Bodewadmi nazwenen – Potawatomi Colors
A study in particles relating to colors.
When studying the words for colors, one must take a moment and look around the world with the eye of an artist. The “blue” of the sky is not the same as the “blue” of a navy blue shirt. It is often helpful to understand Potawatomi color words by what they describe to avoid preconceived notions of what the translated color looks like.
Enadek what color it is (inanimate)
Enazwen what color it is (animate)
Basic color words:
Wizaw Yellow or Brown
Wéjepkwa Dark Blue or Purple
Zhominazwenen Another Purple
Using these colors to describe things requires the use of particles, and a basic knowledge of color mixing. Here are some words and descriptions given by Donald Perrot, heritage fluent speaker, PBPN, May 12, 2012:
Skebgyawen – It is green (describing the color of a leaf on a tree)
Skebgyawnon – they are green (describing the color of many leaves on a tree against the color of the sky
Mkedeskebgyadenon – it is dark green.
Wabiskebgyadenon – it is light green.
Gishekskebgyadenon – it is bluish green.
Gizheknazwedenon – It is blue (describing the color of the sky at midday)
Gmidmagizhekdenon – it is a deep blue. (Prussian blue)
Gizhekayawen – It is blue (again describing the color of the sky, listed as a variant)
Gizhinon – It is sky blue (used to describe an object that is similar to the color of the sky)
Wejepkwa éskebgyawen – It is bluish green (describing the color of the grass as compared to the leaves on the tree)
Wejepkwa éskebgwa nake gizhonazwen mine skebgya – Blue Green (a deep green with bluish undertones, like the color of grass in the shade)
Wéjepkwadék – Dark purplish blue (describing the sky right after sunset before everything turns black)
Wabwejepkwazawedenon – They are a lighter purple (describing blooming lilac flowers)
Wabmeskwazawedenon – They are a “hot pink” color (describing hot pink flowers)
Wabmeskwaékwejgakwézawnon – They are a muted pink, literally “a shadow of itself” (describing the pale pink of a conch shell)
Wabwizawedenon – they are bright yellow (describing bright yellow flowers)
Wabmkedébiwabwedenon – They are a grayish color with brown undertones (describing the trunks of trees through the leaves)
Énazwenajek – used to describe the forms of colors of animate things
Nazwen – a color (noun)
Wabmkedé ékwejkawkwézawwedenon – They are a muted grayish color (describing the trunks of trees again)
Géchwa she wabnazwé’et se i namkemgéwen – More light can be seen as you go down, allowing the color to show through (describing how the color of the trunk of the tree changes as you look from top to bottom depending on how much light is filtering through the leaves)
Ékwejkakwewizawedenon – They have a muted brown color (describing the brown on a finished piece of furniture)
Zhonyaw – It is shiny (describes the metallic color of silver or gold)
Wizawsheshkiwen – Brown dirt
Jagnazwenen sheshkiwen – Dirt with many colors
Mskwegishek mine skebyagishek – Red and Blue days ( a teaching of the Potawatomi).
Skebgya – a blend of green and blue with more green, used to describe green, growing things. It was noted that the color of the sky is considered the “true blue”.
Gishek – Sky
Gizhekwedenon – The color of the sky. “an established blue”.
Wabakwet – Gray Cloud
Wabakwod – It is gray (describing a cloud)
Wabek – does not just mean tomorrow or morning. It’s real meaning is “White as it pushes the darkness away.”
Wabmskawizawedenon – they are a reddish orange color (describing a shirt)
Wizawmskwéwedenon – they are a reddish brown color, like the color of cherry wood
Wizawmskwedénon – they appear to be a blending of red and brown (describing a burgundy colored recliner)
Wabmskwédénon – they appear to be a blending of white and red (describing a pinkish color) perhaps the color of the rising sun in the Eastern sky.
Mskwawizawnon – the reddish yellowish of the rising sun.
Wizawamget o gizes – the sun is bright yellow in his full color.
Zhominazwenen ni ankwedonen – those clouds are purplish.
Wizawmkedenon i wngekwen – the bark is dark brownish.
Wabshkedbe – white headed.
Wizawdbe – yellow headed one.
Wabwizawdbe – platinum blonde headed one.
Mskwadbe – red head…
Desamenazwenon – flesh colored or flesh toned.
Wiyasenazwenon – skin or flesh toned.
Zheshkienazwenon – Earth tones or toned.