Biimskwaaguk. Biimskwaashik Anishinabe Zhigaawin!

Swing and sway the Anishinabe way!

Nimi’iding – Dance (Literally to bend at the knee-  look at how we dance, this is a very good description!)

Note to Pow wow go-ers : Do not EVER CALL the dancer’s outfits Costumes! Refer to the outfits as outfits or regalia. This is our culture, NOT Halloween! Miigwetch. Also ask before you touch anything on a dancer or on a trader’s table, and do not take photos without asking permission first, and the proper way would be to offer the dancer tobacco:  / a tobacco tie / Loose tobacco/ or a cigarette. Miigwetch.

Jiingtamok – Gathering / Dance/ Pow Wow

Dewe’igan – Drum

Dewe’iganatig- Drumstick

Dewe’iganing – At the drum

Mishike zhiishiigan – Turtle rattle

Zhiishiigan – Rattle

Ngamwin – Song

Niimwin – Dance

Ngamo ininiwag – Male Singers

Ngamo kwewag – Female Singers

Bama api and Have fun on the Jiingtamok miikana!

Corrections  from Charles !! :

“M[i]tigoon boodaajigan – Turtle rattle”: really? Is there something that I’m not understanding here, because I read that as a “Wooden Horn”.

So I asked “How would you say turtle rattle? Mishike zhiishiigan?”

“That all depends. If you’re using a shell of a miskwaadesi as a ladle, then it is a mishiikenh-emikwaan. If the same turtle shell is used as a rattle, then yes, mishiikenh-zhiishiigwan. But a turtle shell itself is not zhiishiigwan, as that means “rattle”. The word for a shield or a turtleshell is widashwaa, so what a turtle has is a mishiikenh-widashwaa, opposed to the Romans with their Biiwaabiko-widashwaa.”

Zaagidawin miinawa Wiidaged

Zaagidawin miinawa wiidaged – to love and be married.

I noticed that people have been using internet search engines to learn Odawa words for love, so I thought I would post the word love and other things to say when snagging or after you are snagged here.

Awenen giin gidodem? – What is your clan?

___ nindodem. I am ___ clan.

Or you could say:

Migizi ndodem, awenen giin gidodem? – I am Eagle clan, what is your clan?

Why ask your clan first? Well for those of you who do not know, it is a no-no to date within your own clan, sort of like dating your family… even if the tribal affiliation is different and is a cultural no – no.

Also might be good to run through relatives names… just in case your cousins…. lol

Zaagidawin – to love / love

Wiijiiwshin – Come with me.

Gisaagi’in – I love you

Jiimshin! – Kiss me! (as a command)

Gikinjigwenshin!- -Hug me! (as a command)

Wiipemishin. – Lie down with me.

Gi ginaajiwi  / gi mikwaadizi – s/he is handsome / beautiful

Ninmoshen – My pet/ My sweetheart

Gi wii wiidigemin – I want to marry you.

Wiidigemishin – Marry me.

Wiidaged – Be married

Wiidagemaad – To be married to someone

Niibwid – Get married to someone

Ninaabem – My husband

Niwiiw – My wife

Days of the Week and Months of the Year

Also note that the Days of the Week are not a traditional concept for our Anishinabe people. This is a modern way of counting time, always prior to this we counted by season and winters. We technically have more “months” than the Christian calendar which refer to things happening in the early spring and later spring time. There are two ways to count the days, one is based on the Christian belief system and  one is a non religious way of counting/saying the days of the week. In some communities Saturday is called “wash day” . It all depends on what is going on during the week and months because that is how Anishinabemowin works… it describes things.

