Join us as Solomon reflects on his life and discusses his new book, kâ-pî-isi-kiskisiyân: The Way I Remember, an important memoir that celebrates his perseverance and life after residential school.
Solomon Ratt was born on the banks of the Churchill River just north of the community of Stanley Mission. His parents were hunters and fishers who lived off the land, spending their winters on the trapline and summers fishing in La Ronge. Solomon spent the first six winters of his life with his parents who didn’t speak English. They knew the ways of the land They also knew the traditional stories passed down through generations, which they told to Solomon and his siblings.
At the age of six Solomon was abducted from his home and taken to the residential school in Prince Albert where he began his schooling. He had the first three grades in the residential school then, starting at grade four, he attended Queen Mary School, a school in the community of Prince Albert while living at the residential school. After the residential school he was part of INAC’s boarding out program, living in a family’s home, and a group home, while attending Riverside Collegiate. After high school he attended the University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus, which became the University of Regina in 1976. He has two BAs (one in English literature and another in linguistics), and an MA in English Literature. He is a recipient of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit (2021) and The Queens’s Platinum Medallion (2022).
He has been teaching the Cree language and Cree Literature at the First Nations University since 1984 (as a sessional) and full time since 1986. Solomon retired in 2022.
Solomon has done numerous translations from English to Cree and in addition has several publications in Cree including nīhithaw ācimowina – Woods Cree Stories (2014) and māci-nēhiyawēwin – Beginning Cree (2016), both published through the University of Regina Press. Another book through UofR Press was just published in January 2023, kâ-pê-isi-kiskisiyân, ᑳᐯᐃᓯᑭᐢᑭᓯᔮᐣ, The Way I Remember.
He loves stories and storytelling.