For a friend who passed away in 2010

Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe Language)
Anishinaabe Nanaawdchigewin (traditional medicine)
Chiahyaog (elders)
bakwezhigan (fry bread)
Ishkonigan (reservation)
Geebawug (spirits)

Sestina Carnival Edition #1 was held on June 23rd, 2006

“Sovereign Nation”

after the women cooked the bakwezhigan
the children gather round the chiahyaog
tell us tales before the ishkonigan
when our ancestors walked with the geebawug
we will tell you only in Anishinaabemowin
it is necessary as anishinaabe nanaawdchigewin.

before the people had anishinaabe nanaawdchigewin
they ate grains but not bakwezhign
then they were given speech in Anishinaabemowin
and stories were told to the first chiahyaog
one by one revealed the geebawug
this was long before the ishkonigan.

although today we live on the ishkonigan
we still heal with anishinaabe nanaawdchigewin
our shaman are guided by the geebawug
similar to the wafting smell of bakwezhign
we tell you this as your chiahyaog
be proud to speak in Anishinaabemowin.

when you speak and sing in Anishinaabemowin
it lifts you beyond the ishkonigan
someday when you become the chiahyaog
and you teach the ways of anishinaabe nanaawdchigewin
as a lesson when cooking bakwezhign
then you can commune with the geebawug.

behind the veil is the world of geebawug
they speak to our souls in Anishinaabemowin
feeding a hunger unlike bakwezhign
in a vision of hope for the ishkonigan
show the way to anishinaabe nanaawdchigewin
they give prestige to the chiahyaog.

listen well children to us chiahyaog
for our heritage is from the geebawug
they gave a gift of anishinaabe nanaawdchigewin
to preserve our life as Anishinaabemowin
if we keep our faith on the ishkonigan
we will be comforted like bakwezhign.

a group of chiahyaog speaking in Anishinaabemowin
discuss the geebawug on the ishkonigan
as a tonic of anishinaabe nanaawdchigewin they consume bakwezhigan

 

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