The Original People

Much can be said for the First or Original People, Inhabitants of this Turtle Island. With the creation of the original Neshnabe came the sounds he/she was to make to communicate his/her needs to the God who made him/her. We spoke at one time of some of those beginning sounds but that lesson was only scratching the surface. The data regarding who we are, what we are, where we came from, and where we are going again is vast. Original man was a superhuman creation and became the prototype for what we are today as a people. We have digressed into what we are today and much of the search that goes on presently, with fasting, language learning, cultural searches, and the like are all about reassembling what we once had. The modern world of Neshnabek do not understand much of this today though, as most of them have become thoroughly colonized within the framework of the modern world. So, our old people told us when we see the people of the future about the business of learning their language and culture, they are merely searching for their belly buttons; i.e., the Intuitive Way, The way of the belly button. Etesewen in Bodewadmimwen. When a person was born in the days of yesteryear, the umbilical cord was saved for about 4 years and kept in a special bag for the child, when the child reached its 4th or 5th year, it was buried safely and carefully, as the child would come looking for it one day, which many of you are doing……I shall speak of these things on a deeper level someday soon for one of the classes……

Days of Buffalo Grasses

Blue skies over waving prairies, tall Osage grasses

beckoning weary travelers to take comfort and shelter, seeming to say,

come and rest, feed yourselves, as they have for countless generations,

the bison herds and all who have been so nurtured.

White faces cannot comprehend this compassion and kindness, so they cut, slash and burn

their way through all the cursed growth, to remove it out of their way.

Make room for crops, homes and children to play

along with their small vain animals, they say—-

Relentless attack on grasses, trees and plants of all kinds,

they did not understand nor accept, thus creating massive hordes

of water spirits for

their off-spring to contend with and there was nothing left

to slow them down or deter them.

Noden (wind) comes calling blowing gusts of sand everywhere,

and the people still cannot grasp what has happened!

We must create, we must civilize,

sounds the cry of the conqueror And they don’t stop

with grasses and trees.

They continued with the children of the common people who greeted them

and nourished them, for a time.

Educate, civilize becomes synonymous with enslaving

the two-legged and their kind—­

Cut, tear, slash, create civilized dwellings

for us to live and breathe, they say—-

And now the plantings they have done,

seem to cry in the night and beckon for attention in the day,

so that the conqueror

must start yet another process of clipping and shearing,

lest they grow and multiply beyond demand.

And what of those

who were educated and primed for becoming civilized?

Are they improved, or have they become

impoverished, bereft, stripped of everything they once were,

thus creating another dependency to be dealt with?

Where is the voice

of the grasses when

Noden (wind) called upon them for their songs?

Voices stilled forever

so the common people cannot

hear their sounds of joy and peace any longer.

The true education

must reign and be allowed

to share its wisdom for the children to be free, bright and true.

Where are the voices and songs of the people, as they rode and played

among the tall grasses and frolicked among the trees?

The original songs

and teachings are slowly coming back,

but through different voices,

echoing the injustices and the sufferings, the common people have endured.

This then could be the Indian Literature

the conqueror makes such big talk about—-

Ah, but he thought he had silenced all those voices,

and now wants them to be heard again, throughout

the hallowed halls of learning he has created

among the squares of stone and wood he has chosen to

place the voices of the common people within.

Can this be?

Nin se Neaseno…

An Old Prayer

AN OLD PRAYER.

THUNDER:  

O Jigwé Nagan’ien

Oh Thunder Leader

Mamwé mishkwezyen shote

Supreme Power here

Égi bgednegoyen éwi je

You were placed and to

Kewabmiyak I je mine

Protect us (also) and

Éwi nizhokmodwan gij

To help your other

Mishkwezimak éwi

Lesser plants under you and good

Mnogmoak éwi nizhokmodwan  *(always praise the

Rains and help (bless us with)       rains)

Éwi mno bmadziyak jak gégo

Good lives (that we may live good lives)

Mine éwi gsiabaudi’ek

All crops, growths and every variety

Nebeshknegen jayék

All rotten things (and washes clean atop the ME

All rotten things)

Anaké tatbégwen mine mishkoyen

Along with leaves and weeds

Nebeshknegen éwi binabaud’iek

Rotten and made clean by the rain

Édnesyak iw je pi

Where we live and when

Zhawno’enmek émnoskyag inoden

The South Winds with their nice damp air and the Great

Good Wind

Égche mnobmadji shka gwi yak

Enable us to live and able

Ije gedzhi’esk miyak jak

To continue all

Mno mikjéwiwen éwi

Variety of good work and

Jak gishwiyak we’an meze

Variety of completed work pursuing

Mno mikjéwiyak éwi zhigojkemegon

Good work and to avoid

Mine jak nenyézanyek

Any and all danger.

