Ojibwe Stories: Gaganoonididaa - The Three Camps of Ojibwe Culture (Part 2 of 2)

Oct 17, 2017

Lake Mille Lacs Sand
Credit David Berger [via Flickr]

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. 

In this two-episode series, Obizaan talks about what he calls the three different "camps" in Ojibwe culture: the "traditional" camp, the "lost spirit" camp, and the "hang around the fort" camp.

In this second  episode (of two), they continue discussing the differences between the three camps, in particular the "lost spirit" camp, and the "hang around the fort" camp.

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:

Ishke dash imaa gaye nidazhimaag ingiw anishinaabeg ge eni-bimiwidoojig i'iw akeyaa gaa-izhi-oonwewiziyaang anishinaabewiyang ingiw aanawendanzig geyaabi eni-bimiwidoowaad i'iw akeyaa gaa-izhi-miinigoowiziyaang. Mii dash imaa pi-wii-ni-maajitaayaan wii-ni dazhimagwaa ingiw Anishinaabeg gaa-debwetawaajig iniw Waabishkiiwen gii-webinamowaad aanawendamowaad i'iw akeyaa gaa-izhi-miinigoowiziyang Anishinaabewiyang

 

Ishke dash mii imaa gaa-tazhimagwaa ingiw Anishinaabeg nawaj i'iw gaa-gii-ozhitoojig dibishkoo ishke o'ow debwetawaawaan inow Waabishkiiwen aanawendamowaad Anishinaabeg gaa-ina'oonwewizid gaawiin i'iw akeyaa naazikaagesiiwag biinish gaye imaa gaawiin gaye iniw Waabishkiiwen widi inakamigizinid ezhitwaanid odebwetaziinaawaa dibishkoo ge gaawiin i'iw apenimosiiwag gaye i'iw. Ishke dash mii i'iw wenji-gaa-gii-ozhitoowaad ingiw Anishinaabeg dibishkoo gaawiin gegoo odayaanziinaawaa ge-apenimowaad ge-inaabadinig ge-naadamaagowaad i'iw oniigaaniimiwaang da-ni-bimiwinigoowaad weweni da-ni-izhi-bimaadiziwaad.

 

Ishke dash geget ingiw dibishkoo wiisagendamoog o'ow biinjina. Ishke imaa ingii-tazhindaamin imaa o'ow bijiinaago imaa a'aw Anishinaabe inow ojichaagwan odayaawaan ishke imaa dabwaa ondaadizid omaa megwaa imaa zhigwa gaa-maajitaad inow omaamaayan gii-kigishkaagod gii-pimiwinigod imaa biinjina mii imaa o'apii o'ow isa biindigeshkaagod inow ojichaagwan iniw Anishinaabe a'aw inow ojichaagwan.

 

Ishke dash a'aw mii a'aw eni-bimiwinang megwaa imaa eni-bibazhaagiiying omaa akiing biinjina imaa ayaa naago gaye mii a'aw azhigwa gegoo ani-izhiwebiziying eni-aanjikiiying, mii a'aw eni-maajaad aw, go maajaa'iweyaang mii imaa o-naadamaageying inow wiindamawind a'aw ojichaag a'aw ge-ni-izhaad widi gii-miinigoowiziyang ge-ni-izhaaying gegoo ezhiwebiziyang miish akeyaa a'aw anishinaabewi.

 

Ishke dash imaa a'aw anishinaabe eni-ayaangwaamitoosig aanawendang i'iw akeyaa gaa-izhi-ina'oonwewiziyang Anishinaabewiyang mii iniw enigaa'aajin inow ojichaagwan. Aaniish naa Anishinaabe mii a'aw waa-ayaang o'ow akeyaa sa da-ni-ayaangwaamitood inow o'ow bemaadizid i'iw gaa-izhi-miinigoowizid i’iw Anishinaabewid. Mii i'iw ishke naa aabajitood odinwewin Anishinaabe eni-naazikaaged eni-asemaaked anooj i'iw ani-bimiwidood akeyaa Anishinaabeg gaa-miinigoowizid mii inow nayaadamawaajin imaa biinjina bemiwinaajiin.

