Section 8.2 Blackfoot - POKSSKAAKSINI KII SINOPAA
Written by: Mark MacLean and Veselin Jungic
Illustrated by: Jess Pollard
Blackfoot translation by: Connie Crop and Eared Wolf of the Blood Tribe
Ko’komiki’somm niitsikotskiannasoiyimma ottoatammisskapssi; sotammahkannawanasii amii saoki, kii amii ohpotaa niitsaiinnattsiwa. Amii ksistsikommstaani niitohtsipsstsikotsskiannattsiiwa. Aa, Ko’komiki’somm mannistsstoonatsikotskiannso’ihpi. Ma Poksskaaksini kii mii osskanna Mattsowookstaksini kii amiksi omahpapihmo’wawaiksi iitakko’patoomiyaawa amii atotaana. Ihtaipoiyiiyaawa amiiksi naato’kammi sinopaiksi itotowatsimahkaiyaawa amiistsi oohkotokistsi kii amii niitahtaa.
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.
Amii maaahsoowaawayi nohkatsskaiksimattsiitakiiyinnai ottsskiito’tohsii amiiksi sinopaiksi. Maatomaikakatohtsitsaapiopa amiksska sinopaiksi. Mii maaahsowaawayi otsitaisitapiihpi ihtsitsiststsaiyaapiyaawa! Amii otaakiaahsowaawayi ito’tsipiima kii itssootanikkiima. Amiiksi pookaiksi isksiinimiaawa aaksstsinao’to’yo’kaayaawa.
Grandpa sat quietly in his chair in the corner, not showing his own excitement at the return of kit foxes to the area, where they had not been seen since his father was a young man. Grandma came in and closed the curtains, causing the children to look up from their game as the room darkened. The children knew it would soon be time for them to go to bed, and so they excitedly started pestering their grandmother with questions about the kit foxes to distract her.
“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?”
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!” Ama saahkomapi niitaomaohksskaawa!! Nitsiksimsstaawa aahksinnoiyiiwayi otsisstsiksskiaaki otssoaomatapitsiniksi.
“Young kit foxes always obey their parents. Always.” Small Number blushed when he realized his grandmother was looking directly at him. 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. Aikaksoopoiyiinako’si. Kiimaataaksinowawatsiksi amoo ksiistiko’si. Aiyaisoposi kimaataakonowainowawa, aakaiksisatooma ami sopowa. Kiaissiiksoposi kiaakitamitsaomahkatooma amii otawatsimahkaana. Aakohtsiikaawa matoyihko. Kiaisai’koyiisisi aakohpokitopiimiiwaiksi. Aakaikaksaotapikskimaawa maahkitohkoiisstaahkahtaasi.”
“The kit fox likes to come out late into the night, just before the first light of the dawn. You will not likely see her during the day. When the wind blows, she will hide from it in her den 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. Aisoatapiikskimaasisi itaisskitsiwaiksi amii otawatsimahkaana, kianni itaiyoohkimmayaawa. Aisksiniimiaawa mahksowaisaomaahkatosa amii awatsimahkaana saiyitapaisisi amii oksistowawayi.” Amiiksi pokohsinopaiksi mattaisaomaahkatomiaawa amii awatsimahkaana.
“No, not everyday,” she replied. “When she goes hunting, they will stay behind in the den and wait for her. They know not to leave the den when she is gone. The pups won't come out of the den at all until they are old enough.”
Ama Mattsowookstaksini aipisskanniwa, kii itsopoohtsisiiwa. “Na’aa, ama napiima, aikiiwatsa? Katawakomimiiwa amii skiima?” Kataisstaawa mahkito’taopissi amii skiima?” Maa Poksskaaksini aiponnapsskaawa. Mii oskanna aikakohtaipoiyiiwa sahkomapiiksi!!
