Small Number and the Kit Foxes- Blackfoot
Small Number and the Kit Foxes
Poksskaaksini Kii Sinopaa
Written by Mark MacLean and Veselin Jungic
Illustrated by Jess Pollard
Blackfoot Translation by Connie Crop Eared Wolf of the Blood Tribe
The full moon rose over the horizon and lit up the grasslands, which had a light dusting from the winter snow that had fallen the day before. Moonlight streamed in through the front window and lit up the room where Small Number, his sister Perfect Number, and their cousins were sitting around the fireplace talking about the new pair of kit foxes that had been settled that day near the rocks beside the creek way out by the furthest edge of their grandparents' ranch.
Story Transcript: English & Blackfoot
Ko’komiki’somm niitsikotskiannasoiyimma ottoatammisskapssi;
The full moon rose over the horizon
sotammahkannawanasii amii saoki,
lit up the grasslands,
kii amii ohpotaa niitsaiinnattsiwa.
which had a light dusting from the winter snow that had fallen the day before
Amii ksistsikommstaani niitohtsipsstsikotsskiannattsiiwa.
Moonlight streamed in through the front window
Aa, Ko’komiki’somm mannistsstoonatsikotskiannso’ihpi.
Moonlight lit up the room
Ma Poksskaaksini kii mii osskanna Mattsowookstaksini
where Small Number, his sister Perfect Number
kii amiksi omahpapihmo’wawaiksi iitakko’patoomiyaawa amii atotaana.
and their cousins were sitting around the fireplace
Ihtaipoiyiiyaawa amiiksi naato’kammi sinopaiksi itotowatsimahkaiyaawa amiistsi oohkotokistsi kii amii niitahtaa.
talking about the new pair of kit foxes that had been settled that day near the rocks beside the creek way out by the furthest edge of their grandparents' ranch.
Amii maaahsoowaawayi nohkatsskaiksimattsiitakiiyinnai ottsskiito’tohsii amiiksi sinopaiksi.
Grandpa sat quietly in his chair in the corner, not showing his own excitement at the return of kit foxes to the area.
Maatomaikakatohtsitsaapiopa amiksska sinopaiksi.
Where they had not been seen since
Mii maaahsowaawayi otsitaisitapiihpi ihtsitsiststsaiyaapiyaawa!
his father was a young man.
Amii otaakiaahsowaawayi ito’tsipiima kii itssootanikkiima.
Grandma came in and closed the curtains causing the children to look up from their game as the room darkened.
Amiiksi pookaiksi isksiinimiaawa aaksstsinao’to’yo’kaayaawa.
The children knew it would soon be time for them to go to bed.
“Tsa nistsiisi aakitsai’koyiiwaiksa?,” mii maaahso’wawayi ihtsitomattapatsoopoohtsiisatsiiyaawa amiiksi sinopaiksi.
"Pleeeeease, Grandma! Tell us about the kit foxes! Please!" they all pleaded in unison. "When will they have babies?" They asked their grandma to talk about the kit foxes!
Ama omahkinnaa nohkatsitohtotanniiwa, “Aah! Kipitaakii, nohkohtsitsinikookinaana anniksi sinopaiksi!”
Grandpa had a sparkle in his eye as he took up their cause and played along, "Yes grandma! Tell us about the kit foxes."
Maa kipitaakii ainikkssamiiwa amii omahkiinaa; kii itsikkinnaisistsiksskiaakatsii amiiksi pookaiksi itsiiksoowoapiiksi.
Grandma gave Grandpa a stern look that would have frozen water in mid-summer before it dissolved into a soft smile as she sat in her chair and looked down at the children who had gathered at her feet.
Maatsootamattapiitsinikoyiiwatsaiksi, ainspopiiyaawa naitomattapiipoiyiwa.
She didn't start speaking right away, but waited patiently until the fidgeting children settled down and stopped poking and teasing each other.
Maa kipitaakii aisammiiwa amii Poksskaaksini, kii itanniwa “Pokohsinopaiksi ahksiiyisstsiwatsiiyaawa otsitapiimowawaiksi! Kanapaisisi!”
"Young kit foxes always obey their parents. Always." Small Number blushed when he realized his grandmother was looking directly at him.
Ama saahkomapi niitaomaohksskaawa!!
Nitsiksimsstaawa aahksinnoiyiiwayi otsisstsiksskiaaki otssoaomatapitsiniksi.