Days of the Week

(o) name giizhigad – Sunday ( pray day)

(I)shkwa (o)name giizhigad – Monday ( after pray day)

Niizh giizhigad – Tuesday (2nd day)

Abta giizhigad – Wednesday ( half day)

Spinganwan – Thursday ( consecration day)

Jibaatoo giizhigad – Friday – cross day

Maanii giizhigad – Saturday – its mary’s day

Also Wednesday can be called Zozep giizhigad – st josephs day


Aname giizhigad – pray day

Ntam giizhigad – first day

Niizh giizhigad – second day

Nswi giizhigad – third day

Abtaying – half

Naanan giizhigad – Fifth day

Ngodwaaswi giizhigad – sixth day

The Months of the Year depend on the location and the weather/ season…

The following are the months of the year for the central Michigan area.

Manidoo Giizis – Spirit Moon – January

Makwa Giizis – Bear Moon – February

Naabidin Giizis – Snow Crust Moon – March

Bopogaame Giizis – Walk on lakes/ Broken Snowshoe Moon March –  / April

Ziisibaakadake Giizis – Sugar Moon – April

Nmebine Giizis – Sucker Moon – May

Waabgonii Giizis – Blossom Moon – June

Miin Giizis – Berry Moon – July

Mnoomni Giizis – Ricing Moon – August

Waabagaa Giizis – Changing Leaves Moon – September

Bnaakwii Giizis – Falling Leaves Moon – October

Baashkaakodin Giizis – Freezing Moon

Manidoo Giizisoohns – Little Spirit Moon

Another note, we call years biboon (winters) like when we say our age is is in “winters” the winter count.
Ntam giizhigad, Nmebine Giizis, Niizhtana shi nswi, Niizhing mdaaswaak shi bezhig shi bezhig. Monday (the first day), May, 23, 2011.

Another note: I found this on another website

I think you should realize what you say when you say the following:

One week- Ningo anami’e giizhig
One month- Ningo giizis
One year- Ningo biboon

Ningo anami’e giizhig – literally one pray day

Ningo giizis – Literally one sun. I would not say it this way, I would say Ningo dibik giizis – One Moon

and Ningo biboon is literally One winter.


Anish ezhiwebak niijiikwenyaag? – Whats happening my friends?

I was woken up this morning by a police officer – Dakoniwewinini. Our cars and 11 others had been broken into in the middle of the night. So I thought I would post the word for Policeman – Dakoniwewinini and Policewoman – Dakoniwewikwe

Dakoniwewidaabaan – Police car

Odaabaan – Car

Dakoniwewigamig – Police Station

Gashkaabika’w – Lock someone up

Gashkaabika’ – Lock someone up (as a command)

Dibaakonigewigamig – Court House

Mi iw sa (That is all)

Bama api gi waabamin (see you later)


Aanish ezhiwebak Niijiikwenyag? – Whats happening my friends?

Today I thought I would add a  quick post.

Jiibakwewigamig – kitchen

Oshki Ikidwenan – new words

Giziidoone’on – napkin

Jiishada’igan – broom

Giizisoo mazina’igan – calendar

Baakaakoshigan – can opener

Giziiyaabika’igan – dish towel

Gibozige – s/he bakes things

Giishkada’igan – cleaver

Giziigiiginaagane – s/he washes dishes

Mikwamii makak – Refrigerator (Ice box)

Jiishada’ige – S/he sweeps

Gigii wiisin ina  zheba? – Did you eat this morning?

Kawiin, Niwii wiisin nagadj. No, I will eat later.

Gego ina giwii miijin? – Do you want anything to eat?

Awegonen eteg? – What is there?

Wawnon miinawa gookoosh wiiyaas miinawa pakwezhigan. – Eggs and bacon and bread.

Niwii giziibiigidopwin. I am going to wash the table.

Niwii giziibiiginaagane. I am going to wash the dishes.

Anishinabemowin Sound Chart

Boozhoo Niijiinkwenyag!

