Sharing Our Stories: Language/Owén:na

·2 min read

When we were younger, the old people spoke Kanien’kéha, and that’s all you heard. But they didn’t teach it to the kids. Even my father’s generation, it’s a mixture. Some of them did, and some of them didn’t. My grandparents only spoke Mohawk in the house.

I asked my aunties one time - how come you and my mother don’t speak Kanien’kéha? She said, well, Bubba, he was in residential school, and he didn’t want his kids to get hit for speaking our language, so they didn’t teach their kids to speak the language.

That’s one of the effects of residential school, you see. That becomes multigenerational. So that’s what was going on. I was wondering, how come they spoke to each other but they didn’t speak to the children? Because of that. That’s one of the main reasons.

It’s a great feeling to see the resurgence. There’s a lot of people working really, really hard to keep it and revive it and so on, but really old first-language speakers, there are getting to be fewer and fewer of them. But I do believe that with all the effort that they’ve been making, there’s a lot of positivity out of it.

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Ká:ron shitionkwaién:tahkwe’, thononkwe’tá:ien rontatíhehkwe’ ne Kanien’kéha, tánon’ thok

nesathón:te’ne’. Nek tsi iah tehshakotirihonnién:ni ne ratiksa’okòn:’a. Akwé:kon ne rake’níha tsi ní:tsi rotenhniseraténionhkwe’, tekaiéhston ki’. Ótia’ke wahonwatirihónnien’, nok ótia’ke iahten. Ionkhsótha Kanien’kéha khók iatatíhehkwe’ kanónhskon.

Énska se’ ken wa’kheri’wanón:tonhse’ aktenthokòn:’a– oh nontié:ren tsi í:se nok ake’nisténha iah tesewatá:ti ne Kanien’kéha? Wa’ì:ron’, nikén:ts, Bubba, tsi iontientáhkhwa’ tsi ionterihwaienstáhkhwa’ roterihwaienstahnónhne’, nok iah tehawé:ron ahonwatihwà:’eke’ ne shakoien’okòn:’a tsi rontá:ti onkwawén:na, né: ká:ti’ iah tehonwatirihonién:ni

ronwatiien’okòn:’a ahontá:ti’ ne owén:na.

Né: ki’ ne énska tsi nahò:ten’ wa’onkwakarónnia’te’ ne tsi iontientáhkhwa’ tsi

ionterihwaienstáhkhwa’. Tsi wa’kahwatsiratátie’ ni’ nè:’e enhonó:ra’ne’. Tho káti’

niiawen’enhátiene’. Wakerihwaié:waskwe’, oh nontié:ren tsi na’tehontátere tehotihthá:rehkwe’ nok iah tehonwatiwennarà:’on ne ratiksa’okòn:’a? Né: thí: tiorì:wa.

Akwáh iotshennónnia’t akatkáhtho’ tsi nè:’e tontá:we’. É:so iá:kon kwahtokèn:’en tsi iakoió’te’ akawennaién:take’ nok aonsaiakónhnhete’, nek tsi ne kwah thotí:ien iehatiwennaié:ri, taioterakwenhátie’ ki’ tsi nihá:ti. Nek ki’ tsi tewakehtáhkwen tsi niió:re tsi ronatatia’takéhnhen enioiáneren’ne’ se’.

Storyteller: Stephen Silverbear McComber, Writer: Marcus Bankuti, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Translator: Sahawisó:ko’ Arquette, The Eastern Door