They Knew Both Sides of Medicine

Cree Tales of Curing and Cursing Told by Alice Ahenakew / âh-âyîtaw isi ê-kî-kiskêyihtahkik maskihkiy

H.C. Wolfart (Translator), Freda Ahenakew (Translator)

Born in 1912, Alice Ahenakew was brought up in a traditional Cree community in north-central Saskatchewan. As a young woman, she married Andrew Ahenakew, a member of the prominent Saskatchewan family, who later became an Anglican clergyman and a prominent healer.

Alice Ahenakew’s personal reminiscences include stories of her childhood, courtship and marriage, as well as an account of the 1928 influenza epidemic and encounters with a windigo. The centrepiece of this book is the fascinating account of Andrew Ahenakew’s bear vision, through which he received healing powers.

Written in original Cree text with a full English translation, They Knew both Sides of Medicine also includes an introduction discussing the historical background of the narrative and its style and rhetorical structure, as well as a complete Cree-English glossary.

Reviews

“An amazing book … while Alice Ahenakew is talking, you want the stories to just keep coming.”

– Saskatoon Star Phoenix

About the Authors

H.C. Wolfart is University Distinguished Professor of Linguistics at the University of Manitoba.

Freda Ahenakew (1932–2011), founding director of the Saskatchewan Indian Languages Institute, earned her MA in Cree linguistics at the University of Manitoba. Ahenakew received an honorary LLD from the University of Saskatchewan (1997) and was named to the World Indigenous Education Task Force.

Book Details

  • They Knew Both Sides of Medicine: Cree Tales of Curing and Cursing Told by Alice Ahenakew / âh-âyîtaw isi ê-kî-kiskêyihtahkik maskihkiy
  • H.C. Wolfart (Translator), Freda Ahenakew (Translator)
  • Published November 2000, 332 pages
  • Paper, ISBN: 9780887556494, 6 × 9, $32.95
  • Topic(s): Indigenous Studies, Linguistics
  • Part of the U of M Press series: Publications of the Algonquian Text Society

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