NORTH SPIRIT:

Ahau Pondesé wéwéne

Greeting Coldness (One) earnestly

Kenadotmonenan éwi

We ask you and

Kewabmiyak wéwénije

Protect us earnestly we ask

Kenadotmonenan éwi

You to protect us and

Kewabmiyak éwi bwa zigdezhiyak

Watch over us and not to freeze us

Bénagdze éwi zak senyak

Be very mild then Cold Ones

Ije gche ndotmonenan

And we request

Débtso éwi bgeshagon

A sufficiency then of falling snow

Éwi ngwagneg se kig

So as to blanket the Earth

Éwi déb mno Otakiwak

And so sufficient a nice dampening of the Earth

Gé she je kejkadoiyag éwi

In order to help us then

Gizhgatoyag wabgonen

Raise pumpkins

Ndamneg mine penik

Corn and potatoes

Mine kojések mine

And beans and

Jak ézgak washkgbek

All variety of growing things

Mine jak ézgak bébiz wayak

And also small fruits.

THE EAST:

Kegnaswé ékche yéwak

Coming Daylight Greatest

Gebébamzawen gin

Power you

Éwedzema dzegék jak gégo

Start varieties of everything

Bamgak mshkekegé jak

Growing medicine all

Éshkek wa nadwashkag wiyak

Kinds that grow for doctoring ourselves

Ébgosén demak wéwéne éwi

We wish sincerely then

Gizgak iw je wéwéne gé je

They grow then nicely so we can

Skeksedoiyak éwi

Gather them and

Nado’owé wiyak iw pi éyaknogéyak

Cure ourselves when we fall ill

Iw je wéwéne kéndotmon nag tche

And respectfully I ask you an early

Ewi Mnokmek iw je wéwéne

Spring and respectfully

Endotmonag jak ézgak

We ask you for it all kinds of growing

Washkgbeg gé je skeknemag

Fruit that we may gather

Iw pi Ponok éwi mijyak

When Winter comes and we eat

Mine éwizgek nekmek jak

And gather all kinds

Ezgek mashgeké

Of growing things.

THE SOUTH :

Zhawdesi ik she éndotmonag

Hotness now we pray

Ewi mizhyak jak gégo kazegek

Then give us varities of all that

Géte ga nak gin jayék épamzen

Grows in the fields you do have all kinds of control

Ékwabdoyen éwi mno zak ki’eg

You have charge of them and good growths

MOTHER EARTH:

Mesekmekwé ngyénan ik she

Top soil our Mother now we

Wéwéne éndotmonag gé pe

Respectfully ask you to fulfill your

Bamziwen gé gin ga wje

Responsibility that is your duty

Bgetnegoyen éwi je nizhokmowiyak

You were placed to do and help us execute

Shewénmatenejnag éwi mno

Graciously and good

Zak k’yég mine wéwéne éwi

To sprout and properly to

Gizhgag jak gégo waje’ gé’ak

Mature all everything they/we plant

Éwi mémek mikwékek

And make them grow abundantly.

THE GOOD SPIRIT:

She wén ge’en mnomneto wéwéne

Merciful Good Spirit respectfully

Knedotmomen éwi kewabmiyak

We say to protect then (us) from

Jak gégo éje nizan wiyag

All of the dangers

Gche tche igwan n’mo jenak

Avert cyclone or

Gche wawiyasto jayék gégo

Great Whirlwind and all sorts of

Ze’angek égche mkomi

Dangers with great hail or falling storm

Biésag gé’aba éwi bwa

Also avoid excessive

Ozam wizganmek

Winds

Iw je gé she ndotmomen

Also again we pray you

Gche tche igwan jayék

Ward off all kinds

Éwi nénmoyak jak zengak

Then ward them off all danger

Éwi bwa pe gém jeka gwi yak

Then so it will not touch

Gche tche igwan nénmo jenak

Us ward off great dangers

I gé zenan dek noden

Including Hot Wind.

