Good morning jayek ginwa:
The two pictures I have posted today are of my mother and dad, whom I am remembering with much fondness and gratitude today. Memories are like golden strands of forever life as they come flooding in reminding me of the past days of my youth. They were good times, happy times with much laughter and joy. I grew up in a strictly traditional community made up of Bodewadmik, Ojibwek, Menomenik, Winbyegok, and assorted other tribal folks that occasioned to visit our community, now and again. I grew up hearing those languages spoken by my parents and other elders that inhabited our little community. We were all Native People figuring we had escaped the United States Government and its Removal Policy of those days.
We didn’t of course, as the long arm of said government reached out and found us, but we were protected by many of the whites surrounding us on all sides, often encamping on various properties belonging to them. These several white families, some of whom who had influence with various government officials, sought release from Removal for us, and we were allowed to purchase lands with our annuities paid to our people. Most of our tribes had already been removed to Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and other States during those times, but some of our old Leaders chose to take some of our people and flee to the North intending to hide among other tribes, but ending up with white farmers protecting us instead.
My mother and father always spoke our native language in the home amongst themselves and to us children. There were two of us, my brother Edward and I that were raised by my grandparents though, thereby giving my mom and dad the ability to both work in the towns near us, while we were much younger. My grandparents and the elders among us spoke only the native languages already cited and this is why my brother and I were the only two children who grew up speaking our various tongues. Unfortunately, my kid brother was killed in a tragic hunting accident when he was only 17.
I owe much to my parents and the elders that raised my brother and I, for without them I wouldn’t be able to speak this language today. I participated as a helper for many years in the various ceremonies of our people as well, which is why I still know them today along with the songs that were sung during those times. There is not a person among us natives that can say they would amount to anything in this Native World, without our elders. We all are, we have our movement and our being, as Neshnabek, because of them and the price they paid to keep these wonderful languages and culture alive. I honor my parents and all of my elders for who I am today, as a Neshnabe; gete Neshnabe eyawyan!
Nin se Neaseno.