The following are the most used prefixes in the language as they deal with various types of tenses. Also a little explanation on animate and inanimate prefixes. The i for inanimate objects is singular and stands for it, that, the, depending on the sentence. The ni is plural and stands for these, those, them, the. So we have:
Inanimate i singular, and inanimate ni for plural objects. Also remember that inanimate plurals end in the letter N.
Animate o for singular and gi for plural. Remember that animate plurals end in the letter K.
WA- Future tense. GA- Past tense. E- Present tense.
NGI-I- Past tense. NWI-I- Future tense. NDE- Present tense. NDA- I could, can, should.
WI- h/s Future tense. WGI- Past tense.
GWI- Future tense. GGI- Past tense. GDE- Present tense. GDA- You could, can, should.
NINAN – us, exclusive.
Ninan nwi shyamen.
Ninan ngi shyamen
Ninan nde shyamen
Ninan nda shyamen
GINWA – you guys.
Ginwa gwi shyam.
Ginwa ggi shyam
Ginwa gde shyam
Ginwa gda shyam
WINWA – They are.
Winwa wi shyek
Winwa gi shyek
Winwa da shyek
GINAN – us, inclusive
Ginan gwi shyamen.
Ginan ggi shyamen
Ginan gde shyamen
Ginan gda shyamen
The following prefixes and suffixes are used to denote past tense, present tense, future tense, and plurals of the subject. The prefixes and suffixes are BOLD so that you can see a pattern in the language usage.
NI PI JE – Where (We will use “where” to make simple sentences.)
E – Present tense WA – Future tense GA – Past tense
Ni pi je Eshyayen? Where are you going?
NI pi je Eshyayek? Where are you guys going?
Ni pi je washyayen? Where are you going?
Ni pi je washyayek? Where are you guys going?
Ni pi je gashyayen? Where did you go?
NI pi je gashyayek? Where did you guys go?
NI JE PI – When (We will now use “when” to make some sentences)
Ni je pi washyayen? When are you going there?
Ni je pi washyayek? When are you guys going there?
Construct Verbs using Body Parts and other things…
Nibden – my teeth
-yabdé -abdé or -denwi
Nenji – my hand
Nzet – my foot
Njash – my nose
Ndon – my mouth or my lip
Ntog – my ear
Ndep – my head
Nshkishek – my eye
-gwé (eyed or faced)
Ngotagen – my throat
Ndamken – my chin or my jaw
Nek – my arm
Ken – bone
Nwinsesén – my hair
-sesé or -nankwé
Ndesam – my skin
Nkaké – my chest
Ndodosh – my breast
Nowéy – my cheek
Wnagen – dish
-Gwé and kwé can sound suspiciously similar, so it is very important to listen carefully and use correct pronunciation. -Gwé can refer to the face or to the eyes.
Jigwé Thunder (Next to His Face)
Shomigwé He/she is smiling
Mniwnagigwé Infected runny eye
Pesangigwé Black eye (bruised eye)
Meningwé He/she has eye boogers
Bokigwé one-eyed, single-eyed
Winingwé Dirty Face
Other endings to watch for are -kadé and -gadé. -Kadé refers to “legged,” while -gadé is an inanimate intransitive ending.
Nyéwokadé He/she is Four-legged
Nishokadé He/she is Two-legged
Gkejgadé Something is hidden
Wébnegadé Something is discarded
Here are some contextual examples of endings, some coupled with other particles. This language is based on PARTICLES which have meaning, but must be attached to other particles to form complete thoughts.
Magwzede He/she has Big Feet or Smelly Feet
Kchemagwzede He/she has Really Smelly Feet
Génozedé He/she has long feet
Tkozedé He/she has short feet
Gachzedé He/she has little feet
Wawagzedé He/she has pigeon feet (crooked feet)
Mbiwzedé He/she has wet feet
Datkezedé He/she has toes that point outward
Begwzedé He/she has dry feet
Nchiwzedé He/she has ugly feet
Mskwiwzedé He/she has bloody feet
Mskwéwzedé He/she has red feet
Mkedéwzedé He/she has black feet
Winzedé He/she has dirty feet
Binzedé He/she has clean feet
Zheshkiwzedé He/she has soil or sand on feet
Goniwzedé He/she has snowy feet
Mkwemizedé He/she has icy feet
Gishkzedé He/she has a cut off foot
Mnozedé He/she has good feet
Mowzedé He/she has poopy feet
Mtakgwzedé He/she has bare feet
Gzinzedé He/she washes feet
Gziszedé He/she scrubs feet
Mbegzedégabo He/she has a flat tire (literally: He/she is standing there with a flattened foot – implies vehicle)
Mbiwdebé He/she has a wet head
Gzindebé He/she washes head
Psakwdebé He/she has a burning head (has a fever)
Peshkwdebé He/she is baldeHe/
Binagdebe He/she has a clean head
Winagdebe He/she has a dirty head
Mbwakawdebe He/she uses his head (smart or wise)
Édbesendebe He/she thinks lowly thoughts (humble)
Édbeséndezot H/s thinks lowly thoughts of himself/herself
Wabshkewzhé He/she has White skin
Mskwiwzhé He/she has Blood on skin
Gzibigwzhé He/she washes their skin
Mektewzhe He/she has black/dark skin
Gzibinsewzhe Wash your skin
Bmedewensewzhe He/she has greasy skin
Mniwabdé He/she has an abcessed or infected tooth
Wasadbégabo He/she stands with shiny teeth
Niskabdénwi He/she bares h/h teeth
Gsiyabdé He/she brushes teeth
Gsisyabdé He/she scrubs teeth
Throat and misc.