This is the Anishinabemowin Sound Chart we had to learn in one of my language classes. Our kinoamage inini made us repeat this at the beginning of our classes for the first few weeks of our semester. It does help you approach words and to learn to pronounce them better. Another tip, if you encounter a long word you are having trouble pronouncing, sound it out backwards ( example makademashkikiwaaboo sounded out from back to front like this: waaboo, kiwaaboo, kikiwaaboo, mashkikiwaaboo, makademashkikiwaaboo), or sound it out by syllable (mak  ade   mash  ki  ki  waa boo).

b — ba –baa–be–bi–bii–bo–boo





j–ja–jaa– je–ji–jii–jo–joo












Double Vowels

aa-ah in About

ii – e as in bee

e – a as in may

oo – as in food

Short Vowels

a- uh in cut

i -ih as in lit

o as o in low

Cooking/Kitchen Verbs and Sentences


Minikchiwagan-Something you drink out of (cup)

Boskina’gun – Bowl (Talks about its curviness) (Bea Collwelliban)

Desinaagan/Desinaaganan – Bowl / Bowls

Onaagan / Onaaganan – Plate / Plates

Ataasowin – Cupboard

Ataasowinan – Cupboards (you can tell that this word refers to something inanimate by the plural ending –an)


Emkwaan/Emkwaanan- Spoon/Spoons

Badak’jigan/ Badak’jiganan – Fork / Forks

Mookman/Mookmanan – Knife / Knives

Kchi mookman – Big knife

Pots and Pans

Akik/ Akikwag – Pot / Pots

Zaasgokwaan / Zaasgokwaanan – Frying Pan / Frying pans

Aniibiishakik/ Aniibiishakikan – Tea Kettle / Tea Kettles


Bischigeh- to bake (Literal meaning  - it raises)

Zhaabkizgan(Bea Collwelliban) or Gizhaabkizigan (Neganigwane Pheasant) – Stove


Esasskodek – Frying

Esasskodekweshigan – Fried bread

Table words

Dopwin/ Dopwinan – Table/Tables

Ta’magat dopwining – On top of the table

Namayiin dopwining – Underneath the table.

Anamowishin ziinzibaakwad. – Hand me the sugar.

Anamowishin zhiitaagan miinawa wiisagat – Pass me the salt and pepper.

Daga Anama’wishin – Please pass it to me / hand it to me.

About the Cook

Jibaakwe inini – Male cook.

Giwii jibaakwe ina? – Do you want to cook?

Jiibawaadan – Cook it.

Jibaakwe – S/he is cooking.

Ni jiibaakwe – I’m cooking.

Eating Words

Wiisini – To eat someone or something. The use of the word “someone” is due to animals and plants being animate and having a spirit so we acknowledge that in our words about eating.

Gwii minikwe na? – Do you want a drink?

Wegonesh waa miijiiyan? / Awegonen wa miijiiyin? (example of dialect difference, which doesn’t matter because they both say the same thing)  – What do you want to eat?

Gojipidan – Taste it.

Gojipidan maanda – Taste this.

Minopogozid na? – Does it taste good?

Miigwetchiwendan – Give thanks for it.

Ziigwebinan – Spill it.

Desa’an – Flatten it.

Wewiiginan – Wrap it up.

Gondan – Swallow it.

Nabonan – Fold it.

Webinan – Throw it away.

Wiisini – To eat.

Bakade – To be hungry.

Ni minikwe – I’m drinking.

Ni wiisin – I’m eating.

Ingii minikwe – I drank.

Ingii wiisin. – I ate.

Gigii wiisin’ na? – Did you eat?

Wiisiniwag Ininiwag – The men are eating.

Mino Pogozi – That 1 thing tastes good.

Mino Pogwaad – That (all of it) tastes good.

Maji Pogozi – That 1 thing tastes bad. (note, we Anishinabeg would never insult the cook by saying this, however you could use it if you were tasting something you made yourself or something purchased from the store, like an energy drink or something you could say it tastes bad.)

Gid ayaawaa ina’ makademashkikiwaaboo? – Do you have some coffee?

Gid ayaawaa ina’ opineek? – Do you have potatos?

Ndoo apachigo nimbakade / Ndoo apijige nimbakade – I’m really hungry.