Some Childhood Memories

Good morning,

This particular article grabbed my attention this morning because it reminded me of the childhood I went through. I had friends who were white and pretty much treated me like the fellow who wrote this article about his black friend. I was a lot like Roy growing up, accepted into a white world, expected to behave in that white world, never accepted as an equal, and always felt the loneliness of being separate somehow. 

I was accepted because of the superior athlete I had become in the white world. I was on the basketball team, star football player, track and baseball team and scored more points than anyone, was the star player on any of the teams I played on. I was permitted to eat among my white friends in their homes, even dance with the white girls after some of the games we played in, but was never accepted as a human being, equal in all ways to any of them. 

Some parents openly let their kids know that I was to be watched while in the home. One parent told his wife to make sure I got plenty to eat, as I probably did not get that kind of food in my own home. One parent told his son and daughter I was an okay Injun and it was all right if they played with me. None of my white friends came to my home to visit with me, never!

So I know the Roy this article writes about. Like Roy, I went off to combat too, but I came back, much to their chagrin, and many of the white boys didn’t. Some of my white friends are still friends to this day. I always loved them and forgave them for their ignorance, as that what my dad and mom told me to do. My parents taught me to pray for my enemies and those who treated me despitefully, for they didn’t know any better. I had good loving parents who knew God and treated everyone as equals, as I was taught to.  

Just some thoughts to think on, eh?

Nin se Neaseno.

Dear Roy, 

You were the friend of my youth. You are black and I am white. When  we became adults, we drifted apart. You served in the military. I served  in the ministry. You died too soon for me to tell you this in person,  so I’ll tell you now. You endured more than you should have, suffered  more than you deserved, and were held to the unreasonable expectations  of white culture, yet still you were my friend. 

You came to my white church. You stayed in my white home. You ate at  my white table. Yet I never stayed at yours. An occasional visit to your  world was all my whiteness could warrant, yet you were expected to live  in mine. 

I was in your presence when the n-word was used, on multiple  occasions. I said nothing. You ignored it, while others laughed at your  expense. You were teased by folks in the church, mocking your blackness,  pretending to be welcoming. We wore our whiteness that arrogantly  paraded unceasingly before you. We expected you to conform to our  culture because we thought it superior. We saw ourselves as the savior  your community needed, that you needed. We deceived you with pictures of  a white Jesus, and never told you the truth that he was black. Jesus  was more like you than he was like us. Yet we pretended otherwise.  Because to do differently would have elevated you above us. And we  couldn’t have that. 

People shook my hand and patted me on the back. “How good of you to  befriend this black boy!” they said, without even acknowledging you  standing there. My white world treated you as anomaly, a novelty,  tolerated only as long as you were obedient, subservient, and didn’t try  to date any of the white girls in the youth group. 

In retrospect, I now know that my white world abused you, stifled  you, truncated your growth and experience. Long before Eric Garner or  George Floyd cried “I can’t breathe” all us white folks were stealing  your oxygen. You sung our songs, read our bible, believed our gospel,  all of which were stolen 100 years earlier from another black man at  Azusa Street. We never told you his story, only ours. 

Perhaps it was a saving grace that you were spared the turmoil in our  world today? Had you been given time to reflect on the harm brought to  you by my culture, you may have justifiably lost your mind, leading to a  compounding of your suffering. You would have been justified in your  anger at how you were treated, marginalized, ignored. You were present  in my world, but remained largely invisible. Only seen on the occasions  we wanted to justify our sins by pointing to your body as a token of our  righteousness. We were hypocrites and fools. You were patient and  endured our taunts longer than you should have. 

Ironically, many white folks reading this that shared our history,  will remember all of this differently. They will recall how kind we were  to you. How we payed your way to youth camps, bought you meals, had you  in our home, and were gracious enough to include you in all our  activities. “We treated you like family” they will protest. Refusing to  reflect on the motivations of why we chose to do so. Refusing to  confront the arrogance of assuming that you should come to us to learn,  because we know better than you. 

Roy, I’m sorry man. I’m sorry that I didn’t know better. That I  didn’t do better. I’m sorry that I’m just now saying this, years after  your death. I’m listening now. I’m learning now. I’m speaking up now. 

