Mno waben

Kyet nam gwi mnogishget shote ngom.

I was taught to arise early in the morning by my elders when I was a kid growing up among mostly elders, as both of my parents worked. Grampa and Gramma were always up early doing things, mostly getting ready for the day’s events. I would go out and offer my prayers with offerings, we called them mbegnegadewen.

Mbegnegadwen became a habit over the years and even when I left home for the Service of our Country, I continued making offerings of my prayers so our units were protected. It consists of one’s prayers along with a tobacco offering, but sometimes could also be small offerings of food placed at the base of a tree.

Grampa advised me to never forget my language. When I pointed out I would have no one else to speak with, he said I could always pray and/or talk to myself. The important thing here was to use the language and hear myself speak. That came to be sound advice as there were many times I spent alone and even taught myself to listen to the words I spoke, very quietly at times, if I were on patrol or some job requiring caution. I have always had the ability to think in my language so that was no problem.

I translated a lot for my elders after I learned to speak the English tongue. They were appreciative of that I am sure, but where we lived, there were several whites who became proficient speaking our language, enough so as to be able to speak with some of our elders when they went shopping in town. There was one man in particular who owned the Feed Mill, Grocery Store, and Bar and Grill in the little town of Arpin where we lived close to., about 6-7 miles.

Precious memories these are, this morning. I am reminded of many of my relatives who have walked on and those I worked with at a young age. The Bluff, or Skunk Hill, as we called it was an interesting place and was my birthplace and home for the first few years of my life.

Ahau iw enajmoyan ode waben

Nin se Neaseno.

Author: neaseno

I was born on Powers Bluff in Wood County, Wisconsin, into a traditional community of Neshnabek. I was raised speaking only native languages, and learned to speak English upon entering school at the age of 6. As of this writing, I am one of 5 remaining Heritage Fluent Speakers of Potawatomi.

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