A few Googlers have ended up on Town Spirit in their search for the proper pronunciation of Kiskatinaw and Ksituan, two of our local rivers. Try this fun rebus to help you with Kiskatinaw:
Right, it’s kiss-KAT-in-awe. (Yes, that’s the OMG Cat and proper credit would go to him and his YouTube producer and film crew if it were easier to find out which is the original video.)
Now just because we say it that way doesn’t mean it’s a proper pronunciation. When in doubt, ask and expert. An expert in the Cree language. According to Mr. Môniyâw, That Môniyâw Linguist , “kîskatinâw means ‘cut/jagged hill or cliff’ (a ‘cutbank’). Pronounce it kees-kuh-tin-ahw if you want to say it right.”
Ah ha! So we locals have retained the original meaning, if not the original pronunciation.
As for Ksituan, here we say ks-ITCH-you-on. This is probably a muddled version of kisiskâciwan, which is also how the name Saskatchewan came to be. If so, it means something along the lines of “swift current”.
From W.F. Butler’s The Great Lone Land:
…in the land of the Saskatchewan, that land from which we have taken the Indian prefix Kis, without much improvement of length or euphony. It is a name but little known to the ear of the outside world, but destined one day or other to fill its place in the long list of lands whose surface yields back to man, in manifold, the toil of his brain and hand.
What do you think of that?
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