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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Love Stories from the Land of Many Lakes, part 3


Does a canoe have dreams?

I know this much:
A jimaan is made of birch bark.
Birches are spirits capable of dreaming
Therefore I believe my jimaan can dream.

Perhaps one day, soon

my jimaan will dream a dream as fluid
as the rivers and streams crossing Nimaamaa-aki
and as strong as the roots of the cedar trees 
standing tall on the rocky banks of Gichi-gami.

As if powered by a mysterious force beyond, 
this dream steers my jimaan along scarlike slopes
and enchanted beaches of the finest multi-colored sand
along places filled with mysteries and lessons and songs.

Through the roar of rushing waves that sing rhythmic songs 
of magic tales washing ashore since the dawn of times
Haw sa, my jimaan will take me to that hidden place
That special cove I can finally call my home.

-Zhaawano Giizhik

Click here to read the fourth episode in the series "Love stories from the Land of Many Lakes":"The Flower and the Star."

Visit the website to read more poetry by Zhaawano and Simone.


Word list:

Gich-gami = the Great Lake; Lake Superior
Haw sa = yes!
Jimaan = canoe
Nimaamaa-aki = Mother Earth


About me and my sources of inspiration:

Zhaawano Giizhik, Native Woodland artist and writer
My name is Zhaawano Giizhik. I am an American currently living in the Netherlands. As an artist and jewelry designer, I like to draw on the oral and pictorial traditions of my Ojibwe Anishinaabe ancestors from the American Great Lakes area. For this I call on my manidoo-minjimandamowin, or 'Spirit Memory'; which means I try to remember the knowledge and the lessons of my ancestors.

The MAZINAAJIMOWIN or ‘pictorial spirit writings’ - which are rich with symbolism and have been painted throughout history on rocks and etched on other sacred items such as copper and slate, birch bark and animal hide - were a form of spiritual as well as educational communication that gave structure and meaning to the cosmos. 

Many of these sacred pictographs or petroforms – some of which are many, many generations old - hide in sacred locations where the manidoog (spirits) reside, particularly in those mystic places near the coastline where the sky, the earth, the water, the underground and the underwater meet.


  1. A story so beautiful it should never be forgotten or stop being told. A love such as this surely should be shared. Miigwech for sharing it with all of us Zhaawano