“That Which Is Given to Us”
(A Native Perspective on the Notion of Wealth)
|Images: ©2014 Simone McLeod|
CHI-MIIGWECH BIMAADIZIWIN (A PRAYER TO LIFE)
Miigwech for the seasons who enter and leave your life like friends. Bringing rejuvenating temperatures at times when your soul feels cold.
Miigwech to the four legged who provide nourishment and protection. Blanketing us when we look at our naked loneliness.
Miigwech for the depth of our emotions that allow us to understand true joy by showing us pain.
Miigwech for another day that cannot be truly wasted if I choose to spend it curled up like a kitten reflecting on lifes mysteries.
Miigwech for allowing me to shed my raindrops as I water the flower that will bloom as new love within."
- Simone McLeod
|Offering a bowl of Giizhik (Cedar)|
|Offering a bowl of Asemaa (Tobacco)|
|Offering a bowl of Mashkodewashk (Sage)|
|Offering a bowl of Wiingashk (Sweetgrass)|
Cultural clash of worldviews
To be continued...
Miigwech for reading and listening.
Miigwechiwendan akina gegoo na: Be Thankful for Everything!
The four sacred plants of the Anishinaabe Peoples:*
- ASEMAA, tobacco, representing the Eastern direction. The oldtime Anishinaabeg also used giniginige (commonly written as “kinnikinnick”), a mixture of mishkoobimizh (red osier dogwood) and zaagaakominagaanzh (bearberry) and tobacco, or sometimes mishkwaabiimizh (red willow) with wiingashk (sweetgrass). Both asemaa and giniginige are still used in the offering of prayer to GICHI-MANIDOO, as a way of communication, their smoke lifting the prayers to the Great Mystery, or set on the ground in a clean place as an offering. Either offered through the fire (Zagaswaawin, smoking of tobacco) or just held in hand, using tobacco to extend prayers of thankfulness is something that is done on a daily basis as each new day is greeted. And to this day, Asemaakewin (tobacco offering) is customary when seeking knowledge or advice from an Elder or when a Pipe and/or a Drum is present.
- GIIZHIK, white cedar, representing the Southern direction. When burned, its snipped leaves act as a purifier, giving out a pleasant piny scent, cleansing the area as well as body and soul of any participant.
- MASHKODEWASHK, white sage, representing the Western direction. It is burned as a purifier, emitting a spicy scent.
- WIINGASHK, sweetgrass, representing the North. This too, is a purifier, replacing negative with positive. It gives out a sweet, aromatic scent, especially when burnt or when it rains. When it is harvested, it is cut, never pulled. Many things are made with it such as wiingashkoo`iinan (coiled baskets), and when braided it signifies the hair of Omizakamigokwe (Ogashinan), the Earthmother.
Akina Inakaaneziwinan Wiikondiwin ("All Nations' Feast") acrylic painting by Simone McLeod (2014)
Four details of the acrylic painting Aki Omiigiwewinan ("Gifts From Mother Earth") by Simone McLeod (2014)
About the authors/artists:
Simone McLeod (her traditional name is Aki’-egwaniizid, which is an Ojibwe name meaning "Earth Blanket") is a Nakawe-Anishinaabe (Saulteaux) painter and poet, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1962 and a member of Pasqua Nation in Saskatchewan. She belongs to he Name doodem (Sturgeon clan). She feels a special kinship with her mother's people, the Azaadiwi-ziibi Nitam-Anishinaabeg (Poplar River "#16" First Nation) of Manitoba. Simone descends from a long line of Midewiwin seers and healers and artists. Her artwork has been appreciated by several art collectors and educational and health care institutions from Canada, as well as by art lovers from all over the world.