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Thread: Paging Gazhekwe

  1. #126


    Great story Gaz. Thanks for sharing.

  2. #127


    Here is a recipe for corn soup for the Ghost Supper. This came from the Grand Traverse Bay Band, the same one the story above is about. This recipe will serve at least 30 people (and spirits). If you want it for a smaller crowd, cut portions accordingly.

    Source: Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
    This recipe, by Lou Scott, is adapted from the "Native American Elders' Cookbook," published in 2004.

    To prepare the corn:
    Four gallons water
    Two cups hardwood ashes (sifted to remove large particles)
    Ten cups Indian corn with husks (12 to 14 large ears)

    For the soup:
    Four to five pork hocks, 3# beef cubes, spareribs or venison (or combination)
    Six to eight cups kidney or pinto beans (optional)
    Salt and pepper

    Corn Preparation: [you are making hominy]
    In very large pot combine water and ashes; bring to boil. Add corn, husks and all. Boil until husks fall off and corn kernels turn white. Continue boiling for four- and one-half hours. Drain corn into a large colander. Rinse corn for 30 minutes, or until water is clear and all ashes are gone. At this point, corn can be refrigerated until soup is ready for completion.

    [What they didn't say: Clean out the green husks and silk. Rub the kernels gently between your hands to rub off the hulls. Pick out the little black spots you will find in each kernel as those are hard and add an unpleasant texture. If you want to use about six or eight cans of hominy or frozen hominy I won't tell. It is supposed to be better when you make it yourself.]

    For Soup:
    Cook your choice of meat in sufficient water to cover, until tender. Let cool and take meat from bone. Discard bone, but save stock and skim off all fat. In a large stockpot, combine stock, corn and meat and bring to a boil. Cook for about three hours. Add kidney or pinto beans, if desired. Adjust seasonings.

  3. #128


    And to go with the soup, some Johnny Cake. This one won't serve the whole crowd, you would need at least 4 of these pans.

    Source: Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
    This recipe, by Mary King, is adapted from the "Native American Elders' Cookbook," published in 2004.

    2 cups flour
    4 1/2 tsps baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    One cup cornmeal
    Three eggs
    One cup milk
    1/2 cup maple syrup (REAL maple syrup, you haven't lived til you try this)
    3/4 cup melted shortening

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift first three ingredients. Add cornmeal and mix thoroughly. Combine remaining ingredients and add to dry ingredients, stirring only to dampen all the flour. Pour into greased pan and bake for 30 minutes.

  4. #129


    Gaz - thank you for posting this. I'm thinking I'll have to give this a try. My family sure does love the Buckskin bread that you posted the recipe for. I make that quite often. This is bound to be a hit too!

    And I love your stories. Thank you for the wonderful insight into your culture and traditions.

  5. #130


    Hi, Eriedearie! Some people just love corn soup. I can take it or leave it. I like a thicker broth, which is achievable for corn soup but not authentic. The best way to thicken it up is to shake some masa harina (really fine ground corn) with some water and stir it into the hot soup. Keep stirring til it thickens up.

    As for that buckskin bread, it is a favorite of ours, too, anytime we have soup. It is so simple and so quick to make, too. You can come in after work and throw together a good quick soup and this bread in half an hour. Better yet if you put the soup into the crockpot the night before and cooked it all day.

    I will just put the recipe in here as we are talking about feast food:

    Buckskin Bread
    The name comes from the color of the baked loaf.
    2 cups flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 cup water

    Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

    Stir dry ingredients into a bowl. Quickly mix in the water. Press dough into a greased 9-inch pie plate. Bake bread for about 30 minutes, until very lightly browned on top.

  6. #131


    Let's have dessert, too. Here is a recipe to try, in time to get the ingredients together.
    Ghost Supper night is November 1 this year. It's also the opening day of National American Indian Heritage Month. I'm planning some posts about that during the month.

    Indian Pudding
    4 cups milk
    1 cup maple syrup (use the real stuff, remember it's for the ancestors)
    1/4 cup butter
    2/3 cup cornmeal
    1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1 1/2 cups dried currants or raisins

    Heat oven to 300 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart casserole.

    In a saucepan, combine 3 cups of the milk and all the maple syrup over medium heat. Heat until just boiling and add butter.

    In a separate bowl, combine cornmeal, ginger and nutmeg. Gradually stir cornmeal mixture into hot milk. Reduce heat to low and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes.

    Fold in raisins or currants. Spoon mixture into the casserole. Pour remaining milk over pudding; do not stir. Bake pudding 2 1/2 hours or until all of the milk has been absorbed and top is golden brown. Serve warm, topped with ice cream, if desired.
    Last edited by gazhekwe; October-27-09 at 05:08 PM.