 

Ishke dash i'iw dibishkoo go wiisagendam imaa a'aw biinjina eyaad i'iw imaa eni-bimiwidoosig a'aw Anishinaabe gaa-ina'oonigod iniw Manidoon mii dash imaa nebowa a'aw Anishinaabe gaa-pay'iwed i'iw minikwewin gii-mamood anooj gegoo eni-aabajitood noongom wenda-inigaa'igod a'aw Anishinaabe mii imaa wenji-apay'iwed bangii go imaa minokaagod eni-minowaanigwendang mii imaa wenji-naazikang gomaapii sa wenda-wiisagishkaagon anooj ezhi-wanitood i'iw akeyaa gaa-izhi-miinigoowizid i'iw a'aw Anishinaabe ani-gagwaadagizid. Ishke dash i'iw mii imaa mii gaye imaa i'iw wenjikaamaag nebowa a'aw Anishinaabe o'ow isa dibishkoo wani'ang.

 

Ishke aaniindi go baandanakiid a'aw Anishinaabe ginoondaamin nebowa ayaa a'aw Anishinaabe imaa eni-zaamiikang i'iw minikwewin naago gaye eni-zaamiikang i'iw anooj ani-aabajitood o'ow noongom a’aw bemaadizid ishke gaye bajiishka'igaazod geget a'aw meshkawaamaag noongom eni-aabajitood i'iw bemaadizid nebowa nisigoon i'iw dibishkoo zaam-amooday i'iw. Mii i'iw minik gaa-igod naago gaye nesigod.

 

Ishke dash gaye o'ow mii gaye imaa dibishkoo ishke gii-koopadenimigooyang a'aw Anishinaabewiyang gii-aanawenimigooyang a'aw anooj gii-igooyang mii imaa dibishkoo imaa, "ani-debwetaw a'aw Waabishkiiwed" gaa-inaad iniw Anishinaaben goopadizinid. Mii imaa dibishkoo ani-debwetamowaad ongow imaa gaa-gii-ozhitoojig, ganoozh anishinaabeg debwetamowaad goopadiziwaad mii dash o'ow akeyaa ezhi-bimiwidoowaad i'iw bimaadiziwaad wenda-goopadishkaagowaad i'iw ani-aabajitoowaad. Mii eta go i'iw aanind baanimaa gaa-kwiinawebinigewaad dibishkoo wenda-wiisagishkaagowaad i'iw akeyaa ezhi-bimaadiziwaad mii i'iw bijiinag dash imaa eni-aanjitoowaad o'ow gaa-izhi-miinigoowiziyang Anishinaabewiyang.

 

Ishke mii ko imaa ekidoyaan geget a'aw minochige inow oniijaanisensan aya'aansiwinid imaa izhiwinaad a'aw Anishinaaben dazhi-manidooked eni-izhiwiniwaad. Ishke eni-gichi-aya'aawid mii imaa eni-mikwendang i'iw giishpin i'iw anishaa webiniged oniigaaning ani-mamood i'iw minikwewin enigaa’igod Anishinaabe zhigwa enendang wiin da-wii-poonitood mii i'iw mekwendang i'iw akeyaa gaa-izhi-nitaawigi'ind. Mii imaa epa'iwed ezhi-giiwed dibishkoo dibishkoo eni-naadamaagod dash i'iw weweni da-ni-bimiwidood i'iw bimaadiziwin.

 

Aanind sa wiin go nebowa gaawiin giwani'aanaanig ingiw gidanishinaabeminaanig. Ishke gaye nebowa gaye mii wenji-gibaakwa'igaazowaad ingiw gidinanishinaabeminaanig i'iw wenji-zaamiikamowaad minikwewin naago gaye aanind i'iw gaa-onji-aanjikiiwaad gii-ginisigowaad i'iw aabajitooyang. Ishke dash o'ow booch gizhawenimaanaanig ingiw imaa anishinaabeg o'ow keyaa enaadizijig eni-gaa-gii-ozhitoojig dibishkoo weweni inow asemaan ani-odatawaawaan gizhawenimaanaanig naa da-mikwendamang i'iw wenji-izhiwebiziwaad i'iw mii widi wenjikaamaag i'iw Waabishkiiwen gii-wenda-inigaa'aad wenda-goopadenimaad inow Anishinaaben nebowa gii-tebwedamowaad. Mii go iw.

