Cree [Nehîya] Language Learning

I’m learning Nehîya Pîkiskwewin [“Cree Talk”, pronounced nay/i/yah pee/gs/gway-wn]. This is thanks to the Calgary Public Library, the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary and teacher Ernie Poundmaker. Recently, when I was on the Facebook page “CreeSimon Says” someone asked the Cree word for “cat”. A couple replies came, but my mind was blown by them.

What I can gather so far…I *think* the traditional word is “Minōs” [pron: mi-noose]. That was cool. But my mind was blown when it was indicated the slang/modern Cree is “poosees” [yes, pronounced the same as pussywillow].

The reason? Back in the 70s, my Aunt (maternal aunt so, the word would be “nisikos” – knee-si-gos or kne-si-kos) had a house cat at her farm called “Pussy Cat”. So, given that my Mom [“nikâwîy” pron: knee-gah-wee(yuh) with the yuh almost silent] and her sister had *some* exposure to Cree in their youth, my aunt may have called the cat…uh, “Cat Cat”.