G’depsinii na? – Are you full?

Ehn, n’depsina. – Yes, I’m full.

Kawiin n’depsiniisii – No, I’m not full.

N’depsina – I’m full / I’ve had enough.

Mishiiminag – Apples (You can tell that apples are animate because of it’s plural ending –ag)

Animal Sentences

Here are a few sentences to use with your new animal words. You can now say you saw an animal last night. You heard an animal last night. You smelled an animal, you saw the animal on the road. And you can see the difference in the word make up for the animal seeing you and you seeing the animal. You can make many sentences about most of the animals in the list by switching out the words for the animals present in the following sentences with other animals from your lists.

Nigii waabamaa  waawaashkeshii/ shkeshii dibikong? – Did you see the deer last night?

Nigii noondawaa mai’ingan noongwa. – I heard the wolf last night.

Ni biijiimaamaa zhiigaag. – I smell a skunk.

Nigii waabamaa waawaashkeshii miikanong? – Did you see the deer on the road?

Nigii waabamig wagosh. – The fox saw me.

Ni waabamaa wagosh. – I saw the fox.

Ni waabamaa wagosh nongom – I saw a fox today.

Gigii waabamaa ina wagosh ? – Did you see the fox?

Niwii waabamaa opitchi gizhep. – I will see a robin in the morning.

Bama apii!!

Wesiinhik / Ookaanag – Wild Animals / Farm Animals

Wesiinhik / Ookaanag

Makwa – bear

Nika- Canadian Goose

Amik – Beaver

Omakakii – Frog

Aamoo – Bee

Waagosh – Fox

Memengwaa – Butterfly

Ojiig – Fisher

Mashkodebizhiki- Buffalo

Bizhiki – Cow

Giniw – Golden Eagle

Aandeg – Crow

Zhiishiib – Duck

Adik – Caribou

Animosh – Dog

Baaka’aakwe- Chicken

Waawaashkeshi – Deer

Agongosens – Chipmunk

Mashtadim – Workhorse

Zhaangweshi – Mink

Maang – Loon

Waabizheshi – Marten

Bizhiw – Lynx


Kchi Waawaabiginoojii – Rat

Akakojiishi – Woodchuck

Mizisenh – Turkey

Wiinaange – Turkey Vulture

mai’iingan – Wolf

Asiginaak – Black Bird

Zhingos – Weasel

Washashk – Muskrat

Miskwaadesi – Mud Turtle

Gookooko’oo / gokoko – Owl

Mikinaak – Snapping Turtle

Gookoosh – Pig

Okaan – Farm Animal

Ajidamoo – Squirell

Gaag – Porcupine

Zhiigaag – Skunk

Bine’ – Partridge

Esibaan – Raccoon

Waabooz/ Waaboose – Rabbit

Baapaase – Downy Woodpecker

Nenookaasi – Hummingbird

Binesi – Thunderbird

Opichi – Robin

Gwiingweshi – Canadian Jay

Meme- Pileated Woodpecker

Diindiisi – Blue Jay

Gijigaaneshii – Chickadee

mayagi bine – Pheasant

Ginoozhe- N. Pike.

Gigooh – Fish

Diindiisi – Blue Jay

Mang /Mong – Loon

Agongosens – Chipmunk

Nenookaasi – Hummingbird

gijigaaneshii – Chickadee

Asiginaak – Black Bird

Zhingos – Weasel

Ojiig – Otter / fisher

Giniw – Golden Eagle

Migizi – Bald Eagle

Zhaangweshii – Mink

Kchi kaadi ginebic – alligator (big legged snake)

Gakina Gegoo – All Things In Life / Niizhwaaswi Mishoomis Gikinoo’amage’wiaman The Seven Grandfather Teachings

 Aaniin Niijiikwenyaag!

I am just going to do a quick post tonight. This one is on Akina Gegoo miinawa Niizhwaaswi Mishoomis Gikinoo’amaage’wiaman, think on these teachings. I will try and post more miijim words in tomorrow’s post.

