The Cree word for …
November 08th, 2021
UBC assistant professor, Dallas Hunt’s debut collection of poetry, Creeland (Nightwood $18.95) plunges readers into Indigenous lifeworlds with commonplace everyday notions of ‘home’ as well as references to the ongoing impact of colonial destruction and violence on Indigenous peoples in Canada. In Cree Dictionary, Hunt writes “the translation for joy/ in Cree is a fried bologna sandwich” and “the Cree word for white man is unpaid child support.” Attachment to the natural world is clear in the sublime line: “the Cree word for constellation/ is a saskatoon berry bush in summertime.” Hunt ends on a note of hope: “the Cree word for poetry is your four-year-old/ niece’s cracked lips spilling out/ broken syllables of nêhiyawêwin between/ the gaps in her teeth.”
The book’s name was inspired by the Cree Land Mini Mart in Regina. “If you’re in the area, please do fill up there,” writes Hunt in the acknowledgement pages at the back of the book.
Dallas Hunt is Cree and a member of Wapsewsipi (Swan River First Nation) in Northern Alberta. His first published title was the children’s picture book Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock (Highwater Press, 2018) with illustrations by Amanda Strong.
Key to all Dallas Hunt’s writing is that it is steeped in the Cree language. He uses many Cree words in Creeland and includes a glossary. Awâsis uses Cree words for different animals that the protagonist encounters and the ingredients for the world-famous bannock. 9780889713925
On November 18, 4 – 5:30 pm, Dallas Hunt will be reading from Creeland at UBC Reads Sustainability, a live webinar with a question & answer session. Register here.
Below, a publicity image for Hunt’s first book.
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