamawak tahtwâw kâ-kî-mîcisoyâhk…hay, nikî-ati-wawânêyihtên ayisk kêtahtawê nika-kahcitinik ana Frank Misti-sikâk. tânisi mâka ôma takî-itôtamân?
ᓂᑮ ᐊᐦ ᐊᐏᐦᐋᐤ ᒫᓇ ᐊᓇ First Boss ᓂᒁᒥᐠ ᐳᐠ (my comic books), ᐁᑿ ᒦᓇ ᓂᑮ ᑲᑵ ᐊᑐᐢᑳᑕᒪᐚᐤ ᐅᑕᑐᐢᑫᐏᐣ᙮ ᐱᐦᑕᐤ ᒫᑲ ᑮ ᐋᑕᐍᔨᐦᑕᒼ ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᑮᑿᕀ, ᐋᐦᐴ ᒦᓇ ᐊᓂᐦᐃ ᓂᓰᐏ ᒦᒋᐏᓇ ᑳ ᑮ ᐃᑎᓴᐦᐊᒪᐘᐠ ᑕᐦᑤᐤ ᑳ ᑮ ᒦᒋᓱᔮᕽ … ᐦᐊᕀ, ᓂᑮ ᐊᑎ ᐘᐚᓀᔨᐦᑌᐣ ᐊᔨᐢᐠ ᑫᑕᐦᑕᐍ ᓂᑲ ᑲᐦᒋᑎᓂᐠ ᐊᓇ Frank ᒥᐢᑎ ᓯᑳᐠ. ᑖᓂᓯ ᒫᑲ ᐆᒪ ᑕᑮ ᐃᑑᑕᒫᐣ?I would lend my comic books to First Boss, and I also promised that I would do his work for him. Unfortunately he rejected everything, even that dessert I would send him every time we ate. Hey, I began to be in a fuddled state of mind because eventually Frank Bigskunk would catch me. What then should I do? oooo
 tahto-tipiskâw mâna, ê-mwayî-kawisimoyâhk nikî-asamikawinân mâna pêyak ê-misikitit ‘piskit’ (biscuit). kwayask mâna nikî-wihkipwâw êwako. “Dog Biscuits” mâna nikî-isiyihkâtânânak êwakonik piskitak.
ᑕᐦᑐ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐤ ᒫᓇ, ᐁ ᒷᔩ ᑲᐏᓯᒧᔮᕽ ᓂᑮ ᐊᓴᒥᑲᐏᓈᐣ ᒫᓇ ᐯᔭᐠ ᐁ ᒥᓯᑭᑎᐟ ‘ᐱᐢᑭᐟ’ … ᑿᔭᐢᐠ ᒫᓇ ᓂᑮ ᐏᐦᑭᑇᐤ ᐁᐘᑯ᙮ “Dog biscuits” ᒫᓇ ᓂᑮ ᐃᓯᔨᐦᑳᑖᓈᓇᐠ ᐁᐘᑯᓂᐠ ᐱᐢᑭᑕᐠ᙮Every night, before we went to bed, we were fed one big biscuit. I really liked the taste of that biscuit. We called those biscuits “dog biscuits.” oooo
 haw … pêyakwâw nikî-itisahamawâw Joseph Misti-kiyâsk êwakoni, kî-miywêyihtam! nikî-ati-nipân êkospîhk, nikî-nohtêkatân mâka nikî-cihkêyihtên ayisk êkwâni ê-kaskimak Joseph Misti-kiyâsk ta-nah-nâtamowit ispîhk ana Frank Misti-sikâk kakwê-nôtinici….êkwâni êkospîhk ohci tahto-tipiskâw nitisahamawâw Joseph Misti-kiyâsk niDog-Biscuitima. namôya awasimê nikî-kostâw Frank Misti-sikâk.
