01 May 2008

Omahksisttsiiksiinaiksi Aipookakiiyaa

llll ) llllllllllllllllllllllll Omahksisttsiiksiinaiksi Aipookakiiyaa…

My favourite aspect of those ikskanaotonniistsi when we are called to kanoohsiistsi in sikoohkotoki is that – by way of making any afternoon work seem an uneconomical prospect – they afford me extra opportunity to visit the aohkiistsi ki kaawahkoistsi, to catch up on my observations of whatever changes are underway, or to harvest aowahsiistsi in their ripest seasons. Annohk ksiistsikoyi, after our kanoohsin for the Blackfoot Digital Library at the University of Lethbridge, was just such an occasion.

Having witnessed the sspopiiksi surfacing from their pond, I’d been very curious to learn whether, like last year, the pitsiiksiinaiksi would have also awoken. Surprisingly, piipiiaakii elected to join me, ki I made sure to approach the hybernaculum with extra caution on her account, instructing her along the way on how to conduct oneself in their presence. As predicted, we found basking omahksisttsiiksiinaiksi beside all the dens that I knew of. Piipiiaakii could only handle a short exposure to their power, ki I don’t blame her. The first time I encountered one in sikoohkotoki, every hair I had stood on end. Ki here on her first visit, I introduced her to not just one pitsiiksiinaa, but the whole extended family. Not surprisingly her stomach turned with fear, ki she was shaken for some time afterward. But at least she managed to refrain from complete panic.

After dropping piipiiaakii off at nookoowannaan to calm down, nitsitssko’too mi kaawahko. I took a few photographs of the omahksisttsiiksiinaiksi, as well as some of the early flowers that are emerging. I even tried tossing a fishing line in naapisisahtaa, with a nice grasshopper on the hook. All the same, there wasn’t even a nibble. There never is on that stretch. Near to the ground, musineon ki violets are both flowering yellow, reminding me that I must commit myself to gathering their respective roots ki leaves very soon if I want to take advantage of these early gifts of niipoyi. Also beginning to bloom are the otsiikinistsi. They present a further challenge to my ambitions of formulating an accurate understanding of ki’sommiksi, because to my knowledge their presence – no doubt fully blooming throughout the next cycle – is what is meant by aapistsisskitsaato’si. In fact, I believe it was originally called otsiikinaato’si. As we’ll always remember by reference to the history of miohpokoiksi, the yellow otsiikiniistsi used to signal that the calving season of the iiniiksi was finished, ki that it was time to go after some of those fancy newborn robes. But the presence of otsiikiniistsi this year means that aapistsisskitsaato’si will occur simultaneous with matsiyikkapisaiki’somm, if the latter arrives at all. Ki what to make of this odd dynamic, I haven’t a clue.