Monday, January 12, 2015

Stefan and Winnemem Language Lessons

This summer, I went back to the village for a week to learn as much of Winnemem as I could from the teacher who was there for the summer from Germany.  We met in the Chief's trailer and for hours, Stefan tried to teach us Winnemem.  He succeeded with many.  Rick and his mother Helene were definitely stars.

Staying in the house with Stefan every day was lesson day.

Stefan was working on the next lessons in his room, and Helene was on a phone call in her room.  I was in the kitchen getting lunch ready.  I nicked my hand with a sharp knife and it was bleeding a lot even with cold water pouring on it, so I took of to the bathroom and yelled to Helene for a bandaide. She was in her room, and I realized she was on the phone, so still bleeding quite a bit, I had my arm up trying not to drip and asked our linguist friend Stefan for help and he kept yelling from his room, "Ch'uqut!" "Ch'ugut!" He was trying to encourage me to say it in Winnemem. Then he saw me dragging the first aide kit out in the bathroom with one hand trying to open the band aid box, and realized I really needed help. Luckily Helene ran in with a phone to her ear, and waving a band aid in the other. I rinsed off the blood and Stefan helped me put the band aid on and all was ok. I had to run to the kitchen to "stir the food" and when I ran back to clean up the bit of blood splattered around the sink and found he had already cleaned it up. Thanking Stefan for heeding my Ch'uqut then. Because I'm on Granny's herbs, my nicks heal up very quickly and I can't even remember where I cut myself because there is no sign of the cut at all. That's my Winnemem language story for today.

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"from Outside the Belly" was also known as "TBAsian" from 2008-2010. Thank you for reading.

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Eugene, Oregon
I am a citizen of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. I am a Nikkei descendant sansei (third generation);retired teacher, involved in the Winnemem tribal responsibility to Water, Salmon, and our belief that the Sacred is our Teacher. Working locally for human rights and supporting youth leadership.