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Indigenous Peoples' Literature

Chippewa/Ojibway/Anishinabe
Literature


"You can not destroy one who has dreamed a dream like mine."

("Gaa wiin daa-aangoshkigaazo ahaw enaabiyaan gaa-inaabid.")


"What the people believe is true."

Anishinabe saying


"The 'White Indian' is too susceptible to wrongdoing.
He always wants money. That is the reason for such poverty.
What is being left for our children - for the future generation?
And what then will they live on?

George Walters, White Earth
Chippewa


"Toward calm and shady places I am walking on the Earth."
Ojibway Song


The Chippewa nation's traditional significance of its name in their own language, "to roast until puckered up," refers to the puckering in seams of moccasins when held too close or too longtoward a fire. They are also called Ojibwa, as the band preferred. The Chippewa are one of the two largest divisions ofthe Algonquin linguistic family. Originally from the Sault Sainte Marie region, they extended along the entire shore of Lake Huron and both shores of Lake Superior, as well as into the northern interior of North Dakota after separating into Chippewa, Ottawa and Potawatomi. During the 19th century they gradually gathered upon reservations in the United States and Canada. In 1650, the Chippewa population stood at 35,000. In 1764 at 25,000. They scattered into many states in the Central and Plains regions.


"Born Ojibway, hopefully they'll let me die that way too!" Charles Phillip White


We are one people with three names. Those names are Chippewa, Ojibway and Anishinabe. Each name has it's own history and as best I can I will describe the differences and usage below. The following is basedupon my research and my own cultural exposure and any errors or inconsistencies are my doing.

Chippewa "Chip-eh-wa"

The name Chippewa is the "official" name as recognized by the United States Government and is used on all treaties. As such, this name is often used when talking in an official matter, or informally to non-Indian people.

Ojibway "Oh-jib-way"

This name is the most popular and the most proper as given it was given by our enemies. We use this when talking with other Indian people or someone more familiar than the above "Chippewa". It has many different spellings; Ojibway, Odjibwa, Odjibwe, Ojibwag, Ochipoy, Tschipeway, Chepeways, Achipoes and others. There is some controversy over it's real meaning, but suffice it to say it means, "to pucker. "There are some that believe it is due to our puckered seam moccasins that were sewn that way to keep the snow out. There is another meaning too but I won't go into that here.

Anishinabeg "Ann-eh-shin-ah-beg"

This is the word that we call ourselves. Generally, it is reserved for Anishinabe people to refer to themselves, although there are some that would rather be known by this name. Actually, the Anishinabe are also people that live in our creation stories. They are the original people and were very weak.

One meaning is "original people as opposed to those other people who came later. "Another meaning is "Original people meaning creators, as opposed to those who cannot create". Connotations of the first meaning are that
the "original people" came down from the sky.



Poems


Grandfather Story

Grandfather,
Look at our brokenness.

We know that in all creation
Only the human family
Has strayed from the Sacred Way.

We know that we are the ones
Who are divided
And we are the ones
Who must come back together
To walk in the Sacred Way.

Grandfather,
Sacred One,
Teach us love, compassion, and honor
That we may heal the earth
And heal each other.


Ojibway Prayer

Oh Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds
And whose breath gives life to everyone,
Hear me.

I come to you as one of your many children;
I am weak .... I am small ... I need your wisdom
and your strength.

Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes ever
behold the red and purple sunsets
Make my hands respect the things you have made.
And make my ears sharp so I may hear your voice.

Make me wise, so that I may understand what you
have taught my people and
The lessons you have hidden in each leaf
and each rock.

