Bawaajimo: A Dialect of Dreams in Anishinaabe Language and Literature

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 234
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Bawaajimo:A Dialect of Dreams in Anishinaabe Language and Literaturecombines literary criticism, sociolinguistics, native studies, and poetics to introduce an Anishinaabe way of reading. Although nationally specific, the book speaks to a broad audience by demonstrating an indigenous literary methodology. Investigating the language itself, its place of origin, its sound and structure, and its current usage provides new critical connections between North American fiction, Native American literatures, and Anishinaabe narrative. The four Anishinaabe authors discussed in the book, Louise Erdrich, Jim Northrup, Basil Johnston, and Gerald Vizenor, share an ethnic heritage but are connected more clearly by a culture of tales, songs, and beliefs. Each of them has heard, studied, and written in Anishinaabemowin, making their heritage language a part of the backdrop and sometimes the medium, of their work. All of them reference the power and influence of the Great Lakes region and theAnishinaabeakiing, and they connect the landscape to the original language. As they reconstruct and deconstruct theaadizookaan, the traditional tales of Nanabozho and other mythic figures, they grapple with the legacy of cultural genocide and write toward a future that places ancient beliefs in the center of the cultural horizon.

    eISBN: 978-1-60917-396-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. N’digo: Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. N’miigwechwiwaag: Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Ziibaaskobiige: To Set a Written Net
    (pp. xv-xxii)

    Aanii ezhikidoying… ? How do we say … ? Two words or four words, it is the same incessant question that haunts the students and teachers of language. Many, many times on the journey of learning Anishinaabemowin I have repeated that question, first in English, then in Anishinaabemowin without knowing exactly what each part meant. Eventually I learned the “say” in the center waskido, and I began to understand theyingmeans all of us with you included, instead ofyaang, which would mean just us without you. And finally when I said it again in Anishinaabemowin I...

  6. CHAPTER ONE Anishinaabemowin: The Anishinaabe Language
    (pp. 1-18)

    Although the Anishinaabe people are often called a “woodland” culture, there is much more to Anishinaabe identity. The center ofAnishinaabewakiing, or Anishinaabe country, is the life-givinggaming, the “vast water.” The roll of “g” against “m” is still heard when people speak of Lake Superior asGichi Gumee, the biggest, mostkchi, of all seas. The sound is also echoed in the wordMichigami, which appeared on Vincenzo Coronelli’s mapPartie Occidentale du Canada ou de la Nouvelle Francein 1688 and became the name Henry Schoolcraft gave to the territory that became a state in 1837. Anishinaabe elders...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Anishinaabebiige: Anishinaabe Literature
    (pp. 19-38)

    Anishinaabe literary history is both ancient and imminent, traceable to the sound of stones and adaptive as white winter fur, evolving in order to survive. Today Anishinaabe authors move from one language to another by choice and necessity. The language of the original stories is now endangered, but translations and contemporary creations still reflect indigenous Anishinaabe patterns. A brief review of these narrative signs and the Anishinaabe literary canon provides some of the background necessary for identifying indigenous literary theories. To advance the study of Native American literature as a broad field, I offer here what Kim Blaeser would call...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Gikenmaadizo miinwaa Gikenmaa’aan: Patterns of Identity in the Writing of Louise Erdrich
    (pp. 39-78)

    Giishpin Anishinaabemoying(“If we all spoke Anishinaabemowin”) … Nanapush imagines this possibility and by doing so in Anishinaabemowin forces a speaker to choose an ending becauseAnishinaabemois not a noun like “English”; it is a verb that requires one to say who speaks. Even the choices are unlike those in English. One can addwaadto indicate a plural group of others excluding oneself, or one can speak too and then choose betweenyaangandyingto clarify whether or not the listener will also be speaking Anishinaabemowin. These choices indicate other ways of framing relationships, other ways to...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Zhaabwii’endam: Conscious Survival in the Writing of Jim Northrup
    (pp. 79-110)

    In Anishinaabemowin, the way to say “holy” or “sacred” ischitwaa, which is also the equivalent of “fancy.” Another option ismanidoo, which often becomes a prefix to emphasize the spiritual nature of something. For example, a “sacred song” is amanidoo-nagamon, and God, the Creator, isGichi Manidoo, the Great Spirit. One natural translation of the last lines of Northrup’s poem might be:

    In Sawyer, the values and traditions of the people are held sacred.

    Kina goya nagadawendaamowaad ezhi-Anishinaabemaadiziwaad Gaakaabiikong.

    All those living have respect for the way they live an Anishinaabe life in Sawyer.

    In Anishinaabemowin being sacred...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Giizhigomaadiziwin: Universal Life in the Writing of Basil Johnston
    (pp. 111-146)

    Speaking of a time when Anishinaabemowin was the primary language of the Great Lakes and stories were the best and only means of transferring them from one generation to the next, Basil Johnston has said that “words and stories carried meanings and teachings drawn from Mother Earth and meant to instruct, entertain, and guide along the Path of Life” (Stories2). Johnston’s reverence for the word could be considered religious, aboriginal, ancient, or modern. His stories can be read from many angles, but when they are examined as part of the Anishinaabe literary canon, they are foundational and informative. In...

  11. CHAPTER SIX Waninawendamowinan: Stirred Thoughts in the Writing of Gerald Vizenor
    (pp. 147-180)

    Like thejiisakaawininiwagwho built tents of twigs and spirit for their ceremonies, Vizenor builds tents of language and calls forth the voices, words, and stories that others often do not hear. In one of his earliest books, Vizenor writes about the time of night when the shadows fall and “thejiisakaawininiwagcommune with the voices of themanidoogthat surround us” (Summer in the Spring83). Thejiisakaawininiwaglearn from nature and careful observation. They find words, images, and meaning everywhere. Vizenor is an Anishinaabe author who tests the limits of the English language, and he strains and stretches...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN Ziiginibiige: Poured Writing
    (pp. 181-186)

    Many words have been poured into these pages:bimaadizi(to live),bwaajige(to dream),jichakaan(one soul),jibwaam(the other soul),waabaamaa(to see someone),waamdaan(to see something),Anishinaabeakiing(the place of the Anishinaabe),Anishinaabebiigeyaanh(I write in Anishinaabe) … I have tried to be sure that the sound of the stories can be found on the page. This introduction to Anishinaabe language, literature, and storytellers is an invitation to think differently, to bend straight lines into circles and to set familiar circles spinning on the edge of the universe. As Hartley White has said:

    Endaso-giizhig akina gegoo bakaan...

  13. Maziniaganan Gii Gindanaanan: Works Cited
    (pp. 187-206)
  14. Nanaandawaabanjigan: Index
    (pp. 207-212)