C. Douglas Ellis and Marie-Odile Junker
Web development:
Marie-Odile Junker
Delasie Torkornoo
Editorial assistant:
Katie Martinuzzi (2017-2018)
Date of publication:
Financial support:
SSHRC grant # 435-2014-1199
Supporting institutions (Canada):
Carleton University
Omushkego Education – Mushkegowuk Council


The Eastern Swampy Cree and Moose Cree Web Dictionary contains nearly 9,000 words. It represents the Cree dialects spoken in the Western James Bay region, in what is today part of Ontario, Canada.

It is based on the documentation work of Dr. C. Douglas Ellis, conducted for over 50 years. Dr. Ellis first moved to Moose Factory in 1947 and then lived in Kashechewan until 1958. He kept documenting the language during regular summer visits until 1990 and with speakers in Ottawa until 2010. This documentation work was published in the three volumes of Spoken Cree and their glossary, as well as in the âtalôhkâna nêsta tipâpcimôwina, Cree Legends and Narratives from the West Coast of James Bay. and its glossary. A compiled version of these glossaries containing base forms (stems) was progressively published on the spokencree website from 2009 to 2016.

As it is the usage in other Algonquian dictionaries, full words, instead of only base forms are provided here for word entries.

With the major changes that have occurred in the Cree language, including serious attrition and language shift to English for the youngest generations, the language represented here reflects a historical period of how it was spoken around 1955-70, in different narrative genres and in different communities. Eastern Swampy Cree or the “n” dialect communities represented here include: Peawanuck, Attawapiskat, Fort Albany, Moosonee. A dictionary specific to Fort Severn is available here. Moose Cree or the l-dialect communities include: Moose Factory, Kashechewan. A dictionary specific to Moose Cree is available here.

This edition allows searches in English and Cree, both in roman and syllabics orthographies. For each entry we usually provide the Moose Cree and the Swampy Cree form, unless it is specific to one dialect. Each dialect uses different orthographic conventions for the syllabics (see syllabics charts). In Moose Cree (l-dialect), so-called Eastern finals are used, while Eastern Swampy Cree (n-dialect) traditionally uses Western finals. Both dialects use the dot which represents the w (also called w-dot) on the left. For example: ᐙᐳᔥ , ᐗᐳᐡ, wâpoš. [Note that, as you go West, other (Swampy) Cree dialects will use this w-dot on right, but in the East, all around James Bay, w-dot is on the left.]
According to the Cree of Ontario Syllabic spelling conference held in 1996 – document entitled Omushkego Cree Syllabic Project: Final Report) pointed syllabics (dot-above), indicating vowel length are used in the l-dialect, but not in the n-dialect. In 1996, the n-dialect also decided not to indicate pre-aspirated consonants (h) ᐦ in the syllabics. We provide here a relaxed search module that allows for many alternate spellings both in roman and syllabics, and also searches for English synonyms.

Forthcoming additional functionalities will include morphological analysis, thematic tagging, example sentences with sound files and language-learning help.


A big heartfelt Mîkwec to the following past and present speakers who told âtalôhkâna and stories, participated in recordings, helped with transcriptions, and shared their knowledge of the language over the years. We are grateful for what you did to pass on the beautiful Cree language. Without your contribution, this dictionary would not have been possible.

  • Agnes Hunter
  • Alex Spence
  • Alexander Sutherland
  • Andrew Faries
  • Anne Scott
  • Clara Conn
  • Ellen McLeod
  • Elsie Chilton
  • Emily Chilton
  • Emily Wynne
  • Ernest Sutherland
  • Gabriel Kiokee
  • Gilbert Faries
  • Gordon Spence
  • Gregory Spence
  • Hannah Loon
  • Hannah Wynne
  • Isaiah Sutherland
  • James Gunner
  • Jerry Spence (Gerry)
  • James Wesley
  • Jane Moore
  • Joel Linklater
  • John Carpenter
  • John Wynne
  • Margaret Nicholson
  • Mary Bird
  • Mary-Lou Iahtail
  • Matthew Sutherland
  • Monica Okimaw
  • Mr. & Mrs. Simon Friday
  • Mr. M. Metat
  • Pauline Kostachin
  • Silas Wesley
  • Simeon Scott
  • Sophie Gunner
  • William Edwards
  • William Louttit
  • Willie Frenchman
  • Xavier Sutherland