This interview between Karahkwenhawi (Zoe Leigh Hopkins) and Owennatekha (Brian Maracle) was conducted in conjunction with ZOE LEIGH HOPKINS’ Goldilocks tahnon Ohkwari (Goldilocks and the Bears) exhibition.
Goldilocks & The Bears
a Mohawk language film that turns the classical tale upside-down;
produced by the father-and-daughter team of
Karahkwenhawi (Zoe Leigh Hopkins, Director)
Owennatekha (Brian Maracle, Writer)
Brian Maracle is the principal instructor at Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa, an adult program that creates fluent Mohawk speakers on the Six Nations Grand River Territory in southern Ontario. Zoe Leigh Hopkins, his daughter, is a film-maker and the on-line program instructor at Onkwawenna.
This Interview was conducted in the Mohawk language on September 9, 2016.
English translation provided by Karonhyawake (Jeff Doreen)
|Karahkwenhawi: Oh nonty:ren tsi enw:ton yohsn:re ayonhrnkha’ne’ ne Kanyen’kha ne Onkwawennhne?
Owennatekha: Enkarihw:seke akw:kon takaterihwthe’te’ oh nonty:ren tsi enw:ton nhka’k snha yohsn:re ayonhrnkha’ne’ ne Kanyen’kha tsi n:yoht ne ronatya’k:son. Nek tsi e’thhtsi :’i akathr:ri’ n:’e tsi yah teyethirihonnyn:nis, yah tetewtstha ne owennakw:kon. Yah tetewtstha ne owennakw:kon ayethirihnnyen. Tewtstha ne otskwahshn:’a ne kti enw:ton ahoti’nikonhrayn:ta’ne’ ne ronteweyenhst:nes oh n:yoht tayewennakhnyon. Whi, teyotonhwentsyhon ayonnonhtnnyon’ ne Kanyen’kha. Yah ttewehre, yah teykwehre ahonnonhtnnyon ne O’seronni’kha thnon tahatiwennat:ni ne raoti’konhraknhson. Ykwehre ahonnonhtnnyon’ ne Kanyen’kha. Ne kn:ton tk:konte ahonnonhtnnyon’ ne Kanyen’kha; ne kn:ton tsi ahoti’nikonhrayn:ta’ne’ ne otskwa’shn:’a n:ne yakwtstha aetewawennn:ni n:ne tewtstha tayakwawennakhnyons n:ne tekyatthen n:ne snha karihow:nen tsi n:yoht ne :ya. Thnon :ni ne :nen ayethirihnnnyen ne kanktakon tsi niwenhn:seres, yah teyakwtstha ne O’seronni’kha. Yethirihonnyn:ni ahskon ne Kanyen’kha enhniserakw:kon, wisk niwenhn:seres tsi niwn:tes thnon sha’t:kon niwenhn:take tsi niyhseres ne teyohser:ke nenkarihw:seke. Thnon n:’e tsyor:wat ne :ya n:ne wathr:ris oh nonty:ren tsi nhka’k yohsn:re ayonhrnkha’ne, n:’e tsi tk:konte akarihw:seke ayontweyenhste’ k:ron tsi niy:re ayekw:ni ayont:ti’.
|Zoe: Why is possible to quickly become a fluent Mohawk speaker at Onkwawenna?
Brian: It’ll take a long time for me to explain it all why someone could become fluent in Mohawk a little faster than others. But, I should talk about it that we don’t teach, we don’t use whole words, we don’t use whole words to teach. We use root words (morphemes) so that students can understand how to put words together. Right, it’s neccesary for them to think in Mohawk. We don’t want them to think in English and for them to translate in their minds. We want them to think in Mohawk. That means they have to think in Mohawk; that means that they would understand the various types of roots we use to create words, that we use to put sentences together, that are different, which is a bigger issue than others.
And as well, when we teach them in class during the day, we don’t use English. We teach them only in Mohawk all day long, five days a week, and eight months a year, for two years. And there is one other issue that talks about why someone would become fluent quickly; because one has to study for a long time before they are able to speak.
|K: To nhe tahsathsawen ahsatweyenhste’ ne Kanyen’kha?
