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

Month: April, 2014

the return


like god
that one inini

and returns

as though
they love me

god ~ great, kind mystery or, gizhewe manidoo
inini ~ man

April is NaPoWriMo (zhaangswi giizhigad)


of skin

April is NaPoWriMo (nishwaaswi giizhigad)

get in line

polishes nails  ritualistically   learned in beauty schools:     sleepovers where girlfriends taught each other how to file in one direction (prevent breakage)          the living room where transgender-ing cousin taught, “mix it up good first, like this” & proceeded to roll a roundish bottle between both hands back&forthback&forthback&forth      it worked beautifully  (still does)   then, the modeling orientation instructor demonstrated one swipe down the middle one swipe down the right one swipe down the left “see how perfectly it covers?”     polishes nails ritualistically, gets in line, (strives) to be beautiful          last month, too, got in line: rolled it, swiped it   luminescent teal beautifies nails   polished with get in line (luminescent teal) for one experimental purpose: to be worn off, down, grown out  worked to tiny, ragged, imperfect cheap blots of get in line luminescent teal on growing healthy nails, strong white free edge and pale white half moons rising from dark brown cuticles look amazing with anishinaabe skin   nails polished in chipped luminescent teal won’t get in line

April is NaPoWriMo (niizhwaaswi giizhigad)

ishkigamizigan giizis is boiling sap moon
boiling sap moon is april


michi saagiig ziinzabaaakwad



michi saagiig* sugar
made from
michi saagiig sap
flowin’ inna
michi saagiig sugarbush

yea. it’s like that.


*michi saagiig are a group of Anishinaabeg whose name reflects their association with living at the mouth of rivers. In English, they are known as the Mississauga. While their land base covers a large area of south-central-to-eastern Ontario, their First Nation communities are Curve Lake First Nation, Hiawatha First Nation, Alderville First Nation, Scugog First Nation, and Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation (who host an annual conference on Mississauga peoples/Nation). My knowledge of the Mississauga comes largely from Doug Williams of Curve Lake First Nation and other families and individuals I have had the honour of working with on the land, celebrating & grieving with, and ceremony-ing with in Michi Saagiig territory. As an Ojibway Anishinaabe woman of mixed ancestry and therefore insider-outsider to this area, working with fellow Anishinaabeg throughout our Nation is always a privilege; being a visitor to this area, I always stand to be corrected in my work/writing about life here. To learn more about Michi Saagiig Anishinaabeg and/or their lands which so much of Ontario is built on, and because you see have already seen how the trees have influenced me, here are some names of people whose work has influenced my thinking while I reside in the Nogojiwanong area, and which may be found online: Dorothy Taylor, visionary for the Sacred Water Circle Conference (happening in May 2014; search online); Caleb Wazhushk (land-based practitioner, owner of Canadian Bushcraft, author); Jeff Beaver (restoration work in wild rice and land-based practitioner); James Whetung and daughter Odemin Whetung (working & teaching wild rice and the sugar); Sarah DeCarlo (musician); Rick Beaver (artist, environmentalist – see Black Oak Savannah in Alderville First Nation, also online); and, Jimson Bowler (artist). I name these people because I know their work can be found online albeit, for some it may be a bit more difficult. More accessible work includes contemporary Michi Saagiig writers Drew Hayden Taylor and Leanne Simpson; historical Michi Saagiig writer, George Coppaway; non-Indigenous writers on Michi Saagiig history such as Heidi Bohacker as well as Donald Smith; and of course, there’s a dictionary from the Southern Ontario area called The Eastern Chippewa-Ottawa-Ojibwa Dictionary (Richard A. Rhodes, 1993) which I’ve been told seems to hold words closest to the michi-saagiig dialect.  

I include the lengthy note as a way to ethically, in my mind & heart anyways, share this NaPoWriMo submission, which is very much my work, but is also very much tied to the place it comes from and the gifts that allowed it to manifest. nahaaw, mii sa iw. that’s it.

April is NaPoWriMo (ngodswi giizhigad)

be sure to live in an opera house

acoustics, so important
when buying/
renting a place
to rest your head
do your lifes’ work
prepare meals
pay bills, clean
(much of it routine)
a place to tease
out your soul:
swap birthing stories
with neighbours

acoustics are key

how else to
hold & amplify
abundant bineshiinh
life multiplying
in spring, bring-
ing everything new
life: warm air,
fluttering vibrations,
echoes & love songs

*bineshiinh is bird;

April is NaPoWri Mo (naanan giizhigad)

zhiishiib life on the frigid ottonabee




blop. ba-blop ba-blopblopblop
blop-bloop-baloop baloopbloop
bloobloobloop babloopitybloop

take-off, flying, landing, getting settled

shhhhh tsch tsch tsch tschtschtschtschtsch




blop. ba-blop ba-blopblopblop
blop-bloop-baloop baloopbloop
bloobloobloop babloopitybloop

blop. ba-lop ba-blopblopblop

April is NaPoWriMo (niiwin giizhigad)

windy weather

was thinking witty
(even poetic) windigo
-kan rhetoric might
suffice for a really
nice (invitation-only)
round dance

then northern mist
rolled across a
desolate settler
road, just tumbled
across highbeams
like that from there
over there, the snow
covered fields shield-
ed with cedar & barb-
ed wire fencing, all the
trees slanting
to the left

and everything is better
in this kind of weather
with droplets of water
carried whimsy on wind,
everything is better
with windows powered
down, no sound
but dashboard lights
blinking, and thinking
of coherent love in dark

April is NaPoWriMo (nswi giizhigad)

for my child

aaallll the stories
come your way?
all the stories?
all of ‘em that come your way,

let. them.

let them live.

let them live
in you

swirl & mix

let’em make you better, ndaanis
not bitter

April is NaPoWriMo (niizh giizhigad)


all the poets have left the buildling for niibaa including me not including me here tapping out something at the end of a breathless road of a day adrenaline high still leaving my body not my eyelids falling falling falling sandpaper finegrain over bloodshot glassy orbs seeing doubleblurry so ndaanis’ assignment reads war on vets not should canada be spending money on war and this just in: man with soft, uplifted voice singing something about ‘never’ with a rhythm and beat passing by this momentary window of my life at night laying alongside a busy unfamiliar street cozy with bear beside me and southern wind birds snuggled away too waiting for mom waiting for mom waiting for mom to come home and time away from each other is good as kahlil gibran says even time away from each other as parents and children so sleep well sweet dreams silly writing games


APRIL IS NaPoWriMo (bezhik giizhigad)


april fools & nanabush battle over napowrimo

it’s raining

it’s pourin—


naaa     po   wri   moooooo-ing


say what?



a verb

you know

nanabush’s poetry writing moon

my month. first time in like

everrrrr. napowrimo-ing.

an action. like all anishinaabe life

moving, constantly, maddening


it’s spring. go home.


it’s not. i won’t.


it is


it’s not

there’s snow on the ground.

it’s raining

it’s snowing

na     po   wri   mooo-ing

believe me?


believe what?




believe you me, no


come on. please?


no. it’s april fools,

my day, child


it’s national poetry

writing month.

it’s raining

it’s pouring

na   ro   po wri   moooo-ing


pppsshh. takes my idea.

that all you got?


weellll, i got winning

649 and a preggo eggo.

i got a money baby.

it’s yours.

now we can get

the hell outta dodge,

leave these suckas

to figure things out.



uh, aanii! yea!


cha. AS IF, son.