ᐦᐊᐤ … ᐯᔭᒁᐤ ᓂᑮ ᐃᑎᓴᐦᐊᒪᐚᐤ Joseph ᒥᐢᑎ ᑭᔮᐢᐠ ᐁᐘᑯᓂ, ᑮ ᒥᔰᔨᐦᑕᒼ! ᓂ ᑮ ᐊᑎ ᓂᐹᐣ ᐁᐢᑯᐢᐲᕽ, ᓂᑮ ᓄᐦᑌᑲᑖᐣ ᒫᑲ ᓂᑮ ᒋᐦᑫᔨᐦᑌᐣ ᐊᔨᐢᐠ ᐁᒁᓂ ᐁ ᑲᐢᑭᒪᐠ Joseph ᒥᐢᑎ ᑭᔮᐢᐠ ᑕ ᓇᐦ ᓈᑕᒧᐏᐟ ᐃᐢᐲᕽ ᐊᓇ Frank ᒥᐢᑎ ᓯᑳᐠ ᑲᑵ ᓅᑎᓂᒋ … ᐁᒁᓂ ᐁᑯᐢᐲᕽ ᐅᐦᒋ ᑕᐦᑐ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐤ ᓂᑎᓴᐦᐊᒪᐚᐤ Joseph ᒥᐢᑎ ᑭᔮᐢᐠ ᓂdog ᐱᐢᑭᑎᒪ᙮ ᓇᒨᔭ ᐊᐘᓯᒣ ᓂᑮ ᑯᐢᑖᐤ Frank ᒥᐢᑎ ᓯᑳᐠ᙮Okay, once I sent Joseph Biggull that biscuit, he liked that! I began to sleep then, hungry but happy because I was successful convincing Joseph Biggull to look out for me when that Frank Bigskunk tried to fight me. There, from then on, every night I sent my dog biscuit to Joseph Biggull. I was no longer scared of Frank Bigskunk. oooo
 kinwêsîs êkosi nikî-itôtên.
ᑭᓊᓰᐢ ᐁᑯᓯ ᓂᑮ ᐃᑑᑌᐣ᙮I did that for a while. oooo
 tahto nikotwâso-kîsikâw mâna nikî-kanawâpahtênân cikâstêpayihcikana. êkwa mâna kâ-kîsi-kanawâpahtamâhk êwakoni nikî-mêtawânân … êwakoni cikâstêpayihcikan ê-nanâspitâtamâhk. êkosi mâna nikî-isi-mêtawânân Pirates, Cowboys and Indians …kahkiyaw kîkway…nikî-nanâspitâtênân. pêyakwâw nikî-kanawâwahtênân “The Great Escape”.
ᑕᐦᑐ ᓂᑯᑤᓱ ᑮᓯᑳᐤ ᒫᓇ ᓂᑮ ᑲᓇᐚᐸᐦᑌᓈᐣ ᒋᑳᐢᑌᐸᔨᐦᒋᑲ᙮ ᐁᑿ ᒫᓇ ᑳ ᑮᓯ ᑲᓇᐚᐸᐦᑕᒫᕽ ᐁᐘᑯᓂ ᓂᑮ ᒣᑕᐚᓈᐣ … ᐁᐘᑯᓂ ᒋᑳᐢᑌᐸᔨᐦᒋᑲᓇ ᐁ ᓇᓈᐢᐱᑖᑕᒫᕽ᙮ ᐁᑯᓯ ᒫᓇ ᓂᑮ ᐃᓯ ᒣᑕᐚᓈᐣ Pirates, Cowboys and Indians … ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᑮᑿᕀ … ᓂᑮ ᓇᓈᐢᐱᑖᑌᓈᐣ᙮ ᐯᔭᒁᐤ ᓂᑮ ᑲᓇᐚᐘᐦᑌᓈᐣ “The Great Escape”᙮Every Saturday we watched a movie and when we finished watching, we would role play those movies, copying the movie that way. Pirates, Cowboys and Indians: everything. We copied all. Once we saw “The Great Escape.” oooo
 ayaya! êkospîhk kâ-tipiskâk, kinwêsîs aspin ohci kâ-kî-ati-kawisimoyâhk nipihtawâwak nâpêsisak ê-matwê-wayawîyahtawêcik wâsênikanihk ohci. kêtahtawê Joseph Misti-kiyâsk kâ-pê-nâsit.