 

So, Obizaan last talked about what he considers a lost spirit camp. These are the ones that, kind of, they don't go either way, they don't necessarily believe in the white man ceremonies or, you know, hold them at high regards or nothing, but the same time, they don't hold our nation Anishinaabe ways in high regards either. They're just kind of in between, they don't know where to go. It's like they're in limbo. They just... they're lost they need some kind of a support system and there is none as a result.

 

You know, he talked about, you know, as Anishinaabe, we have the spirit within us, you know, that spirit that we have to nurture, we have to take care of and that spirit is Anishinaabe. And when we don't follow our ways, we don't follow our teachings, we don't speak our language, we hurt that spirit within us, and that spirit's always looking for something looking for help, you know, and they're looking for our ceremonies, our way of life but those people that are lost, they just don't know, necessarily know, how to, how to feed that spirit. And as a result, a lot of them go to alcohol and drugs for that, you know, and there's a lot of happiness and whatnot within our ceremonies and at the same time, they go to alcohol and drugs for that quick high and quick good feeling.

 

You know, today, especially today, the drugs are getting harder and harder and stronger. And we have a lot of deaths, you know, a long of time. We had, a long time ago, we had a lot of deaths from alcohol, but today more and more, you know, these deaths from overdoses are overpowering all that drinking that Anishinaabe had did a long time ago and a lot of ODs. People are shooting up a lot of these drugs and heroin and methamphetamines and cocaine, stuff like that, and it's killing our Anishinaabe people, you know? We hear almost daily, on one of our reservations, somebody is dying because of overdoses of these drugs. We need to take a look at that, you know, a lot of these Anishinaabe, you know, they internalize a lot of that.

 

They were always looked down upon, that they were worthless, they weren't capable of any kind of success, and they believe that and they internalize that, you know. And there's a lot of depression because of it when they start using these drugs and alcohol as… These things are causing more depression so, you know, you take those two things together and they're raising heck, causing all kinds of problems within the reservations and it's not until those people that are, that are lost, that are in limbo, come back to our ways, our Anishinaabe ways, that they'll be helped, you know? That is what helps us, that is what gives us that happiness or that peace within that so nurtures our Anishinaabe spirit that we have within. Talked about he’s always happy to see those Anishinaabe come back to our ways and this is what we were taught, this is what they were given, this is what we were given, and this is what we need to embrace.

 

There's a lot of lost Anishinaabe, you know, there are a lot of people in prisons, we have a lot of Anishinaabe that are in prisons, a lot of Anishinaabe that are killing each other on our reservations as a result. As he talked about last time, as far as forgiveness and compassion, we have to forgive them and have compassion for them and at the same time this is not their fault, you know. A lot of this was passed down, historical trauma, as he talked about. We need to have compassion for them and help those Anishinaabe that are in limbo and help bring them back and show them what our ceremonies can do for them. It can really bring them true happiness versus those alcohol and drugs.

 

