The Place Where My Spirit Breathes


This summer, I took a four day intensive néhiyawéwin class. I’m learning my language, slowly. This class was the beginning of a commitment to push myself further towards this goal.

I live in Ottawa now, but I’m a prairie girl through and through. Going back home is a necessity in staying grounded and connected to what calms my soul. The language is in the land, in the vast prairie skies, the water. nipiy. my veins.

Don’t bother writing the words down. Just listen. You’ll remember.

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péyak. níso. nisto.

I’m in kindergarten, my favourite class is Cree class. We learn numbers, greetings, animals. Those words come flooding back in my memory.

I’m grateful to the educators that provided us with the opportunity to be exposed to our language and culture.


Thirty years later, the class is full of eager students willing to learn néhiyawéwin. The instructors are passionate about passing on the language. It’s a beautiful and safe environment to learn and make mistakes.

Living thousands of kilometers away from my home, I have to make an effort to practice and hear the language, so I don’t forget again.

When discussing the struggles I’m having with this distance, one of my classmates told me that home is “the place where your spirit breathes”. He was right.


148 thoughts on “The Place Where My Spirit Breathes”

  1. Beautiful! I am new to wordpress, and was drawn in by your awesome title. Tea and bannock: two of my favourite things! And you have 111 comments as I write this, it’s a number I see every day since my daughter passed away almost 7 years ago, which is usually a sign that she’s with me so I think she’d love your writing too. Thank you for sharing and I wish you well on your path toward learning your language ❤

    Liked by 4 people

  2. What a beutiful description of home! I’m writing a blog about “the journey of my life.” I’m travelling and looking for a place to stay and make home so it’s kinda diary. When I tried to describe “home” I said: “do you know how you feel when you love someone? You’re happy when you’re both together. You miss him you’re apart. You chose him from many different people. Maybe from wiser and prettier people, but it doesn’t matter cos you basically feel that you fit where you are. This is what I’m looking for. I found a man, now I want to find a place.”
    All the best!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I, too, am learning the language of my Ancestors: Ojibwe. So powerful, the language of our First Peoples. Do you notice how the animals are more responsive when you speak to them in the language? Even if you just say “hello” in Cree (Tanisi?) to the birds, they’ll “follow” you. So humbling. Big miigwetch for your post ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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