all the elements that make up anishinaabe life through ojibway makwa ikawe embodiment + anishinaabe feminist lens



“just coming in for a wee drink, sugar” ~ aamoo


zagaswe’idimin: have a ceremony

contemporary windigo moves in indigenous relations

this is not about being missing.

this is not about sexual violence.

this is not about being physically abused.

this is not about being murdered.

there is a long gap between that windigoism and the one i want to continue unpacking today.

i wished i would not have been so naive. as a 30 some year old it’s embarrassing to think about being so naive. i wish someone had of told me that windigoism exists in us as humans and to be wary of it’s presence.

maybe i knew this and i was blinded by something else.

in fact, i think yes, i was.

if i’m to be honest, i have to say yes, i was.

blinded by altruism; by commitment to decoloniality; being responsible; and, by being recognized by someone i admired.

oh, to be recognized by someone you admire.


i used to be in friend-love with this anishinaabe woman. i thought she was a friend. i respected her. i admired her. i trusted her. i gave her everything thinking we were doing community together. i never thought she was using me for her own agenda until i did and by that time, it was done and i was there shaking my head thinking what the fuck just happened.

the first time i got a whiff of something sketchy, i discounted it. actually, i didn’t discount it. i blamed myself — i turned on myself and thought that there must be something wrong with me in thinking negative things about a friend. i thought i was being arrogant. i thought my thinking was distorted. i thought there was something wrong with me.

when something happened again, again i shooed my negative thoughts, interpretations, inklings away. she was my friend, our children were friends. we ceremonied, worked, gossiped, laughed together. we had community and were a part of emergent community.

when something happened again…

and again…

finally, i decided to trust my reading of things. i decided to say something in a round-about way.  i said, “i remember sharing these ideas in our conversations on a few occasions.” friend skirted and never said anything. i’ve learned people with certain kinds of power get to hide behind silence while those who have questions or are unsettled or have less power do the labour of trying to make sense of a shitty thing they’ve done.

later, when friend disregarded my needs on a project i invited her to participate in with me and then tried to advance her own agenda of advancing her friend, that was it. i had enough. i said my words and things imploded. i was the asshole. the friendship and all the community associated with it, ended, just like that.

it took me over a year to understand what happened. but things didn’t just ‘end’ like relationships do—this person was not done with me.

gossip, sharmy moves in publications, etc. etc.—various forms of ambient violence ensued.

you think you are going crazy. you wonder wtf is happening. wtf did i do to deserve this?

you realize what you did was refuse to be their compliant, unquestioning source. you realize that what you did was say no. you realize that the moment you realized your work, your thinking, your passion, your spirit is your homefire and not up for exploitation or theft by others and the moment this led to a hand up in refusal was the moment of truth—you were just a source. nothing more, nothing less. you realize that what you did was carry on living the life you were living before they came towards you performing friendship but really mobilizing an agenda and that that pissed them off. as though how dare you carry on…

when something like this happens with a person who—in a capitalist society is of more worth than you—nobody listens to you about the underbelly shit. they don’t because they are caught up in what they want, in what they want to believe. it’s easier to cast the victim-who-speaks as the crazy, jealous, competitive, aggressive, out-to-lunch problematic one. we see that dynamic play out all. the. time.

so be it.

feed the windigo but own your part in it when it gets out of hand.

or, test it: set a boundary, ask a tough question, say no. see how windigoism responds. pro-tip: wait for the performative stage to pass. just wait and see what happens when you hold to account or say no or withdraw your own light and limit access.

whatever you do, whenever someone signals the windigo to you, don’t discount it. don’t cling to whatever bit of desperate is in you to not see it. just recognize that, as a wise, tapped-in anishinaabe woman once told me, we all have that windigo-potential in us. it is evident in some but it could be me, or you, too. we need to be disciplined and aware and truly grounded–striving to be grounded–in who we are and in the homefires we come into this world as spirit burning for.



lekwungen nights, sugar bush feels

i wanted to tell you how sweet it was to stop in the middle of the parking lot–halfway between my daabaan and my apartment building–and just look up and get lost for a minute in the Lekwungen night sky.
the air here is cold and the night skies clear. imagine being at the tip of an island at the edge of pacific ocean in onaabani giizis. i hang my head blushing at the comfort i feel in being here at the tip, on the edge, in the middle of the parking lot getting lost in the night sky, thinking of you.
even though it’s ziigwan now, there in the southern realm was gabiboonike hanging out just below new nokomis and her earth shine.
i noticed a sparkly star just below her low hanging curve and wondered who it was. it made me think of Sky Woman or Wenonah donning a piercing made of a tiny fleck of glittery silver straight from gichi gaming.
i googled up “what is the name of the star by the moon tonight?” and found out its’ name. it’s no where near as exciting or dreamy as thinking of Sky Woman or Wenonah as more-woman-than birther, mother, caretaker, and abandoned life-giver.
i wondered what these ones looked like back home and if you’ve taken a minute to get lost in her recently.
the cold air here reminds me of sugar bush mornings; the clear sparkly stars, the chill, clear sugar water slurped from the bucket dripping down my jaw and neck; getting the fire going in the middle of the dark blue sparkly night in order to have enough time to render sugar water into sugar by the next evening, achy back and hips, feet my brain all endorphine-d up on exhaustion and good ininaatigoog loving and sugar-water medicine.

Kim and Kanye Name Baby Girl “Chicago West” Or, Why Famous America Needs To Know Whose Lands and Places They Inhabit (And, Whose Place Names They Use to Name Their Baby Girls)

I know you all know: Kim and Kanye named their baby girl Chicago. Aaand she was grown by and birthed through a gestational surrogate (whose name I haven’t been able to determine and hope is not being erased in order to keep Kim in the light) so she’s a bit of a medical miracle.

But, did you know this? Lena Recollet did and they posted it on their public Facebook page!



Chicago, a medical miracle. Zhigaako, powerful medicine. Haha. Maybe it’s meant to be!

nanaboozhoo makes a second appearance this winter: ceas country in WŚANÉCwaki






“Nanaboozhoo Hops a Fence in the Middle of the Forest on His Way to Greet the Remains of Ceas at the River. Does/Does Not Understand Settler Borders, Settler Language, Settler Relationships with Land.” Selekta wo WŚANÉCwakiing a few days after Winter Solstice.






nanaboozhoo in Lekwungenwaki on the settler holiday


hanging low since solstice, nanaboozhoo makes an appearance in Lekwungenwaki on the settler holiday. gets comfortable amongst shiny bright twinkling Christmas lights; still dons treaty twine and quill necklace accrued from years past. 

town clothes



every time

indigenous women

attend the classes i teach

as quest* speakers

i do my best

to don

a town clothes 

get up


it makes me feel good

to dress 


the matriarchs

who shape

my life





*Miigwech to Dawn McKay for beautifully highlighting this brilliant truth-cum-spelling error as it exists in its’ first iteration in a Facebook status.

nokomis in Lekwungen-waki



nokomis in binaakwe + pekelanew formation (hanging with other celestials)


nokomis at the grocery store

nokomis goes to the grocery store at night


in the FAIRWAY MAF KET parking lot

“i’ll be home in a few. just stopping to get some coffee for morning. do you want a bean cake?”

our friend, Thetis

“Two Poems” in TNQ Summer Issue: The View From Here with Anna Ling Kaye




last friday evening in manoomin giizis/august. there are six people swimming across the lake. there one family swimming, one family fishingswimmingwalkingdog, there is a new friend and his wife who are leaving and going to drumming. i thought it didn’t start until next week. we are heading home. 


new specs not an offering for a friend


bears a daughter & trees: leaving