Gishkakgwendagwné He/she has a sore throat
Gikijdagwné He/she has a sore throat
Zagdamknégabo He/she stands with chin sticking out
Zagdamknéshen His/her chin sticks out
Gikmenejé His/her hand or finger is numb
Magnowyé He/she has big cheeks
Magdodoshmé He/she has big breasts
Magtogé He/she has big ears
Winankwé He/she has dirty hair
Binankwé He/she has clean hair
Mbiwnankwé He/she has wet hair
Mishigwé He/she has a hairy face
Mishkadé He/she has hairy legs
Mskwiwjané He/she has a bloody nose
Gzigwé He/she washes face
Gzinjé He/she washes hands
Gzibingé He/she washes things
Gzinagé He/she washes dishes
Gsisega He/she scrubs the floor
Winsega The floor is dirty
Zamdoné He/she has a big mouth (talks too much)
Winagdoneket He/she is foul mouthed
Mbwakawdonet He/she speaks wise things
Mishkwedone He/she sounds ambitious or full of resolve
The White World knows little about the workings of the human mind and can only guess as to the true workings of the Neshnabe pysche. Ocasssionally they get lucky and someone will write a paper on his/her discovery to supposedly share with the rest of the world, but in reality, they publish for recognition. There is much in the White World that speaks of greed and they are always doing things for personal recognition.
That should not be so in the Neshnabe World, but it is our observation that many Natives are becoming much like their White counterparts. There was a time when everyone was motivated for the right reasons and for the right goals; that of making the nation strong and personal recognition did not matter all that much. Even on the path of battle (war), the warrior did not cast aside his ability to reason and his loyalty to the group he came from was never at issue in his thinking.
The people of yesteryear were a complete people and could have taught many cultures a thing or two about longevity in this world. This is a truth, for they are ever coming to us now and seeking the wisdom, knowledge, understanding that our teachings and teachers still possess. If they had only listened to some of our early Sages, things might have been different for all of us. For now, we struggle to get the few blessings which are entitlements for us in that they come from The God, not from Congress or the individual states we reside in.
Such is the Purification Lodge and all ceremonies that emanate from it.
So, it behooves us to protect and preserve the things we have shared with you, for they belong not only to you, but to all of your children and grandchildren and so on down the line of descendants we leave behind us. Long after we are dead there will be someone stirring the ashes of some ceremony looking for some wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Let us take good care of the teachings and ceremonies so there shall be something left for those who are walking along behind us.
The rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct……natural philosophy, moral and metaphysical philosophy.
LIFE: The Fire, The Rock, The Water, The Green.
The Two-Leggeds, The Four-Legged,
The Creeping Crawling Things, The Winged Nation.
The Life Principle is found in The Liquid Life Of All Things.
The Blood = Liquid Life
The Four Basic Questions Known to Man:????
Who Am I?
What Am I?
Where did I come from?
Where am I going again?
The Four Hills of Life:
Babes Youth Middle-Age Old-Age
Everything Has A Beginning and An End:
Only The Fire God, The God, or He Who Walks In The Fire,
has no beginning and no endl
But we have Life in and through The Fire .
It is through The Fire that we have our movement, being:
past, present, future.
THE RITE OF PURIFICATION
Ancient Symbolism Attached To This Rite:
Eternity Past Eternity Present Eternity Future
GAGI: Forever, always, never ending……
The concept of Eternity in the Indian language has a present sense about it;
From the most ancient times, Eternity
The distant future, Duration
Perpetual Without end, Always, Everlasting time, Lifetime (s).
