Ode mnedowen msenegas

Spiritual Lexicon

Neshnabe kendaswen             traditional neshnabe knowledge

Neshnabe                                the good being (male) created from nothing and lowered down to this earth. Name of all people who are descendants of the people who speak the various dialects of neshnabemwen

Mjina neshnabek                     there are those who think they are neshnabek and by all they try to do and act, they will become more neshnabe-like and/or spiritual. These tend to act as though they are more spiritual than others of their kind. Proud and haughty are they!

Neshnabemwen                      The Neshnabe language/The Three Fires language

Sema                                       tobacco

Sen                                          rock/stone

Atsokan                                   traditional cultural story

Ezhikenimnonadzed bemadzet     The study of the behavior of life

Bemadzet                                a human being

Bsendagmowen                      acquired knowledge, learning from listening

Bgosenjegewen                       things hoped for

Zhewenmeshen                       pity me/have mercy on me

Zhewenmeshnak                     have pity on us/also mercy

Zhawenmengomen                 they are jealous of us

Kcheneshnabe/kcheneshnabek     The Ancient Ones

Epitsewat neshnabek              The Ancient Ones

Gete Neshnabek                      The real ones

Wakendemwajek                    the wise ones

Debwewen                              truth

Gwekwadzewen                      honesty           

Dewegen                                 drum

Edneswen                                Natural Law, natural behavior

Segmekwe                               Mother Earth

Eyawyan                                  identity, the way all is in me or every way I am of my being

Kche mkede mko                    large black bear

Gichidakwe                             female ceremonial helper

Getesewen                              intuition, the navel way, mother connection to you

Gwabminjegewen                   knowledge from observation

Kshemenedo                           Great Spirit

Mamogosnan                          The Creator

Kendaswen                              knowledge

Kenjegadewen                        reality, a known truth

Kimingoa anwe kendaswen   The original instructions given to the Neshnabek by Kshemenedo

Mkedeke                                 the act of fasting

Mkedeke’w’egan                    a fasting lodge

Mkedekewen                          fasting or vision quest, the way of the quest.  We say this because the spiritual people who put us in the ways of “extreme danger”, or “path of the fire”, literally place us in harms’ way when we go out to fast. That is why we place the smudges of black charcoal on each cheek and forehead of the “quester.

To go before the SPIRIT in such a manner with the imploring we do when we cry out for a vision, or a gift, in those lonely places is to be willing to die for the sake of the people i.e., so the common people may live. So the “vision quest” has nothing to do with individual effort or EGO. In fact, the EGO of the quester           must die out. It is the way of death to man’s spirit or control over his pitiful life, so the real spirit inside him can live and do the will of the SPIRIT for the common people. It is a way of self sacrifice to bring back the power of the SPIRIT for one’s people, so they can all live!

Mnedo wabewen                    Revealed Knowledge

Mnedo                                     a spirit

Mnedoke                                 conduct a ceremony

Mendokaswenen                     a ceremony

Mnedoskwim’mendamowen  Spirit memory/blood memory, stitched into your spirit.  The knowledge that enters this world when one’s spirit fuses with the physical body, spirit identity     

Menjemendamowen              memory, hold and stitch together

Mnobmadzewen                     The Way of the Good Life, In order to have a good life one must have a goal. This goal is to be free from illness, to live to the fullest. Bemadzewen is based on a concept of health and good living. One must work on prevention and not only healing. It is a Holy Life. One must eat well, act well, and live physically, mentally, emotionally well. Emotional well being is a key to Bemadzewen.

Mshekeke                                medicine that comes from the roots of Earth

Mshkekiwen                            the way of medicine

Meshomes                              Grandfather

Debwetawen                           belief, the truth that is evident in the way of action. One cannot know the truth unless one has seen or experienced it in a direct way (physically or spiritually).

Debwewen                              Faith, the heart that all relates to, truthfulness.

Nedendowen                           responsibility.

Nagdewendemwen                 A spiritual vision/or deeper level thoughts

Apwewen/nademowen           Vivid dream/lucid

Nbwakawen                            wisdom, from the root-nebwa-in the kindness of putting yourself backwards but at the same time of bringing forward the wisdom one carries.  Thinking back, bringing forward and stitching all together; i.e., life knowledge (Elders).

