Who said a black man in the Illuminati?
Last time I checked, that was the biggest racist party
Last time I checked, we was racing with Marcus Garvey
On the freeway to Africa ’til I wreck my Audi
And I want everybody to view my autopsy
So you can see exactly where the government had shot me
No conspiracy, my fate is inevitable
They play musical chairs once I’m on that pedestal
—Kendrick Lamar, Hiiipower
I’m very proud to announce that my father, Bill Jancewicz, had a website. Or, a journal, if you prefer. Or a blog, if you’re a nerd.
In any case, I designed it for him for Christmas, and now that’s he’s been using it regularly, I thought I’d announce it. He uses it to post updates on the Wycliffe translation & missionary work, as well as what’s going on with the family.
Tamika encouraged me to speak more Naskapi to Nya the other day, and suddenly I had infinitely more respect for the displaced Naskapi parents out there trying to teach their kids their native tongue.
Growing up there were a few kids at school who couldn’t speak Naskapi as well as I could, and I always thought this was kind of strange. Most often, the kid either grew up part of the time down south, away from the reservation, or had only one Naskapi parent (the other being Montagnais or European-Canadian).
These kids often struggled with Naskapi, and now it makes more sense. It’s a tiny language, with only 1000 or so speaking it. So, when thrust in competition with another more wide-spread language (Montagnais is huge, for example), the smaller language is harder to keep up.
So today, I tried talking to Nya in Naskapi.
And lo and behold, it ain’t easy. It felt extremely unnatural at first, I had to fight to remember phrases and words that were relevant.
I honestly have trouble talking to babies period. It seems a little weird, i’m more the type to just sit and work on something, listening to music.
Eventually, though, the teacher in me kicked in, and I began describing what I was doing to Nya. Even in Naskapi. The morning ritual of feeding her Cheerios and a bottle became “Chi wi michuuna cheerios, a?” (do you want to eat cheerios?) and “Chi wi min a?” (would you like to drink?). One of the words I can’t remember is milk. I’ll have to look it up online in the dictionary later.
I recently discovered Minnie Uniam passed away. She was a lady I called Noohoom, “grandmother”. I was shocked when I found out. We went to visit her just this summer. The first time we visited, she got to sit with Nya. Minnie joked that Nya was a Naskapi baby, because her skin colour is so similar.
We were out walking the next day, and Minnie sent out word for us to stop by. We did, and she surprised us with tiny moccasins for Nya (you can see them in Tamika’s hands)! Minnie stayed up all night making them for us, because she knew we were leaving the next day.
She and her late husband were some of the dearest friends of ours when we lived on the reservation. I will never forget her…