Cree Dictionary

January 20, 2022

This poem by 2021 Wall Scholar Dallas Hunt is included in his collection “Creeland” (Nightwood Editions, 2020).


Listen to the poem read by Dallas Hunt.


Cree Dictionary by Dallas Hunt


the translation for joy

in Cree is a fried bologna sandwich

the translation for bittersweet in Cree

looks like a cows and plows payment

eight decades too late

the translation for patience

in Cree is an auntie looking after four of her own children

and two of her sister’s

the translation for evil

in Cree is the act of not calling

your mother on a Sunday


the translation for expedition

in Cree is travelling twenty minutes

to the only gas station in Faust, Alberta

to buy a Hygaard pizza sub

the translation for success in Cree

is executing the perfect frog splash

on your younger brother

the Cree word for white man is unpaid child support

the translation for conflicted in Cree

is your deep, steadfast love

for country superstar

Dwight Yoakam (or, depending on

the regional dialect,

George Jones, Patsy Cline

or Blue Rodeo)


the Cree word for constellation

is a saskatoon berry bush in summertime

the translation for policeman


in Cree is mîci nisôkan, kohkôs

the translation for genius

in Cree is my kôhkom muttering in her sleep

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