Calgary

Indigenous language centre opens with launch of children's books written in Treaty 7 languages

Calgary's Central Library officially opened its Indigenous Languages Resource Centre on Saturday, an occasion that was marked by the addition of 12 new books into the library's permanent collection.

12 new titles are being added to the Calgary Public Library's permanent collection

Trent Fox signs a copy of his book Watâga Wîyâ A’s, Â’s and B’s ze yuthpe îkiyabich (Grizzly Bear Woman Teaches the A’s, Â’s & B’s). (Vincent Bonnay/Radio-Canada)

Calgary's Central Library officially opened its Indigenous Languages Resource Centre on Saturday, an occasion that was marked by the addition of 12 new books into the library's permanent collection.

The children's books were all written by Treaty 7 writers in their traditional languages.

"In a city of a million-plus people … it's really important that our children are able to come to the library and read their own stories in their own language and see themselves," said Marlene Yellow Horn, a Blackfoot educator and author of Omahkitapiksi Okakinikiiwa (Teachings from our Elders).

Alayna Manyguns, Indigenous service design lead for the Calgary Public Library, said the idea came out of a family storytime session.

"I was looking for books in Stoney, Tsuut'ina and Blackfoot and there was no children's books, so I said, 'We're going to write children's books,'" she said.

Performers listen during the official opening of the Calgary library's Indigenous language centre. (Vincent Bonnay/Radio-Canada)

The authors, who crafted their books as part of an Indigenous writers' workshop, range in age from 18-year-old Payne Manyguns, to 78-year-old Valentina Fox.

Manyguns said he hopes his book will give Blackfoot children a better sense of their identity.

"There's a lot of stuff in our language that can't really be translated into English, so when we know our language we have a better understanding  of who we are and we understand the land better," he said.

The books will be available at several community libraries starting next month. 

Here's a list of the new titles:

Niitsippooktsistaanitsi (My Braids), by Matoomiikamoosaaki (First Steals Woman), Latasha Calf Robe

Napi kii Imitaa (Napi and the Dogs), by Natoyi'sokasiim, Tim Fox

Îyâ Sa Wîyâ Wahogu-kiybi Cha (Red Mountain Woman Receives a Teaching), by Îyâ Sa Wîyâ (Red Mountain Woman), Tina Fox

Watâga Wîyâ A's, Â's and B's ze yuthpe îkiyabich (Grizzly Bear Woman Teaches the A's, Â's & B's), by Tatâga Thkan Wagichi (Dancing White Buffalo), Trent Fox

A'pistotooki kii Ihkitsik Kaawa'pomaahkaa (Creator and the Seven Animals, why are we here?), by Crystal Many Fingers

Siksikawa Otaawahsinnowa (Where the Blackfoot People Live), by Miikotsiminii (Red Wing), Payne Many Guns

Aakomimmihtanii (Love), by Mai'stoistowaakii (Crow Pretty Woman), Sheena Potts

Âba Wathtech Înâ Mâkoche (It is a Good Day, Mother Earth), by Sheri Shotclose (Singing Across the Water)

Nadudiyiga Suh Sinajuna (Morning Star's Family), by DerRic Starlight

Îethkaîhâ Yawabi (Counting in Stoney), by Îyarhe Wiyapta (Shining Mountains), Natasha Wesley

Ne Îethka Makochî Chach (This is Our Home), by Mînî Thnî (Cold Water), Trudy Wesley

Omahkitapiksi Okakinikiiwa (Teachings from our Elders), by Iikiinayookaa, Marlene Yellow Horn

With files from Vincent Bonnay, Terri Trembath

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