makwa ododem. waaseyaa’sin Christine Sy n’dizhnikaaz. I’m Ojibway Anishinaabe and Canadian from Bawating (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada), Robinson Superior Treaty area. My maternal ancestral ties (kinship & Indian Act band membership) are with Obishkikaang (Lac Seul First Nation, Northwestern Ontario), Treaty 3 area. My paternal ancestral ties are from Bell Island, Newfoundland and Sault Ste. Marie, ON. I reside in Lekwungen territory with my family.
Creation and re-creation stories times two (4th edit, manoomin giizis 2019)
I created this blog in August 2012 as a place to grow in three areas of writing: discipline, skill, and confidence. Back then, I felt the need to be more productive in writing. More specifically, I felt the need to clear away a lot of brush on the path of writing my PhD dissertation: lack of focus; ineptness; and, general fear of not being good enough.
In thinking what I would write about, I thought my heart has not yet done me wrong and so, in this vein I decided to write those things that resonate with my heart. Many of these subjects are motivated by joy, humour, or righteousness. Some by pain, anger, confusion, and just pissed-off-ness. It was also important for me to write about matters that may be meaningful, helpful, and/or interesting to readers. After all, a blog is part me, part influences, and part audience. I also wanted to reflect upon and engage Indigenous life and living. In this spirit then, I decided to write about, from, and for anishinaabewiziwin—all the the elements that make up Anishinaabe life (Helen Agger, Following Nimishoomis: The Trout Lake History of Dedibaayaanimanook Sarah Keesick Olsen, Penticton: Theytus Book, 2008: 286).
I blogged consistently for several years. In spring of 2018, my blogging came to a stop as I was finishing writing my dissertation and I wanted, and needed, to put all my writing, creative, organizational, and emotional energy into that. When I was done I figured I would at least return to monthly uploads but I’ve given my work and family responsibilities I just don’t have the time. I am now striving for seasonal submissions.
For those not familiar with Anishinaabe peoples, a brief geographic and relational marking: we are an Indigenous Nation whose ancestors migrated from the mouth of Chi-Ziibi (popularly known in English as the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, Canada) thousands of years ago and made our Nations’ home around Gichi Gaming Za’igaanan (the Great Lakes, which is now divided by the imposed international Canada-United States border). We are comprised of similar yet distinct groups of Anishinaabeg including Ojibway, Odawa, Pottawatomi, Mississauga, Chippewa and ?Algonquin?. We share borders with several Indigenous Nations including the Haudenausonee, Mushkegowok, Nehiyaw, Dakota, and Menominee, to name a few. The (accent missing) Métis Nation includes, but is not limited to, Anishinaabe lineage; as well, the Anishinaabe Nation includes Métis peoples (as an example see negotiations for Treaty 3 which ensured inclusion of what I interpret to be Métis relations). Further west, in nêhiyaw (Plains Cree) and Métis country, Anishinaabeg also include the Saulteaux. I think I’m safe in saying, without providing any source, that we’ve been forging ties–socially, intimately, and economically–with peoples outside of our borders, and with peoples non-Indigenous to Turtle Island, for as long as we’ve all been intermingling.
“Anishinaabewiziwin” was created to promote life within a contemporary world that is i) Anishinaabe-non-Anishinaabe and is informed by the thousands of years old knowledges and practices of peoples that make up the Anishinaabeg Nation; ii) informed by Anishinaabe negotiations with and resistances to more than 400 years of colonial-nation-state/neo-colonial mentality, policies, and practices; and, iii) heavily influenced by the dominating knowledges that have been and continue to be generated by culture that globalizes (in the detrimental way) and colonizes land and life. Promoting Anishinaabe life specifically through anishinaabewiziwin and promoting life generally through Anishinaabewiziwin, within the present context, as a life-line for future generations, is my primary thematic concern with this blog. While this is a nation-(building)-specific project, it’s borders are bendy, fluid, and porous.
Early into blogging I admitted that my heart didn’t just want to be translated into words, structured sentences, essays, or traditional formality alone. As it turns out, n’ode (my heart) speaks in photography, poetry, spoken word, prose, short story, sketch, diagrams, dibaadjimowinan (personal stories), interviews, hyperlinks to other publications, news commentary, and guest submissions (one to date) and this is what you’ll find here.
At this time, I’m not concerned with clearly organized, easy access to subject matter. I experience a great deal of satisfaction following the meanderings of my heart, tempering any lackadaisy-ness with an anchor here and there (e.g. moderate editing, sourcing, attention to presentation, or wanting it to be helpful). In turn, I hope readers of “Anishinaabewiziwin” might find some joy in moving through it with only the Homepage or the links to monthly entries to facilitate the way.
For now, a few final thoughts about “Anishinaabewiziwin” that are best expressed through words articulated by other Indigenous artists and scholars. First,
I walk out of genocide to touch you
~Qwo-Li Driskell, “Map of the Americas”, Walking with Ghosts
“Knowledge is made up of networks of shared cultural metaphors stored in the memories and thoughts of interconnected individuals. No one person knows the whole story. Unlike the western scientist, we never expect to know all that there is. Nevertheless, totality exists.” ~ Deborah Doxtator, “Godi’Nigohi’: The Woman’s Mind and Seeing Through to the Land,” (n/a).