Mohawk/Kanien’kéha word of the week

This week’s word is ocean = kanientara’kehkó:wa. I have chosen this word in part because I could not find the Mohawk word for whale. If you know it, please share!

Minke whale in the distance - Fundy

Minke whale in the distance – Bay of Fundy

on the Elsie Menola

The Elsie Menola whale watching yacht.

I have just returned from spending time on Grand Manan Island, which is in the Bay of Fundy in the Atlantic Ocean. While there I saw two different species of whales – the minke whale, and the finback. I also experienced incredible tides and walked several beaches, including one that has a fresh water stream that runs into the ocean. We saw seals, a harbour porpoise, shearwaters, black winged gulls, puffins and many other species of birds. While on the Elsie Menola whale watching yacht, we stopped three times to remove helium balloons from the ocean waters. They float out to sea and then land on the surface of the sea, where they sit, looking like nothing so much as jelly fish. Whales will sometimes eat them and die. Paul Watson, founder and captain of the Sea Shepherd also defends whales (a lot more aggressively than the Elsie Menola). Two other boats used by Watson’s organization, the Farley Mowat and Robert Hunter, have been granted a registry and flag by the Iroquois Confederacy, after the Canadian government revoked the Canadian registry of the Farley Mowat at the demand of the Japanese government. I suppose I can’t find the world for “whale” because Mohawks don’t usually live near the ocean! But the Haudensaunee are helping to defend whales in their own way. Anyway, that’s the word of the week. Hope your summer is going well.

Mohawk/Kanien’kéha word of the week

This week’s Mohawk/Kanien’kéha word of the week is ken’niiohontésha – strawberries.  We are approaching strawberry season. I wonder if you have ever had strawberry juice? I remember drinking it at powwows and at events at Concordia University, often with a side of fry bread. It is quite good with lots of sugar, all blended up. I understand that the Kanien’kehá:ka hold strawberry festivals in June in some communities. Sounds great to me!

Here is an old poem that I wrote many years ago. It’s inspired by attending the Kanehsatake powwow.

Traditional

No stars tonight, but a sacred fire in the woods and moonlight in the clouds. Oomkwaihoomwai means real human beings, the way we all were once, before we lost the sounds of the fiddle and the drum when they disappeared inside a machine. Tonight we sit in a clearing, the strawberry season moon lighting our path, shadows of friends dancing in a circle round the arbour, as we once danced to celebrate the holidays, with a fiddle finding the tune, guiding our merry feet through the wedding garden of long ago. We sang songs of the old country, of ships lost at Grosse Isle, of famine that took our ancestors. The drum and the fiddle and the deep living sound of a finger-strummed guitar, here and now in the pow wow round where the Longhouse keeps the fire, our feet are guided by the drum in a dance that the fiddle led long ago; we make a path in the meadow garden of this new, old country.

 

Mohawk/ Kanien’kéha word of the week

This week’s word is friends, as in “these are my friends”: Onkwatén:ro ne’ kí:ken

I had a nice weekend in Montreal visiting with friends, sitting on the patio of the Burgundy Lion Pub.  Saw a Shakespeare play that was broadcast live out of London. Feel asleep in the second half, unfortunately.

Not sure what that says about the play, but I am an early riser by nature, and the play was over 3 hours long – King Lear.

I can’t find an online reference to just the word “friend,” so if you know it, please share with me.

 

Mohawk/Kanien’kéha word of the week

Tree roots - karonta’shón:’a ohté:ram

http://www.firstvoices.com/en/Kanienkeha-Mohawk-EN/word/d71d4009d469ecd8/tree+roots

This week, I wanted to do the word “perseverance,” since I know that many friends and family have been struggling with physical and emotional challenges over the past six months. The winter was hard on everyone – my Dad hurt his knee, my Sensei shattered his elbow, I got sick for 5 weeks, aImagenother friend broke his foot, still another experienced depression.

But we have all persevered, and now the land is green, if not as sunny as I would like. Like the roots of trees, we have deep connections between us and in this beautiful, if broken world. So this week’s words are “tree roots” – karonta’shón:’a ohté:ra.

The word karonta’shón:’a ohté:ram also makes me think of the Great Tree of Peace, where, under its roots, lie all the weapons that were buried when peace was made.

So Creator sent a Peacemaker with a message to be righteous and just, and make a good future for our children seven generations to come. He called all warring people together and told them as long as there was killing there would be no peace of mind. There must be a concerted effort by humans for peace to prevail. Through logic, reasoning and spiritual means, he inspired the warriors to bury their weapons and planted atop a sacred Tree of Peace. – The Great Law of Peace

If you know how to say “Tree of Peace” in Kanien’kéha, please let me know.  I was not able to find a translation for this phrase. And does anyone know if the expression “bury the hatchet” comes from the Great Law?

 

Mohawk/Kanien’kéha word of the week

This week’s Mohawk/ Kanien’kéha word of the week is bicycle – tekeni iokahkwen’tón:ton. I chose this word since the weather is fine, and many of us have been out riding on our tekeni iokahkwen’tón:ton. My friend Dan is an avid cyclist and I know he has been riding his bike all over Kanehsatake and Kanien’kehá:ka territory in general. Given how big that territory is, he must be pretty fit! 

Bicycle - tekeni iokahkwen’tón:ton

http://www.firstvoices.com/en/Kanienkeha-Mohawk-EN/word/31d8d5bf6f195719/bicycle

Mohawk/ Kanien’kéha word of the week

This week’s word is “rain” – iokennó:ron.
http://www.firstvoices.com/en/Kanienkeha-Mohawk-EN/word/94c17a671025c555/raining

I picked this word because it is going to rain and rain for most of the upcoming week, and we are all in need of some spring green and flowers after the long winter. Also, my workmate Carmen, who plans on raising some kitkit (chickens), might like some rain to grow grass and encourage bugs and worms for his kitkit to eat. 

Kitkit was last week’s word of the week. 

At least we can be grateful it’s not raining chickens.