The language of a people defines them as a people. The Anishinaabe language contains all the nuances of our culture, history, beliefs, and spirituality. It identifies our relationship to all our relatives including the four-legged and winged ones, the ones that live in the water or crawl upon the earth, and those that grow from the earth. Our language identifies us as Anishinaabe and our relationship to creation and the spirits around us.
To the tribes, leaders, and elders of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), Anisinaabemowin (Ojibwe language) is as important as the treat-reserved right to hunt, fish, and harvest in our treaty ceded territories. Words and phrases in Anishinaabemowin describe all phases of gathering activities, materials gathered, tools used in gathering and processing, and locations of harvesting activities.
Under the guidance of the tribal leaders and working with elders, speakers, and language instructors, GLIFWC has been involved in the development of language resource materials pertaining to the natural world of the Anishinaabe. Many of the language resources developed by the Commission have been possible through grants for the Administration for Native Americans (ANA), ACF, U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services.
The following video is a story we collected as part of our ANA funded project "Gidaadizookaaninaanig- Our Stories." In this project, we are documenting, recording, and transcribing speakers of the Anishinaabe language in an effort to preserve specific dialects and traditional knowledge. It is through stories and the oral tradition that knowledge, history, philosophy, and culture are passed down. With each passing day the language becomes more and more endangered as there are fewer people speaking Anishinaabemowin. It is with great respect and humilty that we take on this task in an effort to hold onto what we have and preserve it for future generations. Chi-miigwech to all of our speakers.
Wenabozho and the Wolves
One time Wenabozho was out hunting then he killed a deer. He cleaned it, built a fire, and then cooked the deer.
Howah, He lay down there and waited for the deer to cook. He heard the tree, “squeak, squeak.” Oyay he didn’t like the sound of that.
He climbed up the tree, slipped, and got caught. He looked around. He hung there for a long time.
The wolves were running, “Heeyyy wolves go run the other way!” Those wolves stopped running.
The alpha male, “By golly Wenabozho has something over there. Let’s go see.” They started running then ate up the meat.
After they finished eating then they ran off.
I don’t know why he bothered those wolves when they were running there.