I hope you can hear me. 

I love you. 

Scot 

Some human thoughts

Memories from my childhood…

Good morning,

This particular article grabbed my attention this morning because it reminded me of the childhood I went through. I had friends who were white and pretty much treated me like the fellow who write this article about his black friend. I was a lot like Roy growing up, accepted into a white world, expected to behave in that white world, never accepted as an equal, and always felt the loneliness of being separate somehow. 

I was accepted because of the superior athlete I had become in the white world. I was on the basketball team, star football player, track and baseball team and scored more points than anyone, was the star player on any of the teams I played on. I was permitted to eat among my white friends in their homes, even dance with the white girls after some of the games we played in, but was never accepted as a human being, equal in all ways to any of them. 

Some parents openly let their kids know that I was to be watched while in the home. One parent told his wife to make sure I got plenty to eat, as I probably did not get that kind of food in my own home. One parent told his son and daughter I was an okay Injun and it was all right if they played with me. None of my white friends came to my home to visit with me, never!

So I know the Roy this article writes about. Like Roy, I went off to combat too, but I came back, much to their chagrin, and many of the white boys didn’t. Some of my white friends are still friends to this day. I always loved them and forgave them for their ignorance, as that what my dad and mom told me to do. My parents taught me to pray for my enemies and those who treated me despitefully, for they didn’t know any better. I had good loving parents who knew God and treated everyone as equals, as I was taught to.  

Just some thoughts to think on, eh?

Nin se Neaseno.

Dear Roy, 

You were the friend of my youth. You are black and I am white. When  we became adults, we drifted apart. You served in the military. I served  in the ministry. You died too soon for me to tell you this in person,  so I’ll tell you now. You endured more than you should have, suffered  more than you deserved, and were held to the unreasonable expectations  of white culture, yet still you were my friend. 

You came to my white church. You stayed in my white home. You ate at  my white table. Yet I never stayed at yours. An occasional visit to your  world was all my whiteness could warrant, yet you were expected to live  in mine. <figure>Roy at my birthday party. </figure>

I was in your presence when the n-word was used, on multiple  occasions. I said nothing. You ignored it, while others laughed at your  expense. You were teased by folks in the church, mocking your blackness,  pretending to be welcoming. We wore our whiteness that arrogantly  paraded unceasingly before you. We expected you to conform to our  culture because we thought it superior. We saw ourselves as the savior  your community needed, that you needed. We deceived you with pictures of  a white Jesus, and never told you the truth that he was black. Jesus  was more like you than he was like us. Yet we pretended otherwise.  Because to do differently would have elevated you above us. And we  couldn’t have that. 

People shook my hand and patted me on the back. “How good of you to  befriend this black boy!” they said, without even acknowledging you  standing there. My white world treated you as anomaly, a novelty,  tolerated only as long as you were obedient, subservient, and didn’t try  to date any of the white girls in the youth group. <figure>Roy and me at the Pentecostal Youth Camp in 1986 </figure>

In retrospect, I now know that my white world abused you, stifled  you, truncated your growth and experience. Long before Eric Garner or  George Floyd cried “I can’t breathe” all us white folks were stealing  your oxygen. You sung our songs, read our bible, believed our gospel,  all of which were stolen 100 years earlier from another black man at  Azusa Street. We never told you his story, only ours. 

Perhaps it was a saving grace that you were spared the turmoil in our  world today? Had you been given time to reflect on the harm brought to  you by my culture, you may have justifiably lost your mind, leading to a  compounding of your suffering. You would have been justified in your  anger at how you were treated, marginalized, ignored. You were present  in my world, but remained largely invisible. Only seen on the occasions  we wanted to justify our sins by pointing to your body as a token of our  righteousness. We were hypocrites and fools. You were patient and  endured our taunts longer than you should have. <figure>Roy getting ready to ride with us. Raising money for missionaries. </figure>

Ironically, many white folks reading this that shared our history,  will remember all of this differently. They will recall how kind we were  to you. How we payed your way to youth camps, bought you meals, had you  in our home, and were gracious enough to include you in all our  activities. “We treated you like family” they will protest. Refusing to  reflect on the motivations of why we chose to do so. Refusing to  confront the arrogance of assuming that you should come to us to learn,  because we know better than you. 

