Sunday, September 18, 2016

Anishinaabe reading

I read Dirty Copper by Jim Northrup. It is mostly narrative, but an interesting read - about an Ojibwe man, Vietnam vet, who became a police officer first on the reservation, then in an urban area.

Next, I read Ogimawkwe Mitigwaki (Queen of the Woods) by Simon Pokagon (Pokagon band, Potawatomi). He lived from 1830-1899, and this is named as the 1st Anishinaabe novel, an autobiographical novel about colonialism and its effects, set in southwest Michigan. It contains many Anishinaabemowin words and phrases, but apparently Pokagon used a mixture of Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Ojibwa, and the new edition published by Michigan State University Press standardized the Anishinaabemowin. I read the 1899 edition, but even so, recognized words I have seen and heard in other contexts. I enjoyed the descriptions of life and wildlife in the woods but felt the negative effects of white society on Native Americans keenly.

I  also read parts of the nonfiction book Imprints: The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and the City of Chicago, by John N. Low(with bits about Michigan), including a chapter on Leroy Wesaw, born in Michigan but moved to Chicago for work, who created the Chicago Canoe Club. Chapter 1 explains the history of the Pokagon band, why some Potawatomi were able to stay in Michigan, and mentions Julia Wesaw, a well-known basket weaver. Chapters 1-2 also discuss Simon Pokagon's life and novel.

Reading a few poems by Margaret Noodin, Weweni, in both Anishinaabemowin and English. Noodin is also the editor of the new edition of Queen of the Woods.

Came across this title, which looks fascinating. A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder by Ma-Nee Chacaby. Have requested it.