Nendamowen                          forget, unstitched.

Nenmowen                              thought.

Nisawai’igwan                         at the center, Nawai: center.

Nswe shkode Midewigan       The Three Fires Medicine Society

Noden                                      wind, also the old term to describe the workings of the mind.

Nokmes                                   My Grandmother

Nwendeman                            choice, browsing in one’s thoughts

Nwennamdanwen                   making a choice

De’h                                         heart

Odewegen                               the way of the drum

Wenizhejegeyan                     free will, the way I am going to do things

Wanen’enema                        will, has to do with the ability to think independently.

Wigiwamatek                          lodge pole

Zagidewen                              love/caring, all of something emanating out of you. Not the same as the English “make love”, sexual, but rather of caring. It is something based on mutual respect. You can feel it but you cannot touch it. It is all of you filling the heart of another, mnadenemwenen, feeding that heart with the thought of something. Out of Zagidewen a human being is able to heal him/herself.

Zhishigwen                              shaker, rattle.

Shkebdagen                             shooter, as in medicine dance ceremony.

Inendeman                              what I think

Inendagwet                             what I permit

Inendagzewen                         what is permitted

Nagdewendemwen                 deeper level thoughts, often what one does not share with others easily for whatever reason, or reasons. These deeper level thoughts are sometimes somewhat embarrassing to reveal for the individual, but are known by the SPIRIT and the Interpreters/Translators.  The stuff we keep inside is what makes up who we really are and what our true identity is. (Eyawyan)

Kchenendezwen                      proud, haughty thoughts of oneself!

Shiwnendezwen                      mean, ugly, vicious thoughts culminating in that type of actions toward another or others. Generally a mean spirited and dishonest action

Shiwnadzewen                        verb describing the above actions of a person like that. (Shiwze: mean, cruel, without mercy)

Gishkteg’gazwen                     Judgment! Any action(s) the Spirit/spirits take against a person who is bad or acting contrary to what is believed and embrced by a like-minded group. This is thought to include witchcraft of any kind and any mean actions that are thought out and carried out against another.  The old people used to tell us when a person knowingly starts out on the wrong path and keeps going down that way, it is like a person who grabs the top of a small sapling and bends it all the way to the ground, then lets it go, whereupon it springs back at him/her slapping with full fury at that person again and again.  From this story, they would tell us the Spirit’s word or judgment is “springy”.

Gemazhechkewen                   Sovereignty! Usually refers to the sovereignty of the Spirit!

Yanshitmawat                         they became discouraged

Shiwze                                    he/she is fierce/mean/cruel

Shiwzik                                    they are fierce/mean/cruel

Gzhiptem                                 you are hard headed

Gzhiptemwik                           they are hard headed

Gzhiptemwenen                      hard headedness/stubborn-ness, usually referring to a state of being; that of being stiff necked, beyond reasoning and usually of an impassable nature; very stubborn.

Gdemages                               you are poor

Gdemagzewen                        a state of being poor and not realizing how poor one can be. Said to be without mercy, thus without love, humility, truth, honesty, wisdom, bravery and respect; even self respect.

Widoktadwen                          that sense of community, togetherness, that innate sense of tribalism that permeates a group that one can sense long before they can verbalize on it. It has a sense of love and belonging that others who do not have it can feel with their spiritual centers; the soul, spirit, and body each have the (5) senses active within them;  touch, taste, smell, feel, hear and more.

Widoko                                    to interact, commune with; usually on all levels when used in a spiritual context.

Gambojek                                those that passed away, that walked on, those that died.

Gambot                                   he/she who died or walked on.

Nbowen                                   to pass from the scene, to walk on, but in spiritual application, it has to do with dying out to the self, so the gete neyaw can live i.e., the real man/woman self in all of us. It is said in the old days, this concept was taught to all young boys and girls who were going out to vision quest. (mkedekewen).

Young people were taught to allow old habits to die out so the real self could live and be invigorated with a new heart, soul, spirit so as to acquire new habits pursuant to the teachings of the early neshnabek.

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s