“This project is a personal project for Allan Adam and Cathy Wheaton. Allan Adam is a fluent Dene speaker, interpreter/translator and instructor originally from Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation. Cathy Wheaton is Woodlands Cree from La Ronge Indian Band but wishes to become a fluent speaker like most of her family.” The vision of this project is “To enable individuals, families, organizations and communities to increase speaking ability of First Nation languages in Saskatchewan.”
The Lac La Ronge Indian Band Curriculum Resource Unit offers numerous resources for not only learners of Plains Cree (Y dialect), but also for those learning Woodland Cree (TH dialect), Swampy Cree (N dialect), and Dene. These resources include posters, interactive online games for learning and practicing syllabics and vocabulary, and audio recordings of stories and songs.
“To help promote the Cree language, its literacy, and the use of consistent orthographies, I translate non-Cree texts into various dialects of Cree. To help promote the culture, I translate Cree stories into English. My aim is to make non-Cree texts available to Cree-speakers and Cree texts available to English speakers. Occasionally, I also write original stories in Cree and also post some information about the language and its grammar, lexicon, dialects, and various orthographies. ᑲᒫ ᒥᔯᔨᐦᑕᒣᒄ! –Kevin Brousseau”
This Facebook group is a great place to connect with others who are excited about the Cree language, and who are in learning more and sharing what they already know. Users often post questions about phrases they have heard in Cree, or request English-to-Cree translations, and it seems that there are always at least a few people who are happy to provide clarification.
MBC Radio broadcasts radio programs in Cree most weekday afternoons. Listening in provides a great opportunity to become more familiar with how the language sounds (although their particular Cree language programs may be more interesting to adult learners than children).
Ramona Washburn maintains an up-to-date Pinterest page on Cree language resources
Cree Language Classes
Les Skinner’s Cree language classes (Edmonton, Alberta)
Les leads free Cree classes at the Canadian Native Friendship Centre in Edmonton on Monday nights from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Contact Les for more details.
Conversational Cree Group (Edmonton, Alberta)
The Conversational Cree Group (CCGs) meets at the Ben Calf Robe Society’s office (use the westernmost door on the south side) on Saturdays. A potluck lunch begins at noon, and class goes until 2 or 2:30. Contact Andy for more info. The classes are not instructor-led; instead, Cree language-learners and fluent speakers alike share their knowledge of the language through collaborative and non-hierarchical practices.
Reuben Quinn teaches classes at the Centre for Race and Culture using the “star chart” (nehiyo cahkipeyihkanah). These classes cost $50 for a term, which runs two evenings a week for 19 weeks. This cost and the time commitment are an amazing value, and Reuben’s classes are highly recommended. The next term runs March 31 to August 6, 2014, on Monday and Wednesday nights from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at St. Alphonsus School (11624 81 Street) in Edmonton. Reuben’s contact info can be found on the CRC website, linked above.
CILLDI offers summer courses through the University of Alberta on documenting and teaching Indigenous languages, and promoting literacy in heritage languages. Of particular interest to visitors of this site may be the beginner Cree immersion classes for adults (currently listed as NS 103 and NS 104). These courses are not free, but students may be eligible for bursaries to cover the cost of tuition and accommodation.