Roy, I’m sorry man. I’m sorry that I didn’t know better. That I  didn’t do better. I’m sorry that I’m just now saying this, years after  your death. I’m listening now. I’m learning now. I’m speaking up now. 

I hope you can hear me. 

I love you. 

Scot 

Enagdewendemyan ngom

Some thoughts today.
Tradition: the handing down of statements, customs, information, religious instructions, a body of knowledge representing belief systems, etc., from one generation to another generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice. Something that has been handed-down, or a long established or inherited way of thinking or acting.

Tradition can be explained in a variety of different ways, but it cannot be changed, for then it would no longer be tradition.
A traditional then, is one who practices the tradition they have been taught or trained in. Remember, tradition cannot be changed to suit anyone’s purpose.
Tradition is not something that can be mixed with anything else, accordingly, to some. Why then do some so called traditional people mix what they supposedly believe with the elements of alcohol, drugs, and the beliefs of such societies, for they indeed become learned behaviours, over a period of time. Some of us shall never understand why some folks drink and do drugs, which is very damaging to the traditional belief system, and still attempt to teach and run ceremonies.

Another thing, a traditional is someone who is supposed to speak in their original tongue, and yet many of these offering teachings, criticisms to others, the performance of ceremonies, often cannot speak their language fluently at all. One is supposed to be able to call in the Spirit/spirits by the use of that target language, sing the songs in that language, and conduct the entire process in the target language of their group. Those spirits whom the God sends in to assist one in the performance of a given ceremony speak in the target language of a specific group, not in English.

I have heard some become critical of others saying they were traditional and yet participate in Christian ceremonies as well. Many of our people have become Christian and still choose to speak their language and perform the standards of their traditional ceremonies as well. Manitoulin Island and much of Canada is this way, and America is not far behind.
In addition, ceremonies are still conducted in the Native Tongues of these groups. Song services or hymns, liturgies and the like are performed in the Native Tongues too, as well as scriptural readings and blessings. I have personally been to many of these types of ceremonies, for that is what they are called and conducted as, by the target groups performing them. I have come away blessed and feeling very close to the Spirit, close and at one with the people, and very much at ease with the proceedings of the whole event.

I am one of these Traditional and Christian believers, I make no bones about it. We don’t smoke, drink alcohol, do drugs, commit fornication or adultery, don’t believe in any unseemly sexual acts between men and women, your families and children can feel safe with us. We pay our taxes like everyone else, work hard, and you’ll not hear us swearing every other word that comes forth from our mouths. That is not pleasing to the Spirit of God, never has been, and never will among Traditional Practitioners.

My Elders never committed any of those acts of sin, and while I was growing up, I never heard any of those elders swear or say anything bad about women, as I do today. Much of what I read on FaceBook, I tend to block out and have distanced myself from people who insist on using foul language on the Internet.

Ehengh Bodewadmi ndaw mine emendokasyan pene she ebodewadmimyan ebidgeyan zhi mendokasgemek anake waka’egan wegwenshe ebidgewat gi neshnabek emadmowat nake ekigdowat o Geshemnedo…..

Let those who critique these type of beliefs come and do it in the language of our people, not in English. When we were children, we were not to throw sticks at anyone else, less we become like them.We were told that!

Iw enajmoyan
Nin se Neaseno.

Some thoughts

Ode nagdewendemwen…

Some years ago…….

Ya know, when one runs, when it’s time to walk, and one walks too fast when it may be time to stroll along, and further; when one walks, when it’s time to sit and ponder, and maybe just sit and observe awhile, it just might be possible one could miss the whole thing they are searching for in all that hurrying along. I heard an old man talk about that very thing once awhile back now. He spoke of taking the time to sit alongside the road once in awhile, instead of being in too big a hurry, and perhaps waiting for “the right leading” on whatever it happened to be one was seeking.  I interpret “the right leading” as a gut feeling, sort of.

Some of these young folks are traveling way too fast sometimes. They might just over-run whatever it is they may be seeking if they go too fast. That seems to be the way it is today though; rush, rush, rush. When I was growing up the old people always told us to take our time when it came to fasting, or going about some other way of ceremony. It was a ceremony for us to plan and make a pipe, complete with pipe stem, pipe tamp, bag and other essentials. 

