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Meet Bill Cook, the host of the @NativeLangsTech Twitter account for July 4-10

Photo provided by Bill Cook.

In 2019 as part of a social media campaign to celebrate linguistic diversity online, Native American and First Nations language activists and advocates will be taking turns managing the @NativeLangsTech Twitter account to share their experiences with the revitalization and promotion of Native American and First Nations languages. This profile post is about Bill Cook (@creeinstructor1) and what he plans to discuss during his week as host.

Rising Voices: Please tell us about yourself.

ᑖᐣᓯ ᐃᑿ ᑳᑭᖬᐤ ᑮᖬᐚᐤ ᐆᑕ ᒪᒫᑖᐏᐋᐸᒋᐦᒋᑲᓂᐊᐢᑮᕽ, ᑖᑊ ᐄᓴ ᒥᐟᐦᐚᓯᐣ ᐃᑲᑹᒋᒥᑲᐏᔮᐣ ᐆᒼ ᐆᑕ ᓃᐢᑕ ᑕᐑᒋᐦᐃᐏᔮᐣ ᓂᓂᐦᐃᖬᐑᐲᑭᐢᑹᐏᓂᕽ᙮ ᐋᐦᐋᐤ ᐃᑯᓯ ᒫᑲ, ᒫᒋᐦᑖᑖᐣ

(Hello everyone here in the online world, I am honored to be asked to help and talk a bit about my Rock Cree language. Okay, let’s get started!)

Bill Cook nisithīkāson ikwa wapātakociwanohk, atihkosākahikanihk, kakanātahk ohci nītha ikwa niwīkin mīkwāc oskana-ka-āsastīki. My name is Bill Cook and I am from Southend, Reindeer Lake SK, Canada and I live in Regina, SK right now. I am a fluent speaker of Rock Cree better known as Woodland Cree ‘th’ dialect.

I have my BA in Cree Language Studies from FNUniv and currently completing my Masters in Education- Curriculum & Instruction through University of Regina. My work is on Indigenous Language Revitalization: Connecting Distant Cree Language Learners with Cree Language Speakers using Synchronous Video Chat Technology. I have taught the Cree Language for over a decade in all levels from the kinders all the way up to adults.

RV: What is the current status of your language on the internet and offline?

I am currently teaching Cree online courses for First Nations University of Canada as a sessional (part-time). I will also be doing an online Cree course for Winnipeg Holistic Expressive Arts Therapy Institute in the fall of 2019. I have offered Free Cree Online through social media in the past. I am doing Cree language camps, workshops as an instructor, and voice over work for a show called Louis Says on APTN. I am always developing new material on my own time with plans to share them on my website once I have completed them. I share audio files via quizlet with my current students, but they are free and for everyone that needs them. Here’s my website: www.creeclass.com

RV: On what topics do you plan to focus during the week that you’ll manage the @NativeLangsTech Twitter account?

I will share the Rock Cree language and culture within my week of being a host of @NativeLangsTech with some: videos, audio, pictures, memes, humor, and other useful material that can help Cree language learners and speakers.

RV: What are the main motivations for your digital activism for your language? What are your hopes and dreams for your language?

I consider myself as ‘owīcihowīw – a helper’ of the Cree language, I don’t know everything about the language and always learning new things on a daily basis. But I share what I know and technology lets me do this sharing because our Indigenous languages are meant to be shared and passed on. I am currently teaching nitānis (my daughter) to speak the language and do that in many different ways. Code-switching where I switch from English to Cree and vise-versa seems to be working for her at this time and I will continue to do this with her. We are also making short one minute videos teaching the Cree language featuring nitānis as the instructor. My hopes are to be able to work with people that are working with Indigenous Language Revitalization throughout the nation. I am currently seeking full-time employment in anything Indigenous Language Revitalization so this would be great to be able to join a solid team that are passionate in saving their Indigenous languages so we can pass on our languages and cultures to the next generation.

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