Ishke mii imaa gaye gii-tazhimagwaa ingiw Anishinaabeg gaa-gii-ozhitoojig. Gaawiin odayaanziinaawaa dibishkoo imaa ge-pay'iwewaad ge-apenimowaad. Mii dash o’ow wii-ni-dazhimagwaa dash ingiw Anishinaabeg wenda-debwetawaajig inow Waabishkiiwen mii go ge-wenda-apiitenimaajig inow Chi-mookomaanan akina gegoo a'aw Chi-mookomaan ezhichiged gaa-ina'oonwewizid mii widi chi-ishpiming atoowaad chi-apiitenimaawaad enendamowaad eni-aanwendamowaad i'iw Anishinaabe gaa-izhi-ina'oonwewizid. Mii eta go waa-kwajitoowaad ongow Anishinaabeg omaa enaadizijig i'iw akeyaa mii o’ow wenda-ayaangwaamitoowaad i'iw akeyaa dibishkoo i’iw Chi-mookomaaniwiwaad. Gaawiin sa wiin go da-aanjitoosiinaawaa ezhinaagoziwaad. Ishke gaawiin onjida gaye a’aw gii-izhiwebizisiin a’aw Anishinaabe i'iw akeyaa dibishkoo gii-kiikisidood akeyaa ezhi-bimaadizid. Ishke mii i'iw nebowa gaa-inendamowaagwen mii i'iw ge-izhichigeyaan i'iw da-ni-niigaaniziyaan dibishkoo weweni da-ni-ganawenindizoyaan da-ni-bami'idizoyaan da-ayaangwaamitooyaan o’ow Waabishkiiwed ishke imaa da-wawiingewiziyaan imaa gikinoo'amaagoziyaan biinish ko da-gabe-kiizhiikamaan i’iw widi gikinoo'amaagoziyaan mii i'iw ge-naadamaagooyaan. Ishke dash i'iw mii imaa gii-wanendamowaad i'iw Anishinaabewiwaad o'ow akeyaa gaa-izhi-miinigoowiziyaang Anishinaabewiyaang.

 

Ishke gaye mii go imaa enaadizinid inow Waabishkiiwen gewiinawaa enaadiziwaad ishke ko imaa baa-ayaayaan a’aw Anishinaabe ayaad, a'aw bangan igo izhi-ayaa a’aw Anishinaabe mii imaa eni-gaagiigidowaad. Mii i'iw gaawiin onzaamaanigidoonesiiwag akeyaa Waabishkiiwed enaadiziwaad. Ishke ko oganawaabanadaanaawaa imaa biindigeyeg imaa Wiisiniwigamigong ayaawaad ingiw Waabishkiiweg ingiw Chi-mookomaanag imaa aabideg waa-inwewaad waa-naanigidooniwaad dibishkoo ongow asiginaakwag.

 

Mii i'iw imaa ominwendaziinaawaa dibishkoo bangan, banganinig, mii imaa nooj iniw waawiyegimaawaad imaa wenda-gaagiigidowaad. Ishke nimikwenimaag ingiw netaawigijig a'aw gaa-taayaang imaa waasayi’ii imaa nanaamadabiyaan mii imaa bizindawagwaa dibishkoo imaa mawadisawaawaad bi-naazikaagowaad awiiya. Ishke nigikenimaag ozaagi’aawaan inow waa-pi-mawadisaagoowaad, mii imaa minik imaa eni-gaagiigidowaad eni-mawadisaadiwaad, mii go imaa gomaapii ezhi-bangang. Wenipan iko gegoo de-ikidowaad. Ishke dash ingow ani-maajaawaad ingiw waa-pi-mawadishiwejig imaa aabiding ingii-kagwejimaag, “aaniin danaa ezhi-bangitooyeg imaa?” “Gigikendaan i'iw gizaagi’aawaag ingiw gaa-pi-dagoshimoonojig imaa minik dash imaa gii-ni-gaagiigidosiweg,” mii i'iw gaa-ikidowaad gaawiin memwech. “Ninaa’aabigaanigidoosimin,” mii i’iw gaa-ikidowaad Anishinaabeg akeyaa enaadizid. Ishke dash ko imaa baa-ayaayaan imaa. Besho ko imaa ayaawag aanind ingiw Anishinaabeg mii go izhi-moonenimagwaa widi gii-wiikobinigoowaad inow Waabishkiiwen. Mii o'ow gewiin ezhichigewaad, “hay-yay, daa-bagaanigidooniwag,” mii go gegapii ezhi-zhiingitawagwaa, gaawiin, gaawiin o'ow akeyaa a'aw Anishinaabe bi-noondawaasiin ezhichiged.

 

Mii i'iw ezhichigewaad ingiw Anishinaabeg naago gaye mii imaa gaye gii-tebwetawaawaad inow Waabishkiiwen enigaa’idizowaad ingow wenda-bagijiwebinamowaad inow Manidoon gaa-ina’oonigoowaad inow naago gaye mii i'iw ezhichigewaad. Ishke widi chi-ishpiming asaawaad inow Waabishkiiwen chi-apiitenimaawaad mii dash imaa azhitaa wendigaamaawaad inow owiiji-anishinaabemiwaan aanawenimaawaad gopidenimaawaad dibishkoo. Mii go gaye eni-izhichigewaad nebowa ingiw Anishinaabeg.

