kîspin kisâkihin / If you love me…

“If you love me, come kiss me right away!”

A big smooch to Arok Wolvengrey for posting the text of this well-loved classic on Facebook – with line-by-line translation. I know that it’s cute and people always laugh, but with Arok’s translation, I finally get the punchline, built from laughter and genuine Cree humility.

Sung here by Nap Gardiner; also recorded by Dolores Sand on her “Classics in Cree” CD. Dolores credits the translation to Winston Wuttunee and Cree language teachers at the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre. Seems to me I’ve also hummed along with Winston Wuttunee singing this one at Winnipeg’s Métis Club, where jiggers still fill the dance floor for tunes like this on a Friday night.

kîspin kisâkihin (tune: Heel and Toe Polka)

ôma nikamowinis
kâ-pâhpihk ohci.
nâpêsis ê-wâpamit
iskwêsisa ê-ocêmât.
“this (is a) little song”
“for laughter”
“a boy sees me”
“as he kisses a girl”
kîspin kisâkihin
sêmak pê-ocêmin;
kîspin kipakwâsin
sêmâk ka-nakasin.
“if you love me”
“come kiss me right now”
“if you hate me”
“you will leave me right now”
ha, ha, ha, môcikan
omis îsi ka-nikamoyahk,
kâ-miyawâtamahk ôma
kipimâtisiwininaw.
“hahaha, it’s fun”
“for us to sing like this”
“when we celebrate”
“our life”
kîspin kisâkihin
sêmak pê-ocêmin;
kîspin kipakwâsin
sêmâk ka-nakasin.
“if you love me”
“come kiss me right now”
“if you hate me”
“you will leave me right now”
otênâhk itohtêtâk
ka-nitawi-môcikihtânaw.
sîwâpoy ka-minihkwânaw,
maskihkîsa ka-mîcinaw.
“let’s go to town”
“we will go have fun”
“we will drink pop”
“we will eat candies”
kîspin kisâkihin
sêmak pê-ocêmin;
kîspin kipakwâsin
sêmâk ka-nakasin.
“if you love me”
“come kiss me right now”
“if you hate me”
“you will leave me right now”
Edmonton ê-ohtohtêyân,
sêhkêpayîs ê-pôsiyân,
mistikimâw ê-itêyimisoyân,
êkosi ôma ê-otihkomiyân.
“I’m coming from Edmonton”
“riding in a car”
“thinking of myself like a boss”
“that’s how I got lice”

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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