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Chi-mewinzha

Ojibwe Stories from Leech Lake

2015
Author:

Dorothy Dora Whipple
Edited by Wendy Makoons Geniusz and Brendan Fairbanks
Illustrations by Annmarie Geniusz

Chi-mewinzha

Stories of an Ojibwe elder in the original Ojibwe, with English translation

In the first ninety-five years of her life, Dorothy Dora Whipple has seen a lot of history, and in this book that history sees new life. A bilingual record of Dorothy’s stories, ranging from personal history to cultural teachings, Chi-mewinzha presents this venerable elder’s words in the original Ojibwe and in English translation to create an invaluable resource for learning this cherished language.

Dorothy Whipple’s recollections, sometimes funny and sometimes emotional, offer insight to the realities of Native American Life. Chi-mewinzha is an easy read that’s both entertaining and educational for all ages.

Northern Wilds

In the first ninety-five years of her life, Dorothy Dora Whipple has seen a lot of history, and in this book that history, along with the endangered Ojibwe language, sees new life. A bilingual record of Dorothy’s stories, ranging from personal history to cultural teachings, Chi-mewinzha (an Ojibwe term meaning “long ago”) presents this venerable elder’s words in the original Ojibwe, painstakingly transcribed, and in English translation to create an invaluable resource for learning this cherished language.

The events of Dorothy Dora Whipple’s life resonate with Ojibwe culture through the twentieth century, from tales of growing up among the Anishinaabeg of the Leech Lake Reservation in the 1920s and 1930s to an account of watching an American Indian Movement protest in Minneapolis during the 1970s. In between, we encounter modern dilemmas (like trying to find a place to make a traditional tobacco offering in an airport) and legendary stories (such as the gigantic beings seen in the water chi-mewinzha). Dorothy’s own recollections—sometimes amusing, sometimes poignant—offer insight into the daily realities, both intimate and emblematic, of Native American life.

Dorothy remembers an older sister coming home from boarding school, no longer speaking Ojibwe—and no longer able to communicate with her siblings. This collection resists such a fate, sharing the language so critical to a people’s identity and offering a key text to those who learn, preserve, and speak Ojibwe.

Chi-mewinzha

Dorothy Dora Whipple, whose Anishinaabe name is Mezinaashiikwe, is an elder from the Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota who lives in Cass Lake. She was a member of the Minneapolis American Indian Community for many years. She has spoken Ojibwe her entire life and has worked on numerous Ojibwe language revitalization projects, including the University of Minnesota’s Ojibwe Language CD-ROM Project.

Wendy Makoons Geniusz is of Cree and Métis descent, raised with Ojibwe language and culture. She is assistant professor of languages at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. She is the author of Our Knowledge Is Not Primitive: Decolonizing Botanical Anishinaabe Teachings.

Brendan Fairbanks is a member of both the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. He is assistant professor in the Department of American studies at the University of Minnesota.

Chi-mewinzha

Dorothy Whipple’s recollections, sometimes funny and sometimes emotional, offer insight to the realities of Native American Life. Chi-mewinzha is an easy read that’s both entertaining and educational for all ages.

Northern Wilds

Dorothy’s own recollections-- sometimes amusing, sometimes poignant-- offer insight into the daily realities, both intimate and emblematic, of Native American life.

Anishinaabeg Today

Chi-mewinzha

Contents

Introduction: Stories of a Leech Lake Elder
Wendy Makoons Geniusz
Editors’ Remarks
Brendan Fairbanks
Chi-mewinzha
Ogii-waabamaawaan Chi-ozagaskwaajimen
They Saw a Big Leech
Bagijigeyan Asemaa
When You Make a Tobacco Offering
Ziigwan, Niibin, Dagwaagin, Biboon
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter (Version 1)
Ziigwan, Niibin, Dagwaagin, Biboon
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter (Version 2)
Iskigamizigeng
Boiling Sap
Ji-bagijiged O-miigaazod
To Make an Offering When He Goes to War
Agoodwewin
Snaring
Gii-pi-bajiishka’ondwaa
When They Came to Give Them Shots
Gii-twaashin Mikwamiing
He Fell through the Ice
Shut Up!
Bagida’waang Zaaga’iganiing
Fishing with a Net on a Lake
Wii-maji-doodawaad Awiiya A’aw Gookooko’oo
When the Owl Treated Someone Bad
Agoodweng Waaboozoon
Snaring a Rabbit
Manoominike-zaaga’igan
Rice Lake
Gii-maazhendam Gii-nanawizid
He Was Upset When He Was Empty-Handed
Ogii-miigaadaanaawaa I’iw Waazakonenjigan Imaa Atood Miinawaa Iw Aazhogan
They Fought to Have That Stoplight and Bridge Put In
Imbiindaakoojige Imaa Asiniing
I Made an Offering There on the Rock
Makwa Ingii-pimaaji’ig
Bear Saved My Life
Notes on Orthography
Transcription Notes
Glossary