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Throuhout the month of November, in observance of Native American Heritage Month, Fond du Lac Staff receive emails with cultural and historical information about Native American, and especially Chippewa, life. Those emails will be reprinted here so the entire community and beyond can learn along with us. Use the drop-down below to see individual or all available articles. Check back often, as new articles will be added throughout the month of November.


Native American Heritage Month

What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S., has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose.

One of the very proponents of an American Indian Day was Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, who was the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, N.Y. He persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the “First Americans” and for three years they adopted such a day. In 1915, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association meeting in Lawrence, Kans., formally approved a plan concerning American Indian Day. It directed its president, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapahoe, to call upon the country to observe such a day. Coolidge issued a proclamation on Sept. 28, 1915, which declared the second Saturday of each May as an American Indian Day and contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens.

The year before this proclamation was issued, Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Indians. On December 14, 1915, he presented the endorsements of 24 state governments at the White House. There is no record, however, of such a national day being proclaimed.

The first American Indian Day in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York. Several states celebrate the fourth Friday in September. In Illinois, for example, legislators enacted such a day in 1919. Presently, several states have designated Columbus Day as Native American Day, but it continues to be a day we observe without any recognition as a national legal holiday.

In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.

Five Things Needed for Ceremony

Gashkadino-giizis (November)
Anishinaabeg-izhichigeng a’aw giizis
(Native American Culture Month)

Ceremony Items

Five things needed for any ceremony:

  1. Asemaa (tobacco)
  2. Ikidowin (Talk)
  3. Miijim (Food)
  4. Maada’ookiiwinan (Gifts)
  5. Nagamowinan (Songs)

The talk and the songs will vary according to the reason for the ceremony. Different things will be said depending on the situation, be it a feast, a memorial (spirit plate), a naming ceremony, or gifts given.
(As told to Gwiiwizens Ricky W. DeFoe by Miskogwan Ray (Skip) Sandman)

Ceremony Language Booklet

Ten Indigenous Foods thought to be European

Much confusion surrounds indigenous foods. “Before 1492, tomatoes, potatoes, wild rice, salmon, pumpkins, peanuts, bison, chocolate, vanilla, blueberries and corn, among other foods, were unknown in Europe, Africa and Asia.

Today, we think of tomatoes as an Italian staple, of potatoes as quintessentially Irish or northern European, and even of peanuts as native to Africa.

But Native American farmers cultivated and developed these foods over hundreds of generations, long before Europeans exported them throughout the world.

Click here to read the entire article.

Native Americans Get Right to Vote

Congress Granted Citizenship to All Native Americans Born in the U.S. June 2, 1924

Native Americans have long struggled to retain their culture. Until 1924, Native Americans were not citizens of the United States. Many Native Americans had, and still have, separate nations within the U.S. on designated reservation land. But on June 2, 1924, Congress granted citizenship to all Native Americans born in the U.S. Yet even after the Indian Citizenship Act, some Native Americans weren't allowed to vote because the right to vote was governed by state law. Until 1957, some states barred Native Americans from voting.

Fond du Lac Ojibwe Language Program

On December 7, 2010, the Fond du Lac RBC passed a resolution making Ojibwe the official language of the Fond du Lac Reservation. Since then, in the formative years of program operation, with input from the Language Advisory Committee, steady support from Division Director Jeff Savage, and program administration by Ozhaawashkogiizhigookwe Janis Fairbanks, Anishinaabemowin Coordinator for the past three years, since January 2015, the program has enjoyed steady growth.

We have hosted a number of major events, formed language tables at all three community centers. We have a growing list of language table teachers and subs to ensure that language tables will continue to meet as scheduled. As a resource for curriculum development, we have gathered a considerable level of language resources for the FDL Language Resource Library; more will be added each year.

Visit the FDL Ojibwe Language Program site by clicking here, or by using the navigation links as pictured below.

Culture and Language from Great Lakes Communities

For those interested in stories on Culture and Language from Communities around the central Great Lakes.

Here is the link: http://theways.org/

Fond du Lac Annual Veterans Powwow

Recognition for those who have served! Miigwech!

from FDL Newspaper August 2018 Issue

Seven Teachings of the Grandfathers

There are many places that talk about the Seven Teachings. These are from Ojibwe.net.

Seven Teachings of the Grandfathers are Principles for living… each of the teachings is a gift, a tool for living a good life.

Check Ojibwe.net for audio clips of the principles below.

1. Minwaadendamowin - Respect

Chipiitenim g'wiijibimaadiziig gegwa dabasen'aake.
Place others before yourself in your life don't look down on anyone.

G'minwaadenmaag g'wiijibimaadiziig.
Respect your fellow living beings.

2. Zaagidiwin - Love

Niintam ga zaagidiz jibwa zaagaag goya bekaanzid,
It is my turn, I have to love myself before I can love anyone different,

miidash ji maajtaayaamba ji biindaganaag bimaadiziwining.
then I will be able to start to bring that person into my life.

3. Debwewin - Truth

Ke ganawaamdizan goya jibwa dibaakanad ezhi-bimosed.
You have to look at yourself before you judge an other's way of walking.

G'debwetaanan ina nindan giikamowewinan?
Do you believe in these philosophies?

4. Aakodewewin - Bravery

Noongwa wii mshkowendamiing miinwaa wii mshkogaabwiiying manjiidig waa zhiwebadagwe.
Right now to hold firm thoughts and strongly stand when you don't know what will happen.
Hold firm in your thoughts and stand strong even when you don't know what will happen right now.

5. Nibwaakawin - Wisdom

Nibwaakawin n'ga shkitoon wii gweklaagoziyaanh miinwaa wii minodaapanamaa goya e-kidod.

Wisdom I am able to speak well and to take (what) someone says.
Wisdom allows me to eloquently and correctly interpret others ideas.

6. Miigwe'aadiziwin - Generosity

Shkitamaawin e-yaaman miinwaa miigwewaadiziwin gdaasawenmaagen.

Ability you have and generosity to disperse to others.
You have the ability to give things away and distribute what you have.

Aasagaabwichigewin / Aankenmaagewin / Naakwenmaagewin - Generosity

Standing together / Transferring / Responding to needs

7. Dibaadendiziwin - Humility

Dibaadenim g'wiijibimaadiz waa ezhi wiijsemad.

Be humble you walk with yourself to the way you walk with someone.
Humble yourself to your fellow human in the way you walk with him or her.

Preserving Treaty Rights

Ever wonder about treaty rights, like netting fish, wild rice harvesting, or the history of either of these?

FDL is a member tribe of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC). There are some excellent resources and educational materials on the GLIFWC website.

GLIFWC Treaty Rights Page

GLIFWC Resources Page