Ojibwe Stories: Gaganoonididaa - Resisting Change

Sep 6, 2017

Credit © Robert Pearl Photography. All rights reserved.

On this episode of Ojibwe Stories: Gaganoonididaa we listen to Obizaan  [Lee  Staples], a spiritual advisor for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, and Chato Gonzalez, Obizaan's apprentice and translator.  They talk about the influence of European Americans that – intentional or otherwise – caused cultural changes to the Anishinaabe way of life.

Ojibwe Stories: Gaganoonididaa is produced by KUMD and the Department of American Indian Studies at UMD, with funding provided in part by the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, and by The Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Ojibwe language-related content in this episode:

Obizaan:

Mii dash imaa wii-ni-dazhindamaan a'aw akeyaa a'aw Anishinaabe gaa-izhi-gagwaadagi'idog inow Chi-mookomaanan geyaabi sa go a’aw gagwaadagi'igon. Ishke a'aw Waabishkiiwed geget a'aw nawaj igo zhiiwenimo nawaj wiin igo ogikendaan gegoo dabazhish dash omaa odasaan o-aanawenimaan bemaadizinijin a'aw bekaan bakaaning akeyaa ezhi-bimaadizijig bakaan enaanzojig naa-go ge bakaan akeyaa ezhi-bimaadizijig. Ishke mii i'iw a’aw Waabishkiiwed geget gigii-aanawenimigonaan a’aw gii-Anishinaabewiyang ishke dash gii-aanoodizi geget wii-piimiskodood i’iw keyaa ezhi-bimaadizid a’aw Anishinaabe mii imaa gii-aanawendang i’iw isa gaa-miinigoowiziyang Anishinaabewiyang da-inweyang. Naa-go gaye ezhichigeyang i’iw izhitwaayang nooj ow keyaa gaa-izhi-miinigoowiziyang da-asemaakeyang.

Mii i'iw gaa-wiikwajitood a’aw Waabishkiiwed wii-ayaawaad inow Anishinaaben da-ni-... da-bagijiwebinang isa o’ow gaa-izhi-miinigoowizid a’aw Anishinaabe. Ishke dash mii imaa gaa-onjikaamagak imaa o’ow isa a'aw Anishinaabe gagwaadizid. Ishke aanind ayaa a’aw Anishinaabe gaa-tebwetawaad inow Waabishkiiwen aanawi wii-wayezhimigod nebowa ayaawag ingiw gaa-pagijiwebinijig i’iw keyaa gaa-izhi-gikinoo’amaagoowiziyang da-ni-izhi-bimaadiziyang. Gizhawendaagozimin sa wiin go aanind gii-ayaawag ingiw gidanishinaabeminaanig ishkweyaang gaa-ayaajig geget gii-mashkawigaabawiwag gaawiin gii-tebwetawaasiwaawaan inow Waabishkiiwen. Geget ogii-aangwaamitoonaawaa gii-ni-bimiwidoowaad i’iw akeyaa gaa-izhi-miinigoowiziyaang gidinwewininaan ezhitwaayang gii-paamitwaasig inow Waabishkiiwen.

Mii i’iw anishaa go naa wiinawaa maa-gii-mashkawigaabawiwaad ingiw akiwenziibaniig mindimooyenibaniig wenji-ayaamang i’iw geyaabi gaa-izhi-miinigoowiziyang Anishinaabewiyang. Nebowa sa wiin go dibishko giwanitoomin wii-azhegiiwemagad sa wiin go mii go imaa kawe minik inwewetooyaan.

Chato:

So, what Obizaan was talking about was a long time ago there was. You know when the white man first came over there was a lot of change, there was a lot of superiority thinking. And they forced these changes on the Anishinaabe and that’s still happening today. You know he talked about. There's a lot of this feeling of superiority within the white man and they feel that they're better than Anishinaabe and they need to fix us. Anybody that's different, thinks different, different races, they want to, they feel like they need to help us, change us, correct what they feel is wrong and you know, the same goes for our religion there. They have their ways and we have our ways but they feel their ways are better so they were out to get Anishinaabe also to change the way that they do their ceremonies and there was a lot of Anishinaabe who believed this. They abandoned their ways. They left their Anishinaabe ceremonies for the churches, missionaries. And there was a lot of Anishinaabe all through the, all through this country different types of Indians that that followed these beliefs.