ᐊᔭᔭ! ᐁᑯᐢᐲᕽ ᑳ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐠ, ᑭᓊᓰᐢ ᐊᐢᐱᐣ ᐅᐦᒋ ᑳ ᑮ ᐊᑎ ᑲᐏᓯᒧᔮᕽ ᓂᐱᐦᑕᐚᐘᐠ ᓈᐯᓯᓴᐠ ᐁ ᒪᑘ ᐘᔭᐑᔭᐦᑕᐍᒋᐠ ᐚᓭᓂᑲᓂᕽ ᐅᐦᒋ᙮ ᑫᑕᐦᑕᐍ Joseph ᒥᐢᑎ ᑭᔮᐢᐠ ᑳ ᐯ ᓈᓯᐟ᙮Uh oh! That night, a little after we went to bed, I heard boys climbing out the window. All of a sudden Joseph Big-Gull came to get me. oooo
 “haw, âstam! wîcêwinân!” nititik.
“ᐦᐊᐤ, ᐋᐢᑕᒼ! ᐑᒉᐏᓈᐣ!” ᓂᑎᑎᐠ᙮“Okay, come! Come with us!” he says to me. oooo
 “namôya-katâc, osâm nohtâwiy kâwi nika-pê-itisahok” nititâw. niwâpahtên kîkway ê-miciminahk, maskimocis êsa.
“ᓇᒨᔭ ᑲᑖᐨ, ᐅᓵᒼ ᓄᐦᑖᐏᕀ ᑳᐏ ᓂᑲ ᐯ ᐃᑎᓴᐦᐅᐠ!” ᓂᑎᑖᐤ᙮ ᓂᐚᐸᐦᑌᐣ ᑮᑿᕀ, ᐁ ᒥᒋᒥᓇᕽ, ᒪᐢᑭᒧᒋᐢ ᐁᓴ᙮“Not even, my father will only send me back,” I say to him. I see that he is holding something, a small bag apparently. oooo
 “kîkway anima?” nititâw, ê-itwahamak omaskimocis nitôn ohci.
“ᑮᑿᕀ ᐊᓂᒪ?” ᓂᑎᑖᐤ, ᐁ ᐃᑢᐦᐊᒪᐠ ᐅᒪᐢᑭᒧᒋᐢ ᓂᑑᐣ ᐅᐦᒋ᙮“What is that?” I say to him, pointing to his bag. oooo
 “ninîmâwin ôma,” itwîw, “Dog Biscuits!” êkwâni, aspin kâ-wayawîyahtawêt wâsênikanihk.
“ᓂᓃᒫᐏᐣ ᐆᒪ, ” ᐃᑜᐤ, “dog biscuits!” ᐁᒁᓂ, ᐊᐢᐱᐣ ᑳ ᐘᔭᐑᔭᐦᑕᐍᐟ ᐚᓭᓂᑲᓂᕽ᙮“This is my lunch,” he says, “Dog biscuits!” Then he was off, out the window. oooo
 êkwâni iskwâyâc ê-kî-wâpamak. kahkiyaw aniki nâpêsisak kâ-kî-tapasêcik kâwi kî-pê-itohtahâwak, mâka namôya Joseph Misti-kiyâsk.
ᐁᒁᓂ ᐃᐢᒁᔮᐨ ᐁ ᑮ ᐚᐸᒪᐠ᙮ ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᐊᓂᑭ ᓈᐯᓯᓴᐠ ᑳ ᑮ ᑕᐸᓭᒋᐠ ᑳᐏ ᑮ ᐯ ᐃᑐᐦᑕᐦᐋᐘᐠ ᒫᑲ ᓇᒨᔭ Joseph ᒥᐢᑎ ᑭᔮᐢᐠ᙮That’s the last I ever saw of him. All the boys got brought back, but not Joseph Biggull. oooo
 êkospîhk kâ-tipiskâk namôya nikî-ohci-nipân….nikî-kostâw Frank Misti-sikâk.
ᐁᑯᐢᐲᕽ ᑳ ᑎᐱᐢᑳᐠ ᓇᒨᔭ ᓂᑮ ᐅᐦᒋ ᓂᐹᐣ … ᓂᑮ ᑯᐢᑖᐤ Frank ᒥᐢᑎ ᓯᑳᐠ᙮That night I did not sleep. I was afraid of Frank Bigskunk.