  7. #132

    Default Mino Giizhigad - American Indian Heritage Month

    As of 1997, just before Census 2000 kicked off preliminary preparations, the US added Alaskan Natives to the ethnic title for American Indians. So today is the first day of American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month.

    On August 3,1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating November 1990 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations have been issued every year since 1994.

    The purpose of National American Indian Heritage Month is to honor and recognize the original peoples of this land. The 1996 proclamation details their contributions to the past and to the future

    State Celebrations

    The first American Indian Day to be celebrated in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York. Several states celebrate the fourth Friday in September. In Illinois, for example, legislators enacted such a day in 1919. Presently, several states have designated Columbus Day as Native American Day, but it continues to be a day we observe without any legal recognition as a national holiday. Michigan Indian Day is the fourth Friday in September, so proclaimed by Governor William Milliken in 1984.

    It is interesting that November was picked as American Indian month. Mostly the only time anyone ever thinks of Indians around here is Thanksgiving. I remember in grade school 'way back when, being told to 'sit Indian' while we put on our paper headbands with a feather that we made from construction paper, and listened to the story of Squanto and the Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving. I did go to a predominantly white grade school here in Brightmoor.

    November is an important month in Indian Country. Here in the north, we are winding up harvesting all growing things and putting them by for winter, hunting and fishing for our winter food supply and in the old days, for hides for clothing and blankets.

    This is also the time our world is closest to the Spirit World, so at various times during the month, there are Ghost Suppers. As discussed above, today is the most important one around here. When the Pilgrims wanted to have their feast, it was perfectly understandable to the Wampanoag, who joined in enthusiastically.

    Isn't it interesting that so many cultures seem to feel the spirit presence more strongly at this time of year? It's All Souls and All Saints Days, El Dia de las Muertas, Michaelmas, Samhain. I am sure there are more.

    I will post more information and stories as the month goes on. If anyone has any questions or stories, please share!
    Last edited by gazhekwe; November-01-09 at 08:35 AM.

  8. #133


    Just for fun, here are some place names around here that come from Anishinaabemowin:

    Michigan - From Ojibwe words michi gama meaning "great water," after the lake of the same name.

    Pontiac - Named after Odawa chief who initiated a strong rebellion against British rule in 1763, gaining control of eight of the twelve British forts in the region.

    Mackinac - Place of the Turtle, from the Ojibwe
    Michinimackinac - Place of the Great Turtle

    Chicago - Place of the Little Skunk, from Anishinaabe word for Little Skunk, Shagogons

    As far as the Indian-sounding county names in Michigan, some are from Anishinaabemowin. Some were engineered to "sound Indian" by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, an Indian agent from Sault Ste. Marie who married the daughter of John Johnston and Oshawgashkodaywikwe (woman of the sunny glade), daughter of Waaboojiig (White Fisher), chief of the Ojibwe. Fisher is an animal related to the marten and mink. It changes color in the winter.

    Among Schoolcraft's contributions are Alcona, Alpena, Arenac, Iosco, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Oscoda, Tuscola, and of course, Schoolcraft.

    Anishinaabemowin does not have the L or the R sounds.

    Some of the Anishinaabe names are:

    Chippewa - one version of Ojibwe, one of the tribes making up the Three Fires Confederation.

    Keweenaw - Place where portage is made

    Manistee - River with islands in its mouth

    Menominee - name of the tribe living in that area, Rice Gatherers

    Missaukee - an Odawa chief

    Muskegon - marshy place

    Newaygo - an Ojibwe chief

    Ogemaw - Chief

    Ottawa - named for the Odawa tribe, one of the Three Fires

    Saginaw - Place of the Sauk

    Washtenaw - Place beyond here

    Shiawassee - Twisting river

    This isn't the complete list. See here for more:,1607,7...4126--,00.html

  9. #134
    Join Date
    Mar 2009


    Some were engineered to "sound Indian" by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft,....Among Schoolcraft's contributions are Alcona, Alpena, Arenac, Iosco, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Oscoda, Tuscola,
    Well, he sure fooled me. Thanks for the info.

  10. #135


    He was clever that way. I greatly admire his efforts to share the things he learned about the Indians from his work and his in-laws. At the same time, there was this effort to fiddle with things Indian to make them more beautiful, or more acceptable to the white community that has always rankled. Why couldn't he see these things as beautiful and powerful in their own right?

    His Algic Researches is one of the best resources out there for Anishinaabe stories and customs of the early 1800s. He and his wife Jane provided a base of information for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to write his epic poem, Song of Hiawatha. Algic Researches came out in 1839, two years after Michigan was admitted to statehood.