Some words that could be similar:
The beginning is like the end-the end is like the beginning. Wheel without end or World without end!
All we can do is mark the circle of our lives with certain happenings as gradations of our lives, likewise the RITE OF PURITICATION or SWEAT RITUAL or any other type of wheel; medicine circle/wheel/ceremony.
Fasting or Mkedekewen
It is a serious business of allowing the Spirit of all Life to review your life and being willing to take a hard look at yourself in retrospect, as the God sees your life. Most folks do not view fasting as such, as they see themselves going out and getting some sort of power animal, or a gift for themselves to wallow in pride with, collection Sea-Stories, any vision based on their current vision of themselves, usually based on some inflated image of themselves. Fasting can be a deadly game to play, with Spiritual Powers sent to help you examine yourself.
Let us examine this word fasting and see what it means, both to the secular world and then to the traditional Neshnabek world.
gerund or present participle: fasting
abstain from all or some kinds of food or drink, especially as a religious observance.
Mkedekewen/Fasting to the Neshnabek:
Abstain from all food and drink, companionship, creature comforts, such as sleep, reading, any form of relaxation of the body, in an effort to discipline your soul and spirit to commune with itself and the God.
Mkedekewen becomes a time of how one learns to listen to their own spirit and soul’s rhythm, while the God and His Messengers help one review your life and how that has influenced your life thus far. It is a slo a time of deep relaxation without sleep and learning how to turn your complete self, jejauk, over to the Spiritual Powers. God can show you the truest form of deep relaxation, without all the vexations of sin and its influences.
Sin to the Neshnabek is any act, any thought, any word(s) that tend to separate one from an honest and open communication with the God and his Spiritual Powers, for those Powers are but a true reflection of himself.
One goes out to some solitary place to reflect on your life, sit alone and become at one with all of Nature and the God who created it all. There shall be no one to sit with you, human that is, but the Intercessor/Medicine Man/Holy Man, shall be in direct communication with the God and his Powers in your behalf. All the while you’re out there by yourself; 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours, or 96 hours.
For me, fasting is all about choices; once I am there seated among my spiritual fellows and amongst the God and His Powers, I must make a choice to accept what is revealed to me about self and future goals the God may have for me. I can either accept what I am shown or reject it, perhaps it was only a dream, which many do. Many come back from their fast and try to live righteously for a time but usually fail after a time, if they are not committed to what they are doing in the first place.
THE FIRE – THE FIRE WITHOUT END OR BEGINNING
First, The Pipe carries: Wisdom Knowledge
We must always pray for: Bravery
Endurance Alertness/Awareness Patience
Tobacco is the sacrificial Offering that gives its life for us-
Fire is the “One” that activates,facilitates the life of the tobacco so it can then approach the (12) Grandfathers Council Fire (Altar) in its spirit state as smoke.
Fire Can Give Life or Take It!
As smoke, tobacco can thus rise upward to present the petitions it has heard within the Sacred Circle of Life.
The Fire and Tobacco work together to carry our prayers upward to the third plateau (spiritual mesa).
THE THREE PLATEAUS :
All Future Life
All spirits, (mjimnedok as opposed to spirits)
past and present.
The Two-Leggeds, The Four-Leggeds
The Creeping Crawling Things, The Winged Nation
The Fire, The Rock, The Water, The Green
Some Further Sacred Notes:
The Red Pipe Bowl represents the blood of The People. The Female is the ‘ one held responsible for the Nation’s welfare as it is through her the little ones are born, thus the Red Pipe Bowl is representative of her.
0 Grandfather Earth u
N Grandmother Earth N
E Father Earth I
N Mother Earth 0
E Son Earth N
s Daughter Earth
s Father Fire Core
Perfect unity exists in the Universe of Universes!
Unity also speaks of Marriage Relationships and should tell us why The Marriage Rite is so sacred to our people.
There is marriage between two elements in the Pipe cere111ony: Wood and Stone.
The Pipe Stem has the Male EndThe Pipe Bowl has the Female End The Tobacco is the Intercessor!
The Spiritual Marriage between Eternity past and Eternity Present is consummated when the Bowl/Stem are joined together.
That is why this ceremony; The Pipe Ceremony and any time the Sacred Pipe is used, is so important to our people.
We are actually re-creating something from Eternity Past and asking for a joining together of our wills (desires) and thus, requesting the power to carry out only good actions, speak good words, think good thoughts among the Life we are a part of on this altar: Mother Earth, Father Earth, Son Earth, Daughter Earth.
