niwîcihâw / I Help
Written by Caitlin Nicholson
Translated by Leona Morin-Nelson
This simple story in Cree and English explores a young child’s relationship to his grandmother, or nôkhom, as they go for a walk in the woods to pick rosehips. The young boy follows his grandmother, walking, listening, picking, praying and eating, just as she does. In doing so, he absorbs the rich cultural traditions and values of his Cree heritage.
Caitlin Dale Nicholson’s acrylic-on-canvas illustrations portray the close relationship between the boy and his grandmother and the natural beauty of the bush. Her text has been translated into Cree by Leona Morin-Neilson, who was also the inspiration for niwîcihâw / ᓂᐄᐧᒋᐦᐋᐤ / I Help.
Formerly titled Niwechihaw / I Help, this revised paperback edition features updated text, including Cree syllabics in addition to standard roman orthography and English.
Caitlin Dale Nicholson is a graduate of the First Nations Studies program at the University of Northern British Columbia, and she teaches art and English at an alternate school in Prince George. She is also learning about traditional plant medicines from Leona Morin-Neilson. Caitlin’s first picture book, Niwechihaw / I Help, has been highly acclaimed. She lives with her family in Prince George.
Leona Morin-Neilson teaches Cree at the “Power of Friendship” Aboriginial Headstart program in Prince George, British Columbia, and at the University of Northern British Columbia. She also teaches people in her community about traditional plants and how they can be used for medicinal purposes.
Praise for Niwechihaw / I Help by Caitlin Dale Nicholson with Leona Morin-Neilson:
“...a quiet narrative...broad brush strokes and blurred colours conveying light and atmosphere as much as personality...the simple verbs in present tense provide a wealth of clues about the workings of the Cree language.” Toronto Star
“...acrylic-on-canvas paintings give a dream-like feel to the story, making it almost a nostalgic look at childhood...Recommended.” CM Magazine
“Textured acrylic paintings, done in rich earth tones...portray the sanctity of the natural environment...a sensitive, respectful portrayal of contemporary Native Americans.” School Library Journal