By Jeremy Harpe of CFWE-FM
Hello Tansi, a Cree children’s book by Jules Thomas, was inspired by the author’s own children.
“When I had my first son, he’s eight—Zander—I was trying to find something to teach him the language…something that was fun, colorful. Something that he could read and (we could) read together.
“After searching everywhere I could, I couldn’t really find anything that I could use to teach him.”
So Thomas made the book that he was looking for himself. After compiling the story, Thomas illustrated the book. He put it on Facebook and the response was encouraging, making him think ‘Hey, maybe there’s a need for this book.’
“The language has always held the key to our past. It’s an old language. It’s before colonization… Our stories are in our language. Each word has a story and each word has a meaning of who we are," he told Jeremy Harpe of CFWE-FM.
“I believe that by keeping our language alive, by trying to reinstate it into our youth and into our children, I believe that that’s the salvation to our future for our people.”
Hello Tansi is one of three books Thomas will be releasing. The others will be Counting in Cree (one to 10) and Animals in Cree (10 different animals).
They are self-published and the Hello book has sold more than 500 copies. It can be purchased at Audrey’s book store on Jasper Ave. The Royal Alberta Museum has purchased a large number of books, so people can find them there when they open. And they can be purchased online at http://www.rougeempire.com
The website is still being worked on, so you can email mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org