But at the same time, we, you know, we were fortunate enough, at least us as Ojibwe, to have to have that group of people that didn't believe this, that fought against that, that held on to their old ways their Anishinaabe thinking, their language, and it's because of them that we still have our language, we still have our culture, we still have our ceremonies today. And they're still passing those on to us as the younger generation to carry on into the future for our children.

Obizaan:

Mii dash imaa wii-ni-dazhimag a'aw Chi-mookomaan ishke geget ogii-pi-inigaa’aan inow Anishinaaben iskweyaang geget gii-aanoodizi wii-ayaawaad isa da-aanjitoowaad  i'iw akeyaa ezhi-bimaadizijig gii-aanawenimaawaad. Ishke dash mii i'iw geget ogii-inigaa’aan inow Anishinaaben ow ganabaj omoonendaziin gaa-izhichiged. Mii imaa megwaa weweni gii-izhi-ayaayang zakab gii-izhi-ayaaying biinjina mii imaa gii-piidamowaad Anishinaaben enigaa’igod.

Ishke dash a’aw Chi-mookomaan gaye bakaan enaadizid apii dash i'iw Anishinaabe okeyaa gaa-izhi-miinigoowizid da-ni-izhi-bimaadizid. Ishke mii a’aw Chi-mookomaan endawaabandang okeyaa ge-izhi-niigaaniid i’iw dibishko go gaawiin aazhitaa onaadamawaasiin onow owiiji-bimaadizisiin eta go endawaabandang okeyaa ge-izhi-niigaaniid nawaj ozhooniyaan da-ayaawaad nooj igo onaajiwan odaabaanag inow mii eta go i’iw wenda-apiitendang nebowa gaawiin onaadamawaasiin inow owiiji-bimaadizisiin. Mii go gaye okeyaa enaadizid a'aw Waabishkiiwed.

Ishke gaa-izhi-gikinoo’amaagoowiziyang Anishinaabewiyang da-ni-manaajitooyang kina imaa eyaamaag imaa akiing. Gaawiin i’iw keyaa wiin izhi-ganawaabandaziin o’ow aki dibishko go imaa kina gegoo imaa eyaamaag inow zaaga’iganiin giigooyag ingiw a'awesiinyag. Mii imaa gaawiin o’ow Manidookesiin dibishko mii imaa shke inow zaaga’iganiin eni-doodang i'iw mii imaa apagiji-ziigwebiniged imaa baa-ayaad baamishkaad imaa iniw zaaga’iganiin. Ishke dash ow giinawind i'iw Anishinaabeyang gaa-izhi-gikinoo’amaagoowiziyang giwiindamaagoowizimin a'aw Manidoo imaa ayaa imaa aaniindi go iniw ayaamaag iniw zaaga’iganiin ziibiwan booch weweni da-ni-doodamang. Shke dash wiin imaa nishwanaajitood naa-go gaye i’iw wenda-aanoodizid gaye wii-mazhii’iged a’aw Waabishkiiwed wii-kiishkiboonaad wiikaa inow Mitigwaabiiwininiwan. Ishke a’aw Anishinaabewiyang gaa-izhi-gikinoo’amaagoowiziyang Manidoog omaa ayaawag naabawijig imaa akiing ingiw Mitigwaabiiwininiwag. Ge a’aw Anishinaabe aanind noongom ge-ni-izhichiged giishpin wii-mamiizhii’iged imaa waakaa’iganan wii-atood kawe omaa asemaan naa wiisiniwin weweni atamawaan inow Mitigwaabiiwininiwan inow Manidoon weweni eni-doodawaad. Mii go gaawiin wiin a’aw Waabishkiiwed mii go ezhi-nishwanaajitood kina go imaa eni-ayaamaag imaa kiing ishke gaye i’iw kijaabik widi a’aw ani-miigaadang a’aw Anishinaabe i’iw widi Bwaan-akiing. Ishke mii a'aw Anishinaabe egotang imaa sa da-banaajichigaadeg iniw nibi zaaga’iganiin naa-go gaye imaa akiing imaa baashkisemaag inow kijaabik mii imaa kina gii-ziigisemaag i'iw bimide imaa eni-ayaamaag.