1st 25 years
Éshkewebsek nish wabdek nsech nyanno pon
2nd 25 years
Énishwek nish wabdek nsech nyanno pon
3rd 25 years
Énswesek nish wabdek nsech nyanno pon
4th 25 years
Enyewsek nish wabtek nsech nyanno pon
Wabseni white stone man
Skebgya seni blue stone man
Mskwéwa seni red stone man
Wizawa seni yellow stone man
Kche wabe windigo great white giant
Pondese old man winter/great white giant
Pi’éjkena wild man of the woods
Nyéwo mina’éwen the four gifts
Égwamzewen go in peace
Mshkekiw détpesé zhechkéwen
Medicine wheel concept
Shkwéyak bnewi historical
Nigan wa zhewébek future
This Life that we embrace is not really the Life we are after.
All life comes to a predicted end; death-
All tribes have teachings and ceremonies governing this phenomenon: To take care of the grief and other feelings connected with it when we, the living must say goodbye to a friend or relative.
The real Life is hidden in The Fire and it is not until death that we shall really know what we are and where we are going again: Going Home Ceremony!
Thus the four basic questions will ultimately be answered in Eternity Future, but do not forget it is all part of -the present to our people. How we should walk ever so humbly and carefully and not tread on anyone else or on anything else that is living or has Life!
We need to remember how frail we are
SOME NOTES ON GI-BAH-MAHN
GI Grandfather CORE, The spiritual part of our being, the lamp of our being, the fire within
Terrestrial, takes care of body, feels grief, joy, sorrow, Strong feeling part of our being.
MUHN (Body) is for feeling
and that is why a lot of sicknesses into come from guilt.
Guilt lives in the belly region, loins, operates from there out the blood. Life is in the blood!
The Muhn (Soul) (Body) is an unusally sensitive part of all human things.
It will do exactly what one tells it to do.
Hence, if you keep telling someone or yourself a negative thing about themselves (yourself) he/she begins to believe it and will ultimately act upon it. The Liquid Life within us begins to accept whatever it is that it is being told and it then becomes a part of us.
When we begin to believe something ourselves or someone else it becomes a part of our rational intellect or thinking, thus a part of our complete selves:
Aura. Chee Jauk. (Gi Bah Mahn)
Those of us who have children should long remember the vvords of the elders on these few simple things. If you are married, never tell your mate she is useless. Always hold one another in high regard and prefer each other before the other. Practice this simple act of humility in all aspects of traditional life. Always remember your children are watching you.
The four main Potawatomi verbs are animate intransitive, inanimate transitive, inanimate transitive, animate transitive, and independent and conjunct forms….
VAI verbs (animate intransitive)
These are used to make statements or ask simple questions. Someone is doing something, but it doesn’t directly affect anyone else or mention the item. Examples include “I am cleaning,” “Nde binjege”, “I went home”, “Ngi giwe”, and “They left”, “Gi majik”.
VII verbs (inanimate intransitive)
These are often adjectives in English like “It is red,” “They are red,” “It is large,” or “They are large.” Often, weather will also fall into this category. For example, “It’s cold,” or “It’s hot.” (mskwawen i), (Mskwawek ni), (mesham i), (meshamgedonen ni), (ksenyamget or Gzhatemget).
VTI verbs (inanimate transitive)
Use these verbs when a person acts with or on an item. Once you mention the item, you use this type of verb. For example, “I see it, the chair,” or “I pick it up, that table.” (ndewabdan I jibtebwen, nmamgenan I dopwen).
VTA verbs (animate transitive)
This is when someone interacts with someone animate. For instance, “I told them,” “They told us,” or “We saw her or him.” (Ngi widmoashek, wgi wabmawak).
VAI verbs (independent form)
Use this form when making basic statements and asking simple yes or no questions like, “Are you hungry?” or “Did they leave?” (gbekte ne, gi majiwat ne).
Gi– past, wi– future
Nmaji: I leave
Ngi maji: I left
Nwi maji: I will leave
Gmaji: You leave
Maji: He or she leaves
Obviative: Majin: leave
Nmajimen: We – you leave (Exclu)
Gmajimen: We all leave (Inclu)
Gmajim: You all leave
Majik: They leave
Conjunct form (dependent form)
This is used when asking more complicated questions such as who, what, when and where as well as when there are two verbs in a sentence. The second verb is often put into the conjunct form.
Egi or ga– past, ewi or wa– future
Ga and Wa are subordinate tense markers that are used in questions and to supply information.
