Skip to main content

Distributed for Athabasca University Press



Through poems that move between the two languages, McIlwraith explores the beauty of the intersection between nêhiyawêwin, the Plains Cree language, and English, âkayâsîmowin. Written to honour her father's facility in nêhiyawêwin and her mother's beauty and generosity as an inheritor of Cree, Ojibwe, Scottish, and English, kiyâm articulates a powerful yearning for family, history, peace, and love.

Table of Contents

kîkwaya kâ-masinahikâtêki ôta contents

Foreword Jenna Butler ix

The Sounds of Plains Cree: A Guide to Pronunciation xi

Family Poems

The Road to Writer’s Block (A Poem to Myself) 5

Trademark Translation 12

paskwâhk | On the Prairie 13

kiya kâ-pakaski-nîmihitoyan  | You Who Dance So Brightly 15

tawâw | There Is Room, Always Room for One More 17

Perfect Not Perfect 20

tawastêw | The Passage Is Safe 21

pahkwêsikan | Bread 23

ê-wîtisânîhitoyâhk asici pîkiskwêwin | Language Family 28

ê-wîtisânîhitoyâhk êkwa ê-pêyâhtakowêyâhk | Relative Clause 33

Critical Race Theory at Canadian Tire 39

Reclamation Poems

Cree Lessons 43

tânisi ka-isi-nihtâ-âhpinihkêyan | How to Tan a Hide 45

aniki nîso nâpêwak kâ-pîkiskwêcik | Two Men Talking 49

nohtâwiy opîkiskwêwin | Father Tongue 52

ninitâhtâmon kititwêwiniwâwa | I Borrow Your Words 58

aniki nîso nâpêwak kâ-masinahikêcik | Two Men Writing 61

sâpohtawân | Ghost Dance 62

ê-kî-pîcicîyâhk | We Danced Round Dance 66

A Few Ideas from amiskwacî-wâskahikanihk

The Young Linguist 73

tânisi ka-isi-nihtâ-pimîhkêyan | How to Make Pemmican 74

History Poems

maskihkiy maskwa iskwêw ôma wiya ohci | For Medicine Bear Woman 87

mistahi-maskwa 91

Take This Rope and Thi

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press