Tomson Highway

Last Friday 5th May 4th ESO had a different activity. They attended a lecture at the University of La Laguna given by Tomson Highway, Cree-Canadian playwright, songwriter and pianist.


The author talked profusely about the importance of multilingualism and the cosmology of the indigenous language he was born into, the Cree. Cree is the most spoken Native language in Canada today, and many of Canada’s most well-known place names are of Cree origin including Winnipeg, Manitoba, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Ottawa. Mr. Highway, who is tri-lingual in Cree, English and French, talked about the English language as being hierarchical and sexist, compared to indigenous languages like Cree, in which, he said, we don’t have animate-inanimate comparisons between things. Animals have souls that are equal to ours. Rocks have souls, trees have souls. Trees are “who”, not “what”. The Cree worldview describes the interconnectivity between people and nature, health and balance depends on nature as the creator made animals and people. This creator is a He-She, so Cree cosmology is based on the lack of gender which is shown in the language itself. After the lecture Mr Highway got ready for the concert at the Paraninfo where he played “Songs in the Key of Cree,” accompanied by Peruvian-Canadian jazz singer Patricia Cano and saxophonist Marcus Ali, a unique occasion which some of us enjoyed.

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mayo 11, 2017