O: Yah oth:nen tekahrnkhahwe shikeneknhteron. Whi, hsen ok nikawn:nake :’i kewennayenterhne shikeneknhteron, hsen ok. Thnon yah tetewakathsawe tsi kate’nyntha akatweyenhste tsi niy:re kay:ri niwhsen wisk na’tewakohseriya’kn:ne. :yenhre tsi ohstnha snha nikar:wes tsi n:yoht ne tewhsen niyohser:ke tsi nhe.
|Z: How long ago did you start studying Mohawk?
B: I wasn’t fluent at all when I was a teen. Yeah, I only knew three words when I was a teen. Only three. And I didn’t start trying to study until, oh until I was forty-five years old. That seems like that’s more than twenty years ago.
|K: Sh:kon ken ynnhe ne onkwawn:na? To nih:ti ront:tis ne Kanyen’kha, Ohsw:ken nn:we, kenh niwenhniseratnyon?
O: Kenh niwenhniseratnyon, tyoyann:’en. :yenhre tsi kta ne wisk niwhsen nih:ti ronhrnkha ne Kanyen’kha thnon ratikwnyes ahont:ti’ ne Kanyen’kha. Thnon yah tehonhrnkha, yah akw:kon tehonhronkha’tsher:yos. Nek tsi snha nih:ti ront:tis ne Kanyen’kha nn:wa tsi n:yoht ne tewhsen niyohser:ke tsi nhe. Kh:re nn:wa sha’teh:ti ronhrnhka ne Kanyen’kha kenh wenhniseratnyon tsi n:yoht ne tewhsen niyohser:ke tsi nhe. Nek tsi eh shikah:wi rotiksten’okn:’a ok ront:tiskwe thnon kenh wenhniseratnyon :so nih:ti, :so snha nithotiyn:sa’s, thnon kwah tsi ok nn:we ront:tis, rntstha ne onkwawn:na. Thnon :ni rotiwirayn:ta’s thnon thkara nih:ti shakotirihonnyn:nis ne shakotiyen’okn:’a ahont:ti’ ne Kanyen’kha n:’e tyotyernhton raotiwn:na. ‘tho kti :yenhre tsi ohstnha snha kawenna’shtste ne Kanyen’kha nn:wa tsi niyohtn:ne tewhsen niyohser:ke tsi nhe.
|Z: Is our language still alive? How many people speak Mohawk at Six Nations these days?
B: These days, it depends. One would say that close to fifty people understand Mohawk and are able to speak Mohawk. And not all of them are proficiently fluent. But more people speak Mohawk now than twenty years ago. Probably the same number of people are fluent these days than there were twenty years ago. But back then only the old people spoke. And these days a lot of people, it’s a lot more young people. And they speak all over the place, they use our language. And they are having babies, and some people are teaching their children to speak Mohawk as their first language. Therefore it seems like Mohawk is a bit stronger of a language than it was twenty years ago.
|K: Thnon takhr:ri ne tey:ya’ks aorihw:ke n:ne Goldilocks thnon Ohkw:ri yena’tnhkwa, wetyn:ni ne k:ken tey:ya’ks n:ne tahonn:ya’ke thkara n:kon film festivals, :’i takannhton’ thnon :se wahshy:ton’. Oh nonty:ren tsi wahsate’nikonhr:sa’ ahshy:ton ne th:ken ok:ra?
O: W:kehre’ ayakyn:ni’ ne tey:ya’ks n:ne ronatya’k:son ahonter:roke. Thnon w:kehre’ ronatya’k:son n:ne ronteweynhstha ahotiya’taknha tsi ronteweynhstha; ahotiya’taknha snha aontyesnhake ahont:ti’. ‘tho kti e’thhtsi ohstn:ha enwatyesnhake ne ok:ra, e’thhtsi ohstnha enwatyesnhake ne owenna’shn:’a n:ne kak:rakon. Thnon :ni w:kehre’ ahonon’whskwen’ ahonter:roke’, w:kehre ahonthst:rihste’. ‘tho kti teyotonhwentsyhon, hstnha :’i takt:ni ne ok:ra ne kti enw:ton snha ayohsterhstake. Thnon :ni ne :nen wa’tekt:ni’ oh nihoti’nikonhr:ten ne ohkw:ri kahw:tsire :’i wa’kheyanonhtnnyon’ ne onkwehn:we, whi, n:ne tsi n:yoht nihotirih:ten. N:’e tsi e’thhtsi ahoti’nikonhro’tnhake. Oh n:yoht ak:ron ne k:ken? W:kehre ahoti’nikonhro’tnhake sha’teyohtn:ne n:ne shakotihsot’okn:’a n:ne ronatohtston.
|Z: And tell me about the movie called Goldilocks and The Bears. We made this movie that they would show at a few film festivals. I directed it and you wrote it. Why did you decide to write that story?