 

Ishke o’ow nooj igo ani-manidooked a’aw Anishinaabe. Mii imaa wiikwajitoowaad wii-piindigadoowaad i’iw akeyaa a’aw Chi-mookomaan ezhichiged. Ishke gaye imaa maajaa’ind awiiya, nimbi-naazikaagoog ingiw ikwewag ininiwag imaa giiwedinong ingiw Anishinaabewiwag omaa wii-nagamowaad o'ow maajaa’iweng. Mii dash imaa eni-aabajitoowaad inow waa-anama’e-nagamonan Ojibwemowaad Ojibwesidoowaad sa go dibishkoo. Mii i'iw ezhichigewaad. Naago gaye aanigodinong ani-maajaa’iweyaan mii imaa anooj wii-piindigidoowaad omaa wii-ni-izhichigewaad akeyaa a’aw Waabishkiiwed ezhichiged maajaa’iwed. Mii imaa Eulogy ko izhi-wiinjigaadeg imaa ingagwe-bazigwiimin indazhimaanaan a’aw gaa-ishkwaa-ayaad mii “gaawiin” indinaag, “gego izhichigeken i'iw akeyaa.” Ishke ingii-miinigoowizimin akeyaa ge-ni-izhichigeyaan ani-maajaa’iweyaan, gaawiin indaa-aanjitoosiimin. Dibishkoo go indaanawendaamin ongow manidoog gaa-ina’oonaawaad inow Anishinaabe o’ow akeyaa da-ni-izhichiged.”

 

Naago gaye pane i'iw indazhindaan inwaabanda’iwe niimidii’idid a’aw Anishinaabe, ishke ingii-aanawenimaagomin i’iw keyaa endanakamiziyang i'iw Anishinaabewiyang mii Manidoowichigeyang. Ishke ingiw Manidoo-dewe’igananag giimooji ko gii-aabaji’aawaan gii-kosaawaan iniw Waabishkiiwen. Giimooj go gii-tazhi-niimi’idiiwaad. Ishke dash i'iw ishkweyaang imaa, aansh pii gaa-izhiwebadogwen. Mii ow Waabishkiiwen gii-nakodang Chi-mookomaan gii-nakodang o'ow isa Anishinaabe da-waabanda’iwed niimi’idiid. Mii i'iw izhi-biizikang nooj igo gegoo da-minwaabamigod inow Waabishkiiwen mii eta go gaa-onji-miinigoowiziyang. Ishke dash o'ow zhigwa waabanda’iwe-niimiding naawakwekamigaa o'ow Anishinaabe widi naazikaaged. Mii iw.

 

Gaawiin dash imaa onaazikaziin o'ow keyaa gaa-izhi-miinigoowiziyang ingiw Manidoo-dewe’iganag da-ni-aabajichigaazowaad imaa daa-niimi’idiid Anishinaabe. Ishke gaye ingiw mii go gaye keyaa a’aw Anishinaabe ezhi-bimaadizid iw ekinawaabamaad inow Waabishkiiwen. Gaawiin. Mii go zakab da-ni-izhi-ayaasiin imaa biinjina dibishkoo go misawaa manezid gegoo awiiya mii i'iw menwendamowaad. Mii iw onow jichaagowaan misawendamowaad i’iw misawendang i’iw Anishinaabewichiged a'aw ge-naadamaagod dash imaa biinjina dash a'aw bemaadizid. Gaawiin zakab izhi-ayaasiiwag ingiw akeyaa ezhi-bimaadizijig. Booch sa wawiinge ingiw gizhawenimaanaanig. Ishke mii a’aw Waabishkiiwed maazhichiged gii-inigaa’aad inow Anishinaaben. Mii i'iw wenji-izhiwebizid nebowa Anishinaabe.

 

Mii go iw.