He tried hard to believe that a slight turn of a smile appeared on her face before she released him from her gaze and went back to her story.
Ama kipitaaki itaniwa, “Sinopaiksi itamitaisaksiyaawa aisamaiko’ko’si.”
"The kit fox likes to come out late into the night,
just before the first light of the dawn.
“Kiimaataaksinowawatsiksi amoo ksiistiko’si.”
You will not likely see her during the day.
“Aiyaisoposi kimaataakonowainowawa, aakaiksisatooma ami sopowa.”
When the wind blows, she will hide from it in her den
“Kiaissiiksoposi kiaakitamitsaomahkatooma amii otawatsimahkaana.”
and only come out when it stops.
When she is going to have pups, she gets her den ready for them by covering the floor with prairie grass.
Once the pups are born, she will stay in the den with them
and go out only to hunt regularly so she can continue to nurse her pups."
Poksskaaksini itsiipissksstakiaaniwa, “Katayaikskimaawa kanaiksiistsikoosi?”
Small Number interrupted her: "Does she hunt every day?"
“Saa, maataikskimaawatsi kanaiksiistsiko’si.”
"No, not everyday, " she replied.
“Aisoatapiikskimaasisi itaisskitsiwaiksi amii otawatsimahkaana, kianni itaiyoohkimmayaawa.”
"When she goes hunting, they will stay behind in the den and wait for her.
“Aisksiniimiaawa mahksowaisaomaahkatosa amii awatsimahkaana saiyitapaisisi amii oksistowawayi.”
They know not to leave the den when she is gone.
Amiiksi pokohsinopaiksi mattaisaomaahkatomiaawa amii awatsimahkaana.
The pups won't come out of the den at all until they are old enough."
Ama Mattsowookstaksini aipisskanniwa, kii itsopoohtsisiiwa.
Perfect Number interrupted.
“Na’aa, ama napiima, aikiiwatsa?”
"But what about the boy kit fox, Grandma?
“Katawakomimiiwa amii skiima?”
Doesn't he love the girl kit fox
“Kataisstaawa mahkito’taopissi amii skiima?”
and want to stay with her?"
Maa Poksskaaksini aiponnapsskaawa.
Small Number rolled his eyes.
Mii oskanna aikakohtaipoiyiiwa sahkomapiiksi!!
His sister always seemed to talk about boys lately.
Otsitsaomahkaotsipoissi amii otaakiaahsa, maa omahkinna itsikkinawaniiwa,
Before Grandma could answer, Grandpa spoke softly:
“Naa napiima sinopaa ikakomimiiwa ami skiima sinopaa.”
"The boy kit fox loves the girl kit fox and wants to be with her."
Itssammiwa amii oppitaama.
He looked at Grandma as he said this,
Kii ama kipitaakii nohkattsipootsammiwayi, kitssistsikksiakatsiwayi.
and she nodded her head, her eyes smiling at him.
“Aaa, ama Mattsowookstaksini, ama napiima sinopaa aisstaawa mahkitotaopissi ami skiima sinopaa manistaaksisamipaitapiisspi.”
"Yes, Perfect Number, the boy kit fox wants to stay with his mate for all time,
“Kii ama skiima niitoiyi nohkattanistaiksimstaawa!”
and she wants him to be near her.
Annohka ko’ko’si ko’komiki’somm otaaksstsinaisammookowaawayi.
They will sit under the moonlight tonight
Aaksaittaamsiiyaawa otsskootohsaa annoo otawahsowaawayi.
and feel the happiness of returning home to this territory.
Annooma saoki otomahtotohpowaawayi!
They belong here in the grasslands.
Iiniiwa nohkatskinnimma anno otohtotosaa kii nohkatskaittaammsiiwa.
The buffalo knows this and will feel contentment that the kit foxes are making their home near her.
Aakotoksisawaatsiwaiksi annohka ko’ko’si kii aakitaapaittammistotoyiiwaiksi!
She will visit them tonight to welcome them home."
“Na’aa, aakstaissai’koyisiwaiksa?” Mattsowookstaksini aisopo’wahtsiisiwa.
"But when will they have babies, Grandma?" Perfect Number asked plaintively.
“Aitamaakssai’koyisiwa. Kii omii otawatsimaani maattannistoomahkowa.”