Mii  i'iw wiinawaa wenda-apiitendaanaawaa waabanda’iwewaad ingiw Anishinaabe mii wenji-miigaanaawaad inow Waabishkiiwen iwidi. Naa-go gaye a’aw Waabishkiiwed mii go pane gaa-izhichiged naa-go gaye geyaabi ani-izhichiged geget aanoodizi wii-ayaawaad inow akina inow bemaadizinid inow da-ni-izhi-bimaadiziwaad ezhi-bimaadizid a’aw Waabishkiiwed begish dash gashki’ewizisig naa-go gaye aangwaamitoon Anishinaabe odani-asemaaked ishke imaa noomaya gii-piinjwebinamowind a’aw Niigaanizid omaa akiing eyaayang a’aw Trump ezhi-wiinind da-gichi-ogimaawid ishke a’aw geget a’aw aanawenimaan inow bekaan enaanzonid inow bemaadizinijin bakaan ezhitwaanijin gegoo da-wii-inigaa’aasiin zhigwa imaa enabi’ind da-niigaanizid ayaangwaamitoonaawaa ingiw Anishinaabe da-biindaakoojigewaad.

Naanaa-go gaye gaawiin omoozhitoosiin omoonendaziin gaa-izhi-maazhi-doodawaad inow bemaadizinijin a'aw wenjida ingiw Anishinaabeg. Ishke mii i'iw wenjikaamaag imaa gaa-toodawind a'aw nebowa a’aw Anishinaabe da-baakwa’igaazod widinaa-go gaye wenda-zaamiikang minikwewin anooj aabajitood ishke mii imaa wiisagendam gwaadagizid imaa i’iw gaa-toodawind mii imaa wenjikaamaag wiin a’aw Waabishkiiwed odizhichigewin a'aw omoonendaziin eta go imaa enaapinemaad iniw Anishinaaben dazhindang izhi-giiwashkwebishkinid naa-go gaye  i'iw pane gibaakwa’igaazonid. Gaawiin nimoonendaziin mii i'iw gimookiimaag i'iw imaa gaa-izhichigaanaad gii-inigaa’aad anishinaaben. Ishke dash o’ow Waabishkiiwed da-wii-pizindawaan inow Anishinaaben ishke gaa-izhi-miinigoowiziyang okeyaa da-izhi-bimaadiziyang i'iw da-ni-apiitendamang gegoo mii i'iw imaa da-ni-ganawaabandang da-ni-gikendang da-ni-gwayakosidood i’iw keyaa eni-izhichiged o’ow Waabishkiiwed. Naa-go gaye booch go da-zhawenimaanaan a’aw Chi-mookomaan geget imaa gidoodaagonaan booch imaa gegoo giwii-nishkaadendaziimin gaa aapiji.

Mii i'iw gaa-onji-igooyang da-zhawenimang a'aw bemaadizid miisawa ge-ni-izhichiged ani-doodawaad Anishinaaben. Ishke mii i'iw nishkaadendang a'awiiya mii i'iw wenjida eniga’igod a'aw bemaadizid ishke imaa a'aw Anishinaabe wenishkaadenimaad Waabishkiiwen gaawiin a’aw maazhi-doodawasiin inow Chi-mookomaanan. Wiin imaa maazhi-doodaadizo. Ishke i'iw maji-ayi’iim bemiwidood a'awiiya mii imaa wenjikaamagadinig a’aw aakoziishkaagod naa-go gaye imaa i’iw enjikaamagadinig gaye mino-ayaasig. Mii go ezhi-aakoziishkaagod nebowa imaa bimiwidood imaa biinjina a'aw bemaadizid. Ishke dash mii i'iw Anishinaabe ge-onji-izhichiged booch da-zhawenimaad inow Chi-mookomaanan. Mii go i’iw.