I ask for wisdom and strength
Not to be superior to my brothers, but to be able
to fight my greatest enemy, myself.
Make me ever ready to come before you with
clean hands and a straight eye.
So as life fades away as a fading sunset.
My spirit may come to you without shame


Tree Singing

some have said they could go
into the earth
and sit there singing
some have said they would go
up into trees
standing stone people
were the ones who sent them there
sitting high up in the trees
trees grown from the sacred roots
where they were one day
sitting inside the earth and singing
with those stones


Anishnabe Migration Story

Father of Indian Corn

Forsaken Brother

Great Serpent and the Great Flood

How Dogs Came to the Indians

Ice Man and the Messenger of Springtime

Legend of the Big Bird

Legend of the White Bear

There was once an Indian couple who lived in the North. The Warrior was a trapper who trapped beaver in a lot of different ponds in the Winter. One day when he returned from checking his traps he heard his wife calling. She had grabbed a beaver by its tail and told her husband to kill it. He told her that he could not do this as he had already trapped just so many in that pond and that if he killed anymore then the rest would flee. She released the beaver but became very angry. That night after the warrior had gone to sleep; she ran from the lodge. The next morning when the warrior awoke he noticed that she was gone but he saw her tracks in the snow and followed them. After many miles he noticed that her footprints gradually changing. At last they became the tracks of a skunk and he then noticed that there were many skunks in the area.

When he returned to his people; he called this "The Place of the Skunk".

This is the Ojibwa meaning for CHICAGO.

Source: Jack Powell


Treaties

Treaty with the Chippewa & Ottawa - March 28, 1836

Treaty with the Chippewa - July 29, 1837

Treaty with the Chippewa - October 4, 1842

Treaty with the Chippewa - September 30, 1854


Other Related Home Pages

Anishinabe Computing Sciences and Engineering Project

Ojibwe Language and Culture: Essays


ANISHINAABE ANAMAHEWIN

Gichi-manidoo

Nwaandawag noodinong
Miinawaa bimaadiziwin akiing etood
Bazindawishin! Nindagaachiinyiw miinawaa niniimiz.
Ninandawendaan gimishkawiziiwin miinawaa gigikendaasowin.

Bagidinishin wii-bimoseyaan wii-gonaajiwiyaan miinawaa
Nishkiinzhigoon apane ji-ani-waabandang meskwaag apaangishimog.

Nininjiin ji-ani-gichi-apiitendang gakina gegoon gaa-ozhitooyan
Miinawaa weweni wii-noondamaan ekidoyan.

Gikendamawishin wii-ani-nistotamaan gakina gegoon
Gaa-gikinoohamaadiwaa bemaadizijig.

Bagidinishin wii-ani-gikendamaan gikina gegoon gaa-ikidoyan
Aniibiishing miinawaa asiniing.

Mashkawiziiwin nindandane'aan, gaa wiin go nawaj wii-gichi-apiitendaagoziyaan niikaanenyag dash
Wii-miigaanag gichi-zhiingenimag -- niin.

agidinishin apane wii-gizhiitaayaan wii-bi-izhaaminaan
Wii-mno-ganawaabamiyan apii waabaminaan.

Mii dash apii bimaadiziwin ni ningoshkaag dibishkoo apangishimog
Ninjichaag giga-bi-izhaamigon -- gaa win nga-giizaadendasii.


Aweggaen madeweegganas ntreaarowerreag guretageeg fewqutreneerecweeganaenmoganen frossudageeg e'reootrweegwegasduidwag wertewag csoartoertwagnonertsawag Anishnibe e'in Anishnikek e'weegna daorerwag US . (fool)wertagegweegan , A'HO . migwetch kegandweegan hadsicmakewas weegan bizig .

We are The People and this is from My People to Your People.

Bizig , A'Ho .!!

Miigwech!!!



References:

Deleary, Nicholas. 1990. "The Midewiwin, an aboriginal spiritual institution. Symbols of continuity: a native studies culture-based perspective." Carleton University MA Thesis, M.A. 1990. D44.

Dewdney, Selwyn Hanington. 1975. The Sacred Scrolls of the Southern Ojibway. Toronto, U.P. E99.C6D43

Kallmann, Helmut and Potvin, Gilles (eds.). 1992. Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, ML106.C36E52. Native music section.

Landes, Ruth. 1968. Ojibwa Religion and the Midewiwin. Milwaukee: University of Wisconsin Press, E99 C6 L28.

Vecsey, Christopher. 1983. Traditional Ojibwa Religion and its Historical Changes. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, E99 C6 V43.

Benton-Banai, Edward. 1988. The Mishomis Book - The Voice of the Ojibway. St. Paul: Red School House publishers.




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