    Jane was the daughter of a powerful fur trader of Sault Ste. Marie, John Johnston, and his wife Oshaagashcodaywikwe. You can still visit their house and the Schoolcraft's house in the Soo along the St. Mary's River.

    Jane's name was Obabaamwewe-giizhigokwe, Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky Woman. She was well educated and a partner in all Schoolcraft's writings. She is known as the first published Indian woman writer. Her health was poor and she died in 1842. Unfortunately, Henry's second wife, a slaveowner, thought very poorly of Jane and Henry's three mixed race children.

  11. #136


    There is something I found in the Song of Hiawatha that makes me smile. Hiawatha calls Minnehaha his Nenemoosha, which is translated My Little Sweetheart in the poem.

    It really translates to My Little Puppy. It was the name of my first dog. Was this a joke Schoolcraft played on Longfellow? Or maybe Jane played on her Henry?

  12. #137

    Default 1966 Clinton Proclamation

    Because I referenced it above, here is the wording of the 1966 Proclamation which celebrates the contributions of American Indians:

    Throughout our history, American Indian and Alaska Native peoples have been an integral part of the American character. Against the odds, America's first peoples have endured, and they remain a vital cultural, political, social, and moral presence. Tribal America has brought to this great country certain values and ideas that have become ingrained in the American spirit: the knowledge that humans can thrive and prosper without destroying the natural environment; the understanding that people from very different backgrounds, cultures, religions, and traditions can come together to build a great country; and the awareness that diversity can be a source of strength rather than division.

    As we celebrate American Indian Heritage Month this year, we take note of the injustices that have been suffered by American Indian people. Even today, few enjoy the full bounty of America's prosperity. But even as we look to the past, we must also look to the future. Along with other Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives will face new challenges in the coming century. We can ill afford to leave any of our people behind. Tribal America must figure as prominently in our future as it has in our past.

    Let us rededicate ourselves to the principle that all Americans have the tools to make the most of their God-given potential. For Indian tribes and tribal members, this means that the authority of tribal governments must be accorded the respect and support to which they are entitled under the law. It means that American Indian children and youth must be provided a solid education and the opportunity to go on to college. It means that more must be done to stimulate tribal economies, create jobs, and increase economic opportunities.

    Our bridge to the 21st century will rest upon the foundation we build today. We must teach our children about our past—both the good and the bad—so that they may learn from our successes and mistakes. We must provide our children with the knowledge and skills to permit them to surpass our own achievements and create a stronger, more united American community. We must provide them greater opportunity. It was the Iroquois who taught that in every deliberation we should consider the impact of our decisions on the next 7 generations.

    In recognition of the important contributions of American Indian and Alaska Native peoples to our country and in light of the special legal relationship between the tribes and the Government of the United States, and obligations pursuant thereto, we celebrate National American Indian Heritage Month.

    Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 1996 as National American Indian Heritage Month. I urge all Americans, as well as their elected representatives at the Federal, State, local, and tribal levels, to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

    In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-first.

    William J. Clinton

    [Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 8:45 a.m., October 31, 1996]

  13. #138


    Tomorrow I will post President Barack Obama's proclamation for this year. He adds American Indian Heritage Day on November 27, and he delivers a powerful message recognizing tribal sovereignty.
    Last edited by gazhekwe; November-04-09 at 11:36 AM.

  14. #139


    There was recently a good 3-page article about Michigan's Native Americans in the Free Press: You haven't lived here until ... you learn about the state's American Indian heritage.

  15. #140


    Thank you for posting that, Jimaz. The reporter worked closely with the state's Indian community via a ListServ and the result is an excellent resource.

    I take issue with the census figures posted in the third graphic down on the right, though. The figures are correct as far as they go, but they do not reflect the complete number of American Indians in Michigan. The number shown represents only those who checked off American Indian alone, and leaves out those who checked American Indian in combination with one or more other races. The actual total is more than 124, 000, of which more than 39,000 live in the metro Detroit area.

    As I explained to the reporter, many of us who are of mixed blood are full tribal members. In the old days before the US government put all these rules on us, spouses and children of another race or tribe were considered full tribal members as well. Whole communities who moved in with a tribe would also be considered full tribal members.

  16. #141

    Default 2009 Obama Proclamation

    Obama is sending a strong message about tribal sovereignty with this proclamation.

    National American Indian Heritage Month – Presidential Proclamation



    The indigenous peoples of North America — the First Americans — have woven rich and diverse threads into the tapestry of our Nation’s heritage. Throughout their long history on this great land, they have faced moments of profound triumph and tragedy alike. During National Native American Heritage Month, we recognize their many accomplishments, contributions, and sacrifices, and we pay tribute to their participation in all aspects of American society.

    