 

So, Obizaan just got done talking about the Lost Spirit Camp, and in this section, he's talking about what he considers the Hang Around the Fort Camp. These are those Anishinaabe that just hang on to everything that the white man says and does and, like, they just follow him around and they hold him up high and put him on a pedestal and it's almost like that's their God, that's their higher power.

 

You know, eventually a lot of these Anishinaabe, they don't even believe they're Anishinaabe anymore. They just fully adopt the white man's ways, the white man's way of thinking, their trades. He talked about how he goes into restaurants and gets something to eat and you'll be seated next to a white man and they'll just be talking, just loud and going a hundred miles an hour and he says they sound like a bunch of blackbirds, you know, and they're just a bunch of crows.

 

It's almost like they're scared of silence, you know, they have to... anytime there's a little space of silence, they have to fill that void. Anishinaabe wasn't always like this, you know, he always remembers those old people that raised them. They'd have visitors, they'd come over here and, you know, they'd sit across from each other and they might visit for a little bit, a little while.

 

Eat, drink something. After a while, they'd just be sitting there and they wouldn't even talk but they would just sit there, in a long period of time even, just sit there and enjoy each other's company, and after a while they'd get up and they'd go home. You'd ask him, "Why didn't you guys talk? You know, why'd you just sit there?" But that's all they needed, they were content just to be in each other's presence, you know, they didn't have meaningless conversations, you know, they talked about what they needed to talk about and that was it, and if they didn't, they were OK just being in each other's presence.

 

But when you're around these Anishinaabe that he considers a "hang around the fort," they're not like that. They're just like the Chi-mook they have to always be talking, always have something to say, and as soon as there is silence, someone picks it up and starts going and they sound like crows and blackbirds and just talking all the time.

 

He just talks about, it's hard, you know, seeing people like this, you know, and it's almost like they're hurting inside, they don't believe in our ways and their spirit's lost. And, you know, he talked about oppression and how the white men oppressed the Anishinaabe. Looked down at them when at the same time, he's hanging around the fort Indians adopt that same way and they look at their other Anishinaabe, their fellow Anishinaabe and they look down at them and talk bad about them and think that they're worthless.

 

You know, then you have these hanger on the fort Indians that come around to our ceremonies and they always try to bring in a white man's way, use the church. They try to blend our ceremonies and say, " their ways are better than ours." He gave an example of up in the Leech Lake area for sure and some of those other surrounding communities, they have what they call the Ojibway singers, and in our funerals, they come into our funerals and they want to sing those hymns and you know a lot of those Anishinaabe, they think they're having a traditional ceremony because they're singing those hymns in Ojibwe and in reality, they are just totally lost and following the white man's ways.

 

You know sometimes when we're out and about doing funerals in different communities, people will come up and they'll want to do their eulogies; get up and talk and read a poem or talk about the good times they had or whatever and he always tells him, "No," you know? They can't, that's not allowed, you know, and the biggest thing, you know, that you have to remember is that we were given our ceremonies in a certain way, you know? These ceremonies were passed to Obizaan a certain way and if you were to change them and if you were to allow that stuff to happen, then what we'd be telling those spirits, those is that what they gave us is inadequate, wasn't good enough, so we had to change what they gave us to make it better.

That's something that we can't do.

 

He also talked about a long time ago there was a period of time where ceremonial dances had to go into hiding, you know, they still had them but they had to hide them. They couldn't let people know and during that same period, Anishinaabe were giving powwows. White men wanted to put on these little shows for them and they'd dress up in their head dresses and feathers, whatever the white men thought an Indian should look like, that's what he dressed those Indians up. And they were OK doing that because they were getting paid, that's what they want to do, but now, now you have all these Anishinaabe that just have true faith in these powwows, think that's our original ceremony that what we were given and they don't even come to our ceremonial dances and, you know, it's got to be hard for them, you know, their spirit inside is lost.

 

They're hurting and they're not at peace. We have to have compassion for them as well, as he talked about, you know, when them that we can always blame them and say that this is their fault. A lot of this has been passed down, as he continued to talk about this historical trauma, you know, a lot of this was passed down and you know we have to forgive them and we have to put our tobacco for them and, you know, hope for one day that they come back to our ways and realize that what we were given is better for us because that's the way we were given those ways.