Nanaboozhoo Returns To The Land

by waaseyaa'sin christine sy


niin: git in my belly!

ziinzaabaakwad pkwezhigaanhs nanaboozhoo: really? you want to eat me, your greatest friend and teacher?

niin: good point. out to aki/wesiinhyag/compost you go, elder bro!



niin – (first person); me, I

ziinzaabakwad – sugar (which for Anishinaabeg was historically maple sugar; here refers to common, popular sugar, i.e. white)

pkwezhigaanhs – little bread, or, cookie; here refers to cookie

nanaboozhoo – youngest son of Wenonah (the first breast feeder) and Epingishmok (the western wind; spirit of the western wind/direction); youngest of four brothers; helper to gizhewe manidoo (great kind mystery) in facilitating life on mashkikmakwe (mother earth) for the Anishinaabeg; the one to sacredly name all of life known to Anishinaabeg; first researcher (Odawa Anishinaabe Gichi Piitzijid Edna Manitowabi, personal communication, dagwaagig (autumn) 2010, Trent University, Peterborough, ON); greatest friend and teacher to Anishinaabeg; particularly relevant to me as a helper during times of great contradiction and/or discombobulation (I used that word mostly because I like the way it sounds and feels; also, it fits) causing great stress (which is exactly how I feel during what is popularly known as the holiday season aka Christmas and New Years); also known as Nanabush, Waynaboozhoo, Wesackijak, the trickster (a name seemingly popularized by non-Anishinaabeg engaging in Anishinaabeg culture/stories, e.g. anthropologists), and outside of the winter season, Elder Brother; his name is only said out loud during the winter season (markers for this are the snow and sky behaviour, i.e. constellations (which I am still learning about and investigating) and ?possibly other markers?); he is a shape-shifter; there is much written about him and he figures greatly in a number of Anishinaabeg stories both historical and contemporary; recently I have seen him referred to in the feminine in a few texts (as an example, see “yaa yaan – where I am” by Vera Wabegijig,; I really enjoy Basil Johnston, “Nana’b’oozoo” in The Manitous: The Spiritual World of the Ojibway, (St. Paul: The Minnesota Historical Society, 1995): 51-95 and have accessed this text as one source to learn about his family and some of his history within Anishinaabe akiing and with Anishinaabeg;

ziinzaabaakwad pkwezhigaanhs nanaboozhoo? – nanaboozhoo sugar cookie! 

aki – the land

wesiinhyag – the animals