nehiyaw cahkipewasinahikewina: origin debates, forms, and functions of nehiyawak (Cree) syllabic writing

Friends of Fisher Event

Location: Maclean Hunter Room, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
Time: 6pm

The origins of chakipêhikêwina (syllabics) are still debated - did the Reverend James Evans invent Cree syllabics in 1840 or did Evans appropriate it? Was Mêstanaskôwêw (Calling Badger) gifted the spirit language from the Spirit World or was an elaborate mystical story created to claim ownership? 

Studying the origin stories of syllabics, as well as studying the form - the shapes, and how all the glyphs flow and interrelate - and, how Cree people used their written words, promise deeper insights into the worldviews and rationales that ground these origin stories.

Dr. Winona Wheeler is a member of the Fisher River Cree Nation in Treaty 5 territory while her family comes from George Gordon First Nation in Treaty 4 territory. A lifelong student of Indigenous knowledge, oral history, anti-colonial theory, and critical Indigenous Studies, Winona has been teaching and publishing in Indigenous Studies since 1988. Most recently she co-wrote Indigenous Oral History Manual (2023) and is currently doing Treaty Rights research. She is a mother and grandmother, and lives on a small ranch with her cats, dogs, and horses.