“But what about the boy kit fox, Grandma? Doesn't he love the girl kit fox and want to stay with her?” interrupted Perfect Number. Small Number rolled his eyes. His sister always seemed to talk about boys lately.
Otsitsaomahkaotsipoissi amii otaakiaahsa, maa omahkinna itsikkinawaniiwa, “Naa napiima sinopaa ikakomimiiwa ami skiima sinopaa.” Itssammiwa amii oppitaama. Kii ama kipitaakii nohkattsipootsammiwayi, kitssistsikksiakatsiwayi.
Before Grandma could answer, Grandpa spoke softly: “The boy kit fox loves the girl kit fox and wants to be with her.” He looked at Grandma as he said this, and she nodded her head, her eyes smiling at him.
“Aaa, ama Mattsowookstaksini, ama napiima sinopaa aisstaawa mahkitotaopissi ami skiima sinopaa manistaaksisamipaitapiisspi. Kii ama skiima niitoiyi nohkattanistaiksimstaawa!” Annohka ko’ko’si ko’komiki’somm otaaksstsinaisammookowaawayi. Aaksaittaamsiiyaawa otsskootohsaa annoo otawahsowaawayi. Annooma saoki otomahtotohpowaawayi! Iiniiwa nohkatskinnimma anno otohtotosaa kii nohkatskaittaammsiiwa. Aakotoksisawaatsiwaiksi annohka ko’ko’si kii aakitaapaittammistotoyiiwaiksi!
“Yes, Perfect Number, the boy kit fox wants to stay with his mate for all time, and she wants him to be near her. They will sit under the moonlight tonight and feel the happiness of returning home to this territory. They belong here in the grasslands. The buffalo knows this and will feel contentment that the kit foxes are making their home near her. 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. Naa napiima maatohkoatsitoapissi. Kiaisai’koyisiwa, aakstaawa mahkainowahsii; makomanistainnowahsi ami skiima. Kii aakitaamitainoyiiwaiyi aisa’potsiikskimaasi. Aaksikkinno’paiyoohkimaa. Maatakoniitakiwa.” Maa kipitaakii aissamiiwa amii onaapiima iisistsiksskiaakatsiiwayi mii otakiaaahsowawayi iiksowaissapiwa. Maataipoyiwatsa, atahka aiksimmstaawa.
“Soon. The den where she lives is not big enough to have the boy kit fox in it, too, when she has their pups, so he will live nearby and want to see her as often as he can. But she will only come out to hunt, and so he must be patient.” She looked over at Grandpa, who smiled and nodded his head.
Maa kipitaakii aaniiwa, “Aakitamattsitsiinotsiiyaawa aisaotapiikskimaasisi anna skiima sinoapaa. Ko’komiki’somm aisipioomaiksistoyisi aakitsaotapiikskimaasiwa.”
“He will want to see her again 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.”
“When will that be, Grandma?” asked Perfect Number.
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.
“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.
Poksskaaksini isskaisawootsistapitakiwa. Aanistsiiwa amii maaahsa “Naaahsa! Tsa kaanistssksinipa?”
Small Number cocked his head and looked puzzled: “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. Inoiyiiwa amiiksi pookaiksi otaissakotsistapiitsiisaawa amii oksstakksinni.
She did not say anything because she saw the children were trying to work out the answer.
“Aa. Nitssksinipa!! Nitssksinipa!!” Mattsowookstaksini aaniiwa. Aitapohkitaakopiwa amii maaahsa kii itsisimiaanistsiwayi!
“I know! I know!” shouted Perfect Number. 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!”
Grandma smiled. “You are clever, Perfect Number!”
Sopoohwahtsiisinni: AMA SINOPAA KAMAIKAAPSAOMAHKAASI; TSA NIITAIKAAPITSKITSIIWA AMIIKSI POKOHSINOPAIKSI AOTAPIIKSKIMAASI?
Question: If kit fox leaves her den at a regular intervals, how often does the kit fox leave her pups to come up to hunt?