I picked up a few non-fiction ones and also a picture book called Owls See Clearly at Night: A Michif Alphabet (Simply Read Books, 2010) by Julie Flett. Flett is a Canadian Metis author and illustrator and has drawn from her cultural background to create this book, featuring words and phrases from Michif, a language spoken by the Metis people. The images are simple yet evocative, featuring wildlife, the natural world, and cultural traditions of the Metis.
The snowy owl picture was my son’s favourite. I love that though it is not a story book, the pictures were enough to interest him, and invoke a sense of wonder. He also liked to practice saying both the English and Michif words…perhaps a linguist in the making?
Here’s a couple more photos of some visiting Snowy Owls. They usually live in the Arctic tundra, but every now and then pop down for a visit in Bounday Bay…low lemming supply up north, apparently.
As some of you know, I am very passionate about bringing stories to people in their heart language.
It would be so good to have more books in our school libraries celebrating the history, culture, and art of Canada’s first nations people, but especially in their respective languages.Recently, author Robert Munsch’s book, Just One Goal, was translated into Inuktitut, a language spoken by Inuit in Canada. You can read more about that here.
As Canada moves toward reconciliation with aboriginal people, and emerges from a past which includes the forbidding of indigenous languages, I hope to see more efforts like this which serve to preserve, perpetuate, and sustain these endangered languages. Like the snowy owls, they are worth saving, and a part of our heritage as well.