"Soon. The den where she lives is not big enough
“Naa napiima maatohkoatsitoapissi.”
to have the boy kit fox in it, too,
“Kiaisai’koyisiwa, aakstaawa mahkainowahsii; makomanistainnowahsi ami skiima.”
when she has their pups, and want to see her as often as he can.
“Kii aakitaamitainoyiiwaiyi aisa’potsiikskimaasi.”
But she will only come out to hunt,
so he will live nearby
and so he must be patient."
Maa kipitaakii aissamiiwa amii onaapiima iisistsiksskiaakatsiiwayi mii otakiaaahsowawayi iiksowaissapiwa. Maataipoyiwatsa, atahka aiksimmstaawa.
She looked over at Grandpa, who smiled and nodded his head.
Ammiksi pookaiksi itommattapatatsiskaasiiyaawa. Aipossapiiwa maa kipitaakii, kii itsinsspaopiiyaawa.
Grandma looked down and said nothing for a while. She was thinking for a long time. The children started fidgeting, but stopped when she looked up.
Maa kipitaakii aaniiwa, “Aakitamattsitsiinotsiiyaawa aisaotapiikskimaasisi anna skiima sinoapaa.
"He will want to see her again
Ko’komiki’somm aisipioomaiksistoyisi aakitsaotapiikskimaasiwa.
under the full moon to share their remembrance of the joy of this day, the day they have returned home. He knows how many days he must wait and he makes a scratch in the wall of his den for each day that passes so that he can keep track of the time."
Naatsikopotto i’nakanao’kssima aakanistsisamoo!”
"They will get to see each other when she comes up to hunt under the light of the full moon twelve quarter moons from now," Grandma said with certainty.
Small Number cocked his head and looked puzzled:
Aanistsiiwa amii maaahsa “Naaahsa! Tsa kaanistssksinipa?”
"How do you know that, Grandma?"
Ana kipitaakii aaniiwa, “nitssksinipa maanistaikaapsaotapikskimahpi anna skiima sinopaa!”
"I know how often kit fox will come up to hunt," said Grandma.
“Naaahsa, tsa nitaikaapsaomahkaawa?” Amiiksi pookaiski nitsistokiaasskinniyaawa.
"How often is that, Grandma?" the children said in unison.
Maatsipoiyiiwa, maa kipitaakii.
She did not say anything
Inoiyiiwa amiiksi pookaiksi otaissakotsistapiitsiisaawa amii oksstakksinni.
because she saw the children were trying to work out the answer.
“Aa. Nitssksinipa!! Nitssksinipa!!” Mattsowookstaksini aaniiwa.
"I know! I know!" shouted Perfect Number.
Aitapohkitaakopiwa amii maaahsa kii itsisimiaanistsiwayi!
She jumped up, ran to Grandma, and climbed onto her lap. She whispered something in Grandma's ear so only she could hear her.
Maa kipitaakii, maaahsa aisistsiksskiaakatsiiwayi.
Itanistiiwayi, “Kitsikssoakaki, ama Mattsowookstaksini!”
"You are clever, Perfect Number!"
AMA SINOPAA KAMAIKAAPSAOMAHKAASI;
If kit fox leaves her den at a regular intervals;
TSA NIITAIKAAPITSKITSIIWA AMIIKSI POKOHSINOPAIKSI AOTAPIIKSKIMAASI?
how often does the kit fox leave her pups to come up to hunt?
Credits and Acknowledgements
Written by Mark MacLean, UBC, and Veselin Jungic, SFU
Inspired by narrations of Kathy Scout-Bastien of the Piikani Nation.
Voice: Eldon Yellowhorn of the Piikani Nation
Illustrator: Jess Pollard, Victoria, BC
Sound: David Brigden, Simon Fraser University
Music and Animation: Andy Gavel, Vancouver, BC
Producer: Veselin Jungic, Simon Fraser University
Director: Andy Gavel, Vancouver, BC
Special Thanks To:
All participants of the BIRS First Nation Education Workshop, Banff, AB, November 18-23, 2012
Melania Alvarez, UBC/PIMS
Pam Borghardt, Simon Fraser University
Simon Roy, Victoria, BC
Banff International Research Station
Department of Mathematics, Simon Fraser University
Department of Mathematics, University of British Columbia
Faculty of Science, Simon Fraser University
Office for Aboriginal Peoples, Simon Fraser University
Pacific Institute For Mathematical Sciences
The IRMACS Centre, Simon Fraser University