Bama api gi Waabamin!

Gakina Gegoo – All Things In Life

Bemaadzid / Giigoohnik/ Manidoshenhsak— Humans/ Fish/ Insects

Maanwang/Netawging/Wesaakik/Mitigook— Berries/GardenVegetables/Vegetation/Trees

Aashbik/Asiniin/ Zhiw – Rock/ Stones/ Mountain

Wesiinhik / Ookaanag — Wild Animals / Domestic Animals

Niizhwaaswi Mishoomis Gikinoo’amaage’wiaman

The Seven Grandfather Teachings

1.)           Zaagi’diwin  –  Love

2.)           Debwewin – Truth

3.)           Dabasendizawin –  Humility

4.)           Gwayakwaadiziwin – Honesty

5.)           Manaajiiwaawin / Manaaji’ idiwin – Respect

6.)           Zoongide’ iwin  – Courage / Bravery

7.)           Nibwaakaawin – Wisdom

There is an Anishinabeg teaching story about the Seven Grandfathers. These teachings are taught from when one is just a small child all along through life. As our children grow so does their understanding of these teachings and the elders explain more in depth as the child is ready for understanding.

These teachings are important for understanding Anishinabeg culture. We as Anishinabeg try always to remember these teachings and approach all things in a good way with respect. None of these teachings operates alone but must go hand in hand with each other.

Anishinabe was given Wisdom in order to better his life through knowledge.

Anishinabe was given Love so that he could love his fellow Anishinabeg and teach them to speak well of each other.

Anishinabe was given Respect in order to show respect to all things (humans, animals, plants, water, air etc) on earth.

Anishinabe was given Bravery to face his life’s challenges in a good way.

Anishinabe was given Honesty to live in a good way with his fellow people, to speak well of others, to know and think through whatever life brings.

Anishinabe was given Humility to live in harmony and balance on earth with all other living things, never thinking himself to be better than any one of the other creations.

At last Anishinabe was given Truth after all of the other gifts were understood.

Reflect on these teachings and use them when you’re thinking about plants and the environment. One cannot pollute his water if he respects that water’s right to be pure so that all life may live and use that water, one cannot extensively log without respect, or wisdom to know that cutting all of the forest will leave no place for humans to gather wood for their uses, or for the animals to live. One cannot blow up a mountain top for coal if one knows the truth that the practice will pollute the ground water, ruin the habitat for humans and animals –  all life. One who knows these teachings will not over harvest plants for personal or commercial use.

One Response to Gakina Gegoo – All Things In Life / Niizhwaaswi Mishoomis Gikinoo’amage’wiaman The Seven Grandfather Teachings

Charles Lippert

Around where I am, gakina gegoo are described slightly differently:
* oniizhoogaadeg = the two-legged ones (humans)
* oniiyoogaadeg = the four-legged ones (quadruped animals)
* oningwiiganiig = the winged ones (birds)
* bemaadagaajig = the swimmers (fishes)
* memichaakamigaajig = the ones on the ground (everything else: plants, rocks, worms, etc.)

Niiwin Nekeying - Four Directions

Waabanong – East

Zhaawanong – South

Epingishmok- West

Kiiwedinong – North

Ishpiming (Giizhigong) – Heaven / Sky / Father Sky

Ngo Kii Noonwin – Four Seasons

Minokaami – Spring

Niibing – Summer

Dagwaagi – Fall

Biboon – Winter

Niiwin Kchi Mishkikiinag – Four Sacred Medicines

Asema – Tobacco – Men’s Medicine

Giizhik – Cedar – Women’s Medicine

Mashkodewashk – Sage – Men’s Medicine

Wiingushk – Sweetgrass – Women’s Medicine

Ngo Bemaadziwin – The Good Life (Life Stages)

Abinoojiihn – Baby

Shkiniige – Youth

Nitaawgi – Adult

Kchi Anishinabe – Elder

Ngo Bemaadis – Four Aspects of Man

Nendamowin – Mind

Wiiwying – Body

Enmaanjwaang – Emotions (Feelings)

Jiichaag – Soul / Spirit

Bemaadzijik Niiweyangiswag – Four Races

Niibiishaaboke – Asian

Anishinabe – American Indian

Makadenini – African

Waabshkeye (Zhaagnaash, Wemtigoozh, Megwenh, Aanmaa) – White (English, French, Polish, Ukrainian, German)

Aaniin Nijiikwenyaag!

