This is Neaseno, and his mother, Marion Young Perrote, Zhikwés. She is directly descended from Nsoakwet John Young, and along with her husband, Waubenose Donald Amob Perrote Sr, raised this little man on the Bluff near Arpin, WI. In this mixed community, she spoke Potawatomi and Winnebago to her children, and they did not use much English until Don Jr. was in school.
As her name indicates, this fierce little woman was a stalwart in my husband’s life, raising her children with dignity and grace, and always remembered the importance of her identity as a Potawatomi and the importance of her language.
When this beautiful woman combined her efforts with my husband’s, they were able to teach me the basic rudiments, tone, and cadence, of this language. Many a day I would spend on the phone with her, practicing speaking this language, until she grew too tired to do so anymore. She had such a beautiful soul, and stood on her faith in Christ with a fierceness that matched her name.
My husband’s parents, Waubenosé and Zhikwés, provided the upbringing, support, and knowledge that formed and shaped my husband. He was raised speaking many languages and learned to live and operate in a culture that in these modern times is considered foreign on the very soil where it was cultivated for thousands of years. We remember our elders today and how we walk following their footsteps. They made many sacrifices to keep and pass on what we hold dear today.
nin se zagjewekwe
Ahau nwi mbyege nomek…..
Yes, both of my parents were highly instrumental in giving me all the rudiments of being Neshnabe. They taught me it was more than looking like a Neshnabe, sounding like one in spoken language, acting like one, but being one of the heart. My dad used to say such simple things, which I still hear in the silence since he left. He once told me to seek the God, not the gift. If I would seek the Giver, and not the gift, I would always have him in my heart. That became of paramount interest to me over the years. I can know everything about my culture and its roots, but if I don’t have the Spirit deep within me, I have nothing.
I have sought that more than anything else in this world and have been privileged to being given all the rest of anything I ever wanted to know, simply because I sought the Giver first……making sure of the relationship I had with him, Mamogosnan.
Ahau, iw enajmoyan, nin se Neaseno.