Cree Language

How do you pronounce the word “Cree”? What does it mean?

The name Cree, comes from “Kristineaux”, or “Kri” for short; a name given to Native Americans from the James Bay area by French fur traders.

“Cree” rhymes with the English word “see.” It’s a shortened form of the French word for the tribe, Kristeneaux, but it’s not clear where that word came from. It may have been a French mispronunciation of a Cree clan name (Kenistenoag) or a Cree mispronunciation of the French word for “Christian” (Chrétien.) In their own language the Crees call themselves Iyiniwok or Ininiwok, meaning “the people,” or Nehiyawok, “speakers of the Cree language.”

Some Easy Cree Words:

  • tansi (pronounced tahn-sih) is a friendly greeting
  • mahti (pronounced mah-tih) means “please”

Cree Language Resources


Resource for Lessons in the Cree Language

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