Sorry that I missed a few days posting. Last weekend was a whirlwind, it was ngashi (my mother)’s birthday… and tomorrow is my husband’s birthday so I had to run around and get gifts and cake and make cards… yes I make my own… hand drawn…  Mom liked hers, it had an woodland style migizi (eagle) on it with floral…. my husband’s is Dr. Who inspired but I cannot describe it as he has not gotten it yet.

Anyways, I have listed the four directions, the four seasons, the four sacred medicines, the life stages  the four aspects of man, and the four races here and I will be having to catch up on making videos the weekend of the 14th as my neice graduates with her Masters degree from CMU this weekend, and it is my first wedding anniversary on Sunday.

Minokami sure brings out lots of hustle and bustle, more events, weddings, birthdays and graduations and open houses to attend…. not to mention planting things  gitigaaning (in the garden).

I will cover the four colors and other colors another time, as there are two sets, animate and inanimate… which is confusing to a beginner.

Also, Barb Nolan a fluent speaker and immersion teacher has started a website were she has posted immersion videos to help in teaching the language to beginners. I strongly encourage you to check them out and listen to them over and over again. You can click the link for her site in the blogroll on the right side of the page. Immersion is the best and fastest way to learn Anishinabemowin… or any language for that matter. Immersion is how we learned English as babies, from hearing it all the time.

Don’t forget to practice, practice, Practice!

Bama pii giwaabamin!

Study Tips

Aanii Niijiikwenyaag!

I am home from work, and thought I would make a quick post about studying the language. You should try and listen to the language as much as possible of course, and practice saying the words with someone. Finding an Elder to speak with is the best idea, but if you are an Urban Native or live away from your people, sometimes you can find language tables at Universities like the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota. You could look up language videos on Youtube, or practice with some of the sites and videos I have listed in the Blog roll.

For learning and memorization, each of my teachers and Elders had different recommendations for this. Some said that we should not focus on writing the language, only listening to it to learn the words and phrases. Which is good advice. Other teachers had their students write each new word / sentence 10 times to help them remember it, and use index cards as language flashcards for themselves, and label things in your house with the word only in Anishinabemowin on the item being labeled. Others had you string the words together in a song to help with remembering the words, or playing games in the language.

I personally have used all these methods. But I will tell you because I was learning to read and write the language in the beginning without having many opportunities to hear it spoken in person, I became somewhat dependent on the written word. However, today I have built up hundreds of hours of listening to fluent speakers and I can understand much of what they say. YAY!

My advice is to learn the words however works best for you, as you will know how you learn. Also, when beginning with the language, do not fear making mistakes in pronunciation, if you make a mistake you are more likely to remember the correct way to say it once you have been corrected.

I will tell you the most embarrassing mistake I ever made…

I was at a pow wow, helping my relatives with their booth, and we were talking about anishinabemowin words, and what I was learning. Long story short, I was standing there with my Auntie  and Uncle and they said what is the word for pipe? I said pojagawin? My Auntie burst out laughing and I turned 10 shades of red and I said “what did I say?”  She said “Ask your Uncle, he has one.” I instantly figured out what I said. I was sooooo embarrassed. So I then asked how to say it properly and learned the word for pipe and penis, and never made that mistake again. Just so you do not make that mistake,  the word for pipe is (opwaagan) and the word for penis is pojagawin

Keep learning!!

Please feel free to leave me comments or questions!!

Bama api gi waabamin