Chato:

So, in this last section Obizaan was talking about Chi-mookomaan in general. They were really after the Anishinaabe to change our ways. You know. They really messed us up, you know we have a lot of problems as a result and you know, in their minds, they probably didn't have these intentions and they really thought they were helping us, saving us. You know taking the savage out of us. I guess they used to say. So, it's not that they had cruel intentions when they when they did what they did to us you know. They really thought they were helping us.

But as a result, we have all these problems. They really messed us up. You know he was talking about their way of life versus ours, you know. As they have there's just some slight differences, you know? You know what he has seen and they just they don't have a sense of community. They're all for themselves. “How can how can I get ahead? How can I do better?” You know, they don't care how it affects their fellow humans or fellow beings. They don't care if they hurt them or if they helped them get ahead, you know, and that's the difference. You know, we're always trying to, we're always trying to help each other out how can we bring our community up. That's what we want to strive for and that's different and there's that difference there. They don't have the same respect for their environment. You know, a lot of them a lot of them see it as their playgrounds. You know, they trash our lakes, they dump their garbage in there, they think it's there for their pleasure. And as Anishinaabe we're taught that there's a Manidoo in each one of those bodies of water and that we have to put our tobacco for them before we get in those lakes and use the water, go fishing, what not, and that's difference. They don't. They don't look at it in the same way. There's no respect, there's no connection, there's no bond between the two.

And you know the same goes for our forests, our trees. You know, they just go there and they start clear cutting them all down with no regards on what they're doing to the environment and as Anishinaabe, we believe there's a Manidoo in each one of those trees. Mitigwaabiiwinini is the name of that Manidoo. You know, before we go out and before we cut those trees, before we use those trees we bring tobacco and offerings to them and asked for permission to use them. They don't have the same connection, again, you know, they don't put their tobacco and they don't use any kind of respect and with dealing with them.  

He talked about the pipeline that's going on right now. The Dakota access pipeline and this is a major event for Anishinaabe right now. They're trying to lay that pipe lane across the Missouri River north of the Standing Rock Reservation and that's their main source of water. That's where they get their water. That water is life to us, you know, for all people, not just Anishinaabe, but for people in general. For everything that lives on this earth, everything that lives on this earth needs water to survive and if you ruin that water, if they put that pipeline through that lake, through that river and it leaks and it bursts and it goes into that water that it'll kill everything within it. We won't be able to use it'll kill the fish, kill everything, kill us.

So, you know, we have to be there to be careful when we think about stuff like that. You know there is actually a lot of pipelines that run through Anishinaabe country that most people aren't even aware of and you know we need to take a look at all that, and how that affects our environment. And, you know, are we really getting ahead by putting those pipelines through?

 

And then you know recently. We have a new president. You know he recently got elected. Trump. You know, he has he has no respect for Anishinabe, no respect for anybody, no respect for any other races. You know, he's you know talks about, outright openly talks about races or makes racist comments. Talks about religions and any other religion as inferior any other race as inferior. He's hurting people. He’s really, he's hurting people and he's allowing and he's making it OK for other people to hurt others that are non-white. You know, there's the one superior race and that’s all he sees.

And you know, this this kind of thinking this way of superiority over other races and religions has really caused a lot of problems for us, you know, and as a result, you know, there's, you know, there's a lot of alcoholism and we have a lot of Anishinaabe that are in prisons. And

there's a lot of problems as a result and they see these problems and then they sit, they sit back at the same time and talk about how messed up Anishinaabe are, alcoholics and criminals and, you know, what that, what not, and they don't they don't realize at the same time that all these problems stem from them trying to conform us as Anishinaabe to be like them to live as a Chi-mookomaan. and you know we have to work hard at getting back to our own ways, correcting those, all those wrongs. And at the same time, we have to have, we have to have compassion still. You know as Obizaan always reminds us, we have to have compassion, we have to have forgiveness and have forgiveness for them and we can't carry on all that anger. All the anger that we carry with us is only hurting us. You know, he always talks about. You know that when we carry around all that anger, it's not so much hurting the person that anger is geared at, it's hurting us. Then we have to take a look at that anger that we carry within us is making a sick. And we have to deal with that that within us and have compassion for everybody that that has done us wrong including the white man.