Friday, 15 January 2010

First Nations/Aboriginal Fridays - Beth Cuthand & Mary Longman

Today I read the story of 'The Little Duck - Sikihpsis' by Beth Cuthand. She is a Cree writer who grew up in both Alberta and Saskatchewan.

This is the story of a lonely, little mud duck who wants some friends. He lives near a village of Cree and he greatly admires them and wants to be one of them. When the villagers are preparing for a dance, the duck dresses himself as finely as a duck can and went to the village. They are polite to him and direct him into the area of the dance, but neither the duck nor the people understand each other as they speak different languages. Finally the little duck realizes that he will never be a Cree and he goes back to his swamp. After he removes all his fancy dress he hears the calls of other mud ducks and realizes that he can understand them.

The text of the story is written in both English and Cree (both in English lettering and in the Cree alphabet). The second picture shows the Cree translation of the story, and the third picture shows the mud duck after he had finished dressing himself for the party. The Cree translation is by Stan Cuthand. The illustrations are by Mary Longman Aski-Piyesiwiskwew.

You can learn more about Beth Cuthand at the Internet Public Library, Native American Authors.
Mary Longman Aski-Piyesiwiskwew - Saulteaux is a member of the Gordon Band near Punnicy, Saskatchewan.
There is a really good podcast with Mary at the Mendel Art Gallery website titled 'Whose History? Reconstructing Indigenous & Settler Pasts on the Canadian Plains'
ArtSask features a sculpture or hers titled 'Ancestors Rising'


bermudaonion said...

Wow, I've never seen the Cree alphabet. That cover is gorgeous!

Teddy Rose said...

It sounds like a cute story.