Majiyan: I leave Majiyen: You leave Majit or majiwak: He or she leaves Majiyak: We – you leave Majiygo: We all leave Majiyek: You all leave Majiwat: They leave
Other AI verbs Binchege — he/she cleans Giwe — he/she goes home Kikto — talk he/she does
Sentences Ngom nwi-majimen. — We are leaving today. (ninan) Today n-men means “we” but not when speaking directly to the person; for example: Maji — leave
Ngom gwi majimen —-We are all leaving today. (ginan) Nago ne ggi-maji?: Did you leave yesterday? Ni je pi wa majiyek?: When are you all leaving? (conjunct) Ni pi je ga binchgeyen?: Where did you clean? (conjunct) Giwek: They are going home. Gi giwek: They went home. Wi giwek: They are going to go home. Giwek ne?: Are they going home? Wabek ne wi giwek?: Are they going to go home tomorrow? Konege, wabek wi giwek.: Yes, they are going home tomorrow. Ni je wi ga majit (wak) o kwe?: Why did that woman leave? (he or she) We ni je giwet (wak)?: Who’s going home? (he or she)
I attempted to load that video recording on here early this morning but for some reason it wouldn’t take it. I have it loaded on the patreon site for ya all to hear and observe it. This site might not be compatible with that size of video. Go to the http://www.patreon.com/neaseno site to view the video then….
Why you should learn your language…….or as one person asked me recently, why should I learn my language? I informed him that the Potawatomi People have a Potawatomi language given to them by their Creator…when folks ask him what and who he is, how does he answer them when they ask him about his Potawatomi heritage? How does he answer if they should ask why he doesn’t use his heritage language? What does he say to folks when they ask why he doesn’t seek to learn his heritage language? How does he justify not using his heritage language telling people who he is? Why doesn’t he use his heritage language in prayer? What does he say to people when they find out he is Potawatomi and does not know his own mother tongue? This young man shared with me that he was a traditional, being quite proud of informing me he was a member of the Big Drum. So I asked him, for that matter, what language does he think those spirits speak, English or Potawatomi? What language does he think his concept of God speaks, you know the One who gave him life and also gave his people their heritage language?
A more interesting question for some of you……what language do you pray in and don’t you believe the God who created us, likes it when we use the languages we were given? Are you Potawatomi like me? Do you speak Potawatomi? Are you aware there are language classes being conducted every week, somewhere by any one of the Seven Bands of Potawatomi in the United States? Do you do everything in your power to make it to at least one of those classes? The classes we teach, though we are not connected with any Tribe, are Contract Learning Classes. I am Prairie Band Potawatomi, but have had my own Web Site http://www.patreon.com/neaseno and Teaching Business for 20 years. We charge reasonable fees for Instructors and materials, but still keep our costs down. Still, that is cheap when you consider the quality teaching you get for those fees, when you compare the cost of concert tickets, movie tickets, or even DVD’s once or twice a month, along with what smokers must pay for cigarettes.
Something further on praying in your language, if you are Potawatomi or Bodewadmi, as we say in our language, have you tried learning that tongue to talk to the Lord? There are many Tribes that sing in their Native language and some even have Bibles written in their tongue. It is beautiful to hear the Cherokee sing Amazing Grace and to hear the spoken Ojibwe language reciting various scriptures from the Ojibwe Bible. I love to worship the Lord in Bodewadmimwen and pray using our spoken tongue. It just makes me feel that much closer to my Lord and Savior.
God did create all languages and if He took the time to create something very specific like you and me, the bear, the wolf, the deer, and other creatures, then he expects us to follow our original instructions, and make the sounds pursuant to our language, so we need to start speaking Potawatomi… If you don’t know your heritage language, then begin to learn it and speak it when you pray and sing in your worship. Come to think of it, what language do you sing your songs in? I hope it is in Potawatomi if that is the language you speak or are learning…..better yet, start thinking in Potawatomi too as it shall help you learn that thought process.
It takes a lot of effort to learn your mother tongue, but it can be done if you take pride in who you are as a Potawatomi person. I do! I want to say I am Potawatomi and pray in my heritage language, think in that language and even sing in it. I want to do everything in my Mother tongue and when I pass from this world into the next, I want the Lord to welcome me into that world using my Neshnabé name and in Potawatomi. That is the language I have been using to worship Him and that is why I would feel especially blessed to be recognized by God in that language. What will you do when you meet your Maker in the next life, and wouldn’t it be wonderful to be greeted and welcomed in the language you spoke here in this Earth Walk? You don’t really think this life and this world is all there is, do you?
Do something about it now and learn your own language and cultural ways.
We have the means and the classes…..check out our Web Site at www.patreon.com/neaseno for online classes and cultural teachings on the Neshnabé Languages and Way of Life.
We offer classes at modest fees, on Zoom three times a week, including a cultural class featuring a lot of Potawatomi language within the class program.