Episode 26 – The Man Who Made Birch Bark Talk

James Evans

In this episode I tell the story of the Man Who Made Birch Bark Talk, or James Evans, who invented the Ojibwe script, and later adapted it to write Cree, Inuktitut, and a number of other languages.

Sample text in Ojibwe syllabics
ᑲᑭᓇᐌᓀᓐ ᑲᐱᒪᑎᓯᐗᑦ ᓂᑕᐎᑭᐗᒃ ᑎᐯᓂᒥᑎᓱᐎᓂᒃ ᒥᓇ ᑕᐱᑕ ᑭᒋᐃᓀᑕᑯᓯᐎᓐ ᑲᔦ ᑌᐸᑫᑕᑯᓯᐎᓐ᙮ ᐅᑕᔭᓇᐗ ᒥᑲᐎᐎᓐ ᑲᔦ ᓂᑄᑲᐎᓐ ᒥᓇᐗ ᑕᔥ ᒋᐃᔑᑲᓇᐗᐸᑎᐗᐸᓐ ᐊᒐᑯ ᒥᓄᐎᒋᐎᑎᐎᓂᒃ᙮

Transliteration
Kakinawenen kapimatisiwat nitawikiwak tipenimitisowinik mina tapita kiciinetakosiwin kaye tepaketakosiwin. Otayanawa mikawiwin kaye nipwakawin minawa tash ciishikanawapatiwapan acako minowiciwitiwinik.

Translation
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 1)

Information about James Evans

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Evans_(linguist)
http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/pageant/04/birchbarktalk.shtml
http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio.php?id_nbr=3376
https://library.vicu.utoronto.ca/collections/special_collections/f10_james_evans
https://mspace.lib.umanitoba.ca/xmlui/handle/1993/9207
https://archive.org/details/jamesevansinven00maclgoog/page/n7

Did James Evans really invent the Ojibwe script?
https://medium.com/naheyawin/sakikin-sharing-knowledge-did-james-evans-invent-cree-syllabics-53253e00e95a
https://creeliteracy.org/beginning-to-read-plains-cree-in-standard-roman-orthography/another-version-of-cree-literacy-the-cree-story-of-syllabics/
http://www.languagegeek.com/typography/syllabics/syl1.html

Tunes features in this episode

Hedge Cats / Cathod y Gwyrch

See the score for this piece

Anishinaabe Spirit Bear Song – a song in Western Ojibwa (Nakawēmowin / ᓇᐦᑲᐌᒧᐎᓐ), a dialect of Ojibwe spoken in southern Manitoba and southern Saskatchewan in Canada, It is also known as Saulteaux or Plains Ojibwa.