I was told to acquire the red catlinite first, then prayerfully choose a design as to how I would carve it. Fashioning it was supposed to be done prayerfully as well, often taking a whole year to complete the process. Going out and choosing the right tree limb for my pipe stem was a process and became a ceremony in itself. One marked the tree, and then went out often to pray to the Surround Powers, and to request the spirit of the tree for permission to use it, and then at the proper time, go out and carefully cut the limb from the tree, without hurting the rest of the tree. This was done usually after the completion of fashioning the pipe bowl. Taking the wood for the tamp was done usually at the same time as the cutting of the stem. 

In the fashion which I have just described, taking of the pipe stem, this was referred to as “lifting” the spirit of the tree, for the general well being of the common people. In this way, the common people had a stake in all the young pipe maker was doing, and if the young person sought a vision and became a successful “Pipe Carrier”, having acquired a “vision” of sorts, the common people benefited from all the young person did. 

Many times the young pipe maker’s family and relatives helped him out with the making of a pipe bag and other accessories of the pipe. In this way, the whole family and extended family shared in the process and the young person often felt the strong support of his community. 

When one is gifted with a pipe, it was commonly expected one would go out and fast with that pipe in due time, but never in a rush. One also looked to their “religious experts” too, when the came  time to go out and sit in the wilderness somewhere to seek a vision. We refer to the wilderness as “megwesegyek” (thick brush). Those religious experts were the old ones who knew the ways among the Neshnabek, sometimes they were also called medicine men/women, and sometimes we simply called them Nakendemwajek, the wise ones. They had the power though and could communicate for you when it was time for one to go and seek a vision. It was thus important to keep them apprised of your plans to make a pipe and one’s desire to go out to seek a vision. 

Those old timers had Nizhokmagejek (spiritual helpers) to aid them in watching over you as well, while you sat out there in the wilderness. All of these things were done in accordance with our Neshnabek Ways and in our language. When you prayed to the Creator, you used your language to do so. I shall share more as time goes on of these things our young people did when accomplishing some of these sacred things of our people. 

Iw enajmoyan ngom,

Nin se Neaseno.

Medicine men and women

The wisdom and knowledge used by medicine people comes from other medicine people who came before them and handed down their ‘medicine’ to chosen ones. They train for many years and the medicine formulas, songs and other rites are handwritten on scrolls and medicine sticks which have been handed down over time.

It is unwise to try to interpret the Native writing in these various forms and use them without the proper training. Most are written in cryptic fashion, leaving out major portions that the practitioner has learned verbally, written in code or even written backwards.

We are told that the Native Medicine People travel to the lonely places to meet with the Little People from the spiritual realm and share in their secrets. Medicine people are still today an integral part of the traditional Native lifestyle.

Neshnabek Medicine People are not “shamans.” They are also not psychics and do not give readings.

Traditional Native Practitioners may consult with medicine people for help with medical problems, dilemmas in their lives or other problems. There are fewer Medicine People alive and practicing today, but those few are still known by traditionalists and others in Native communities. It is not accepted for medicine people to advertise or make their services known in other ways.

The proper way to find a medicine person is to be part of a Native community, ceremonial ground or family and to come to know this person through those connections. Please do not contact a Native Nation asking to be put into contact with a Medicine Man or Woman or asking anyone to help you become one. 

Respect

We must all have respect for one another as human beings, we are all descended from the same Great Spiritual being, God. To show or demonstrate respect and compassion for another is the same as recognizing where you are from, who created you, and that you are part of the family of God.

Something on Respect for Spiritual Powers and Spiritual People.

To give respect to another, one must first have respect, for oneself, for Spirit/spirits and Man, and above all a firm understanding that all things are interconnected throughout this vast universe, of which we are a miniscule part. If one does not have respect for any of those basic things, then one must needs go to the Spirit of all Life and ask to be given that staple of all gifts, respect. Sometimes it takes a search of one’s soul and spirit, an examination of one’s soul, so to speak, and upon discerning that something is amiss, then an acknowledgement of that, and a simple asking for forgiveness, thus a restoration of what one needs to see clearly. It is easy in this busy world to lose that element of respect one needs in their daily lives.

