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Midnight in Red Lake.

The air is cool through the open bedroom window.

Dogs are barking.

Somewhere in the distance,

to the Northwest,

someone singin’ Indian.

Their song fades in and out.

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You perch with your mate,

directly in front of me,

and unmistakably declare your name.

The sound of your name follows you as you fly around.

I see you… A Grey Crested Tit Mouse.

Why has no one else heard this wonderful thing?

 

 

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Dear Readers,

In two weeks, I am going to present at a fortune 100 company as part of their diversity program. I have a half hour for my presentation and a four-by-eight table on which to place pictures or things. I get to talk about being “Indian”.  (In my case, being a member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, and having ancestors from the Red lake, Leech Lake and White Earth bands as well.) I suppose my audience will be people I’ve met from a relative’s department, and perhaps some of the big wigs from the company.

Having lived on and off the reservation and having degrees in American Indian Studies and psychology, it would be easy for me to come up with my perception of what being Indian means.  However, as part of the presentation, I would like to know and present two things. 1) What you would like to know about a person/people from these cultures if you are not from there, and 2) what you would like other people to know if you are.

For fellow Anishinabeg, I’m aware that we come from many different  reservations, reserves, places and experiences, and want to take this into account. But I need your input in order to do so. If you would like me to keep your replies confidential, I can do that, as this blog is set up so that I have to approve,  and can edit, your reply before posting it. I would however like to use your reply and at least note where it comes from.

Yours Sincerely,

Russell Littlecreek

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In Anishinabe it would be…Mino Noos Giizhigad

Mē·nō Nūs Gē·zhē·gŭd: Happy (My) Father’s Day!

 

Dear Dad,

You would have been 90, and still going strong today, if you hadn’t smoked.

Love,

your son.

 

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March is a month of many transitions so it has a few Anishinabe names to describe these. There is:

Ăn·dĕ´gō·gē´zĭs, or Crow Moon. Not that Crows migrate, but they fly around the area more. Perhaps because the warmer weather during March days melts the snow and the crows search to eat the preserved bodies of various animals which the melting snow reveals. (Hence my Haiku yesterday 🙂 )

crow moon
Also

Canadian Goose Moon

Nĭ·kĭ´gē´zĭs, or Canadian Goose Moon. This is the time of the year when the Canadian Geese start migrating back north if the weather is favorable.

There is also  Ō´nă·bă·nĭ·gē´zĭs or Hard Crusted Snow Moon. With warmer weather during the days, the snow melts and then freezes again at night, causing its surface to develop a hard crust. Sometimes, during the day, it is just warm enough for there to be sleet that freezes when it hits the frozen snow on the earth.

and,

Bĕ·bū·kwĕ´daa·gĭ·mĕ-gē´zĭs, the Snowshoe Breaking Moon; Because of the hard crust, it is easier to break your snowshoes when walking on this type of snow.

or,

Zēn·sĭ·baa·kwăd´ōkē´gē´zĭs, or, Maple Sugar Making Moon. Warm days and chilly nights are the best kind of weather for Maple Sugaring as the sap flows best in these circumstances.

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White Sucker Fish

Namebin

Thank you for spawning later this month

and feeding my people.

 

We will find you in the depths of the creeks

as dark shadows at night

as our lights and spears pierce the water.

 

You came and kept us from starving in the past,

and we are grateful.

 

_________________

Nă·mĕ·bĭ·nē  Gē·zĭs: Sucker Fish Moon / February

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Oh Great Nanabozhu,

What lesson do you have for me today?


“Wait…


Wait.”

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