Miish’akomoo Dibaajimowin, Niizh: A Sasquatch Story, Part Two

March 13, 2019

This Sasquatch story is the follow up to the first Sasquatch Story published by the Thompson Citizen in Thompson, Manitoba

https://www.thompsoncitizen.net/opinion/columnists/miish-akomoo-dibaajimowin-sasquatch-story-1.23115537

“Geget Weweni giga-ozhitoomin Midewiwin Ojibwemowin. We will do great in developing the Midewiwin Ojibwe (curriculum).”[1]

The vision of Professor Graham Hingangaroa Smith was the tall order of producing 500 Maori’s with PhD’s in five years. The reasoning was the Maori needed to produce a generation of their own Indigenous intellectuals to lead transformation of communities.[2] Similarly, Treaty 2 First Nations should be trying to producing 500 new Ojibway/Cree teachers using existing models such as the immersion model that have been developed by Patricia Ningewance. She posted to social media about a dream she had that fish were being released into streams, but not surviving. Very much like learners who take a class, but rely to much on English and thus, struggle to get conversing to achieve fluency. It is critically important a serious collective effort to connect the first language speakers with the second language learners happens in Manitoba. This is the kind of push many believe is needed to regenerate a language. Part of the dream included the fish surviving using the latest technology to incubate the fish until they are strong enough to swim on their own. She interpreted this as immersion models.[3]

Aanikoobijiginan defined as great grandchildren and great grandparents.[4] It is described to me as coming from larger words about connections, Aanikoogijigiwewin. Indigenous intellectuals lead transformation of communities through the preservation of indigenous languages. As language advocates suggest, languages posit a sense of “aanikoobijiginan” in their communities, a word that means the tying together of great grandparents and great grand children through story and language. Using this concept as a model, advocates like Ron Indian-Mandamin suggest that language gives a sui generis[5] worldview and that the teachings within language are more than a story or legend – it is a reality that was given to the Anishinaabe recorded on the rocks at Manitou Abee – Where the Spirit Sits.[6]

Instructors from different institutions were present when guest speaker Ron Mandamin explained to Darren Courchene’s Intermediate Ojibway course (taught out of The U of W). “We are following instructions that was discussed 30 years ago, from Lake of the Woods to Roseau River. Both languages would be needed to survive, both cultures to flourish and prosper. Instructed not to withhold any teachings – It belongs to the Creators that made this planet and the beings who gave humans life.” Mandamin explained,

“Language will help correct, heal and revitalize thought. It activates our ways of being. It was her own words (reference to Spirit, Nenaaniikwe). Turbulent time, imbalance on this road. Things given to live accordingly, to find our way. In the rocks. Gichi Wisookitatiwin – working together for good life.”

Jason Bone, member of Riding Mountain and Dauphin Lake Band (Keeseekoowenin)

[1] Eddie Benton-Banai, Midewiwin, 1998.
[2] Linda Smith, decolonizing methodologies, 1999.
[3] Pat Ningwance, Facebook Post, 2017.
[4] Ibid., Speaking Gookum’s Language, 2004.
[5] John Borrows, Recovering Canada, 2002.
[6] Ron Indian-Mandamin, Ojibway Class Guest Speaker, 2017.

Last modified: March 13, 2019

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