To understand that we are all connected, the two legged, four legged, creeping crawling kind, and the winged, and that we share this space, thus these elements, of fire, rock, water and the green, is to gain wisdom. Wisdom is one of the gifts the Spirit gave to mankind, along with love, bravery, truth, honesty, and humility. All of these gifts are interconnected as well, thus when seeking forgiveness when losing any one of them, they all are restored, which is the true fellowship of the Spirit.

It is the responsibility of Man to maintain what he has been given since he was also blessed with a free moral will, of which he utilizes in making the choices he needs to make. All other Life is given a set of original instructions along with the Life Principle, but Man was also given the additional responsibility of free will, thus putting the onus of making the right and moral choices in this life squarely upon his shoulders. All other life merely performs according to the set of instructions they were given upon creative inclusion.

We must always demonstrate respect to our elders and to the Spiritual Leadership, those who have spent considerable time acquiring their position of Leadership. People who have acquired spiritual powers and knowledge need to be honored, for several reasons. The first and foremost is realizing where that power comes from, it comes from the Spirit, or the Father of spirits. Secondly, the person needs to be honored for what they have accomplished in their lives, that of spending time fasting and praying for the Spiritual Power(s) to take notice and reward them with the spiritual gifts they possess.

Whenever something is taught or shared from one of these people, one must honor them with tobacco and a gift. This is done to demonstrate appreciation to Mamogosnan and thanking Him for anointing that person with whatever spiritual power(s) we have been blessed with. To not give tobacco and a gift of some sort to show appreciation and thankfulness would be considered rude and perhaps taking for granted the powers that be with our spiritual people. Special teachings, doctorings, special songs that are revealed, and spiritual insight or a word of wisdom/understanding/knowledge comes from the Spirit of all Life and we always need to honor that. To neglect it is to invite lethargy and spiritual laziness among the rank and file of the people, which Mamogosnan does not like.

Respect

respect [rɪˈspɛkt]

n

1. an attitude of deference, admiration, or esteem; regard

2. the state of being honoured or esteemed

3. a detail, point, or characteristic;in particular he differs in some respects from his son

4. reference or relation (esp in the phrases in respect of, with respect to)

5. polite or kind regard; consideration respect for people’s feelings

6. (often plural) an expression of esteem or regard (esp in the phrase pay one’s respects)

vb (tr)      

1. to have an attitude of esteem towards; show or have respect for, to respect one’s elders and others.

2. to pay proper attention to; not violate, to respect someone’s neutrality

3. to show consideration for; treat courteously or kindly

4. Archaic to concern or refer to

[from Latin rēspicere to look back, pay attention to, from re- + specere to look]

Learn your language

Growing up in a traditional community, I did not go to school to learn my language.  I learned it at home.  I was surrounded by it from my mother’s womb.  I learned to speak naturally as a toddler, listening to the baby talk and colloquialisms of the day.  I was able to converse in 5 Neshnabék languages by the time I was six.  Multilingualism was the norm of the day, when everyone spoke each other’s language and could understand what was said in one language while responding in another.  Mutual communication and respect of each other’s differences was inherent among us.

I first learned English at the age of 6…at school.   I did not just take English lessons.  I was immersed in it.  Every communication I had with my teachers, my peers, the bus drivers, the lunch ladies, the aides and custodians, all had to be in the target language:  English.  So I learned quickly, not because I had a set of 12 easy lessons, but because it was required for my survival. 

I remember with some sadness the first time I met Neshnabék people who did not speak their language.  As a young man, I approached a group of people who clearly looked “Indian” to me, only to find with much dismay that they could not understand any of the languages that I spoke.  They only understood English.  That first experience led to many, and I have witnessed first hand the decline and near disappearance of the languages of my childhood.

I have been steadfastly working with anyone who will take the time to learn the Potawatomi language for most of my life, from that first group of Neshnabék who asked me to translate what I had said to them, until this very moment of publishing this particular manual and many other manuals I have done.  Having observed all of this, I have this statement to make:

This language must be returned to the home.

It was only by survival that it was permitted to go into language classrooms and departments and classes and lessons.  That had to be, temporarily, because it was so far gone, it needed to be pulled out of the fire, so to speak.  But the time has come to return it to the home.  This manual is intended to be used AT HOME, by families who are dedicated to learning, remembering, and using this language. 

Nin se Neaseno

A.k.a. Donald A Perrot