Necessary stuff to know


Present                 nde

Immediate future         nge

Past                    ngi

Future                  nwi

Future                  nda

Singular                BMOSE

                        To walk

Nde she bmose            I am walking


Odanek nde she bmose          present

Odanek nge she bmose          future

Odanek ngi she bmose          past

Odanek nwi she bmose          future

Odanek nda she bmose          future/intent

Plural                  MBEMSEMEN

                        We are walking


Odanek nde she bmosemen       present

Odanek nge she bmosemen       future

Odanek ngi she bmosemen       past

Odanek nwi she bmosemen       future

Odanek nda she bmosemen       future/intent

Some more examples:

Wi                      h/s is going to

Gwi                     going to

Gda                     could/can

Odanek ne gwi she bmose? Singular

Are you going to walk to town?

Odanek ne gwi she bmosem?     plural

Are you guys going to walk to town?

Odanek gda she bmose.         Singular

You could walk to town.

Odanek gda she bmosem.        plural

You guys could walk to town.

Odanek gda she bmosemen. plural/inclusive

We could walk to town.

Odanek ne wi she bmose?       Singular

Is he/she walking to town?

Odanek ne wi she bmosek? Plural

Are they walking to town?


Mbe bamse                    I am walking around.

Pa msewak                    he/she is walking around.

Gbe bamse                    you are walking around.

Pa msewek                    they are walking around.

Wi pamse                     he/she is going for a walk.

Nwi pamse                    I am going for a walk.

Nwi pamsemen                 we are going for a walk/exlc.

Gwi pamsemen                 we are going for a walk/incl.

Ke pamsemen                  let us go for a walk.

Bebamset                     one who walks/sing.

Bebamsejek                   those that walk–also all the/plural.

Bmose or bmosewak             walking or walking by

Bmosek                       walking or walking by/plural

Egi shke wepset              when h/s first started walking.

Ni je pi ga ne wepset         whan did h/s start out walking?

Ni je pi wa ne wepseyen       when are you going to start out walking?

Kwi dnen                lift it or that.

Bseg widnen             raise that.

Some more spiritual terms:

Ke bse gwidnamen

Literal: Let’s raise it!

Spiritual use: means to resurrect something or bring something back

that has been dormant.

Ode ebse gwid nemgo

Literal: As we raise this.

Spiritual meaning: As we resurrect this/As we bring this back to life.

Ode gabse gwid ne gadek

Literal: This thing that we raised.

Spiritual meaning: This thing that was resurrected: i.e., ceremony and/or part of a ceremony, or a sacred object.

Weje bsegwid nemgo

Literal: Why we are raising this.

Spiritual meaning: Why we are resurrecting this!


Usually an offering of tobacco/could be an offering of anything.


Is being being put down as an offering.


Tobacco pouch.


Our Grandmother Earth.


Mother Earth.


Father Earth.


Grandfather Earth.


Daughter Earth


Son Earth


All of our relatives


Our Grandfather (spiritual drum term)


Our Grandfathers (pl.)


Our Father


Creator/The Greatest Father of us all!

Bmedak wchigabo

Stands up to offer a prayer

Ahau, nge bme dak wchigabo

OK, I will get up yo offer a prayer!

Bemdak wchigabot

One who offers a prayer!




Spiritual drum service/doings (having to with the Dream Dance)

Zekson gemwenen

Spiritual Big Drum songs


Water Drum




Staffs that hold the drum off the ground on the Big Drum.


Drum sticks


Drum stick

Shewendag wsowen



Ceremonial prayer/ceremony









Iw enajmoyan

That is all I have to say/Amen!

Iw se nagomgek

Another one!

Etso nangotoygo

Each and every one of us!

ZIBIWEN—-of rivers:

Singular:                         Plural:

Zibe           river              zibiwen

Zibiwes        creek              zibiwesen

Tkepzibiwes    spring creek        tkepzibiwesen

Tkep           natural spring      tkebin

Tkepis         small spring        tkebisen

Mbes           lake               mbesen

Mbeses         small lake          mbesesen

Senajwen       rocky rapids        senajwenen

Wawyajewen     whirl pool          wawyajwenen

Wasjewen       shimmering rapids   wasjownen

Mdwejwen       sound of rapids–river

Bmejwen        flowing by river,creek, etc.

Gwekjewen      current changes direction

Mbishkik       marsh

Askobisen      puddle

Mbeshes        pond in middle of marsh

Kwedajwen      up stream

Nisajwen       down stream

Related terms:

Nambik         under water

Kwedbik        on top of the water

Gmidma         it’s deep water/in reference to water

Tkwidma        it’s shallow water/in reference to water

Gshijwen       fast current

Dokmejwen      quiet/peaceful water–slow current

Bedadga        slow swimmer

Bmadga         h/s is wading or swimming

Neadga         h/s knows how to swim

Bgezo          h/s swims/bathes

Bgeze          another one?

Gogi           to dive under water

Gshi yadga     h/s is a fast swimmer

Bges           swim/bathe

Pamshka        to go boating

Bmeshka        on a boat

Gwijen         floating on water (anim.)

Gwi de mget    it’s on the water (inanim.)

Gwdapne        to drown

Gwashkwebito   splashing/sound of

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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