B: I wanted us to make a movie that others would watch. And I wanted it to help some students in their studies. To help them to speak easier. Therefore it should be an easier story, there should be easier words in the story. And I also wanted them to enjoy watching it, I wanted them to laugh. Therefore I needed to change the story a bit so that it would be funnier. And also when I changed the bear family’s mindsets I thought of native people, right, their culture and ways, because that’s the way their mindsets should be. How do I say this? I wanted their mindsets to be the same as their deceased grandparents.
|K: Thnon takhr:ri ne Youtube aorihw:ke. Oh nah:ten :ya enw:ton ayonter:roke eh nn:we n:ne wetyn:ni. Oh n:yoht enw:ton’ ayetshn:ri’ ne Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa a’are’k:wa thnon Youtbehne?
O: :yenhre tsi kta ne wisk niwhsen n:kon tey:ya’ks n:ne ronteweynhstha Onkwawenna raotityhkwa n:ne wahonnn:ni’ thnon enw:ton nhka’k ayonter:roke’ ne Youtbehne. Thnon ‘tho nn:we enw:ton ayetshn:ri’ ne Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa Youtube channel. Thnon :ni yonkwanktayen ne a’are’k:wa n:ne www.onkwawenna.info tsi nn:we enw:ton ayetshn:ri’ ne :ya tsyor:wat n:ne Onkwawenna aorihw:ke.
|Z: And tell me about Youtube. What else could you watch there that we made? How could you find Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa on the internet and on Youtube?
B: It seems like Onkwawenna students made close to fifty videos that you could watch on Youtube. And you could find them there on the Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa Youtube channel. And also we have a site on the internet at www.onkwawenna.info where you could find other things about Onkwawenna.
|K: Thnon. Oh nah:ten sanonhtnnyon n:’e tsi tetenihthrha ne Kanyen’kha thnon skhne yonkeniy’tens aetenn:ni’ ne tey:ya’ks n:ne ahskon Kanyen’kha?
O: Akwah :ken tsi wakatshennn:ni, akwh :ken, n:’e tsi enw:ton nhka’k :ya :’i tayakenihth:ren’ ahskon ne Kanyen’kha. Thnon wakatonnhhere n:’e tsi ne kheyn:’a enw:ton tayakenihth:ren. Wakateryn:tare tsi :so nih:ti ronhronkha’tsher:yos sh:kon ronnnnhe nn:wa ne Kanyen’kehak:ke n:ne yah ‘tho thayekw:ni. Yah than:ton tahnihth:ren ne shakotiyen’okn:’a. Thnon akwh :ken tsi yo’nikonhrksa’t. Thnon akwh :ken tsi wakatonnhhere n:’i tsi :’i aetenikw:ni. Thnon snha wakatshennn:ni n:’e tsi enw:ton skhne ayonkeniy’teke, ne kti enw:ton aetenn:ni ne tey:ya’ks, kahyatonhsera’shn:’a, ok nah:ten n:ne a’are’k:wa aknhake, ne kti enw:ton nhka’k :ya :yontste’ ne kti enw:ton ahonwatiya’taknha’ snha ahonhrnkha’ne’ ne onkwawn:na.
|Z: And. What do you think about you and I speaking Mohawk and working together making movies all in Mohawk?
B: I’m really happy, really, because I can speak with someone else all in Mohawk. And I’m excited because it’s my daughter that I will be able to speak with. I know that a lot of very fluent people that are still alive in Mohawk Territory that can’t do that. They can’t speak with their children. And it’s really sad. And I’m really excited that you and I are able to. And I’m happier that you and I can work together, that we can make movies, books, things that could be on the internet, so that someone else could use it, in order for it to help them to become more fluent in our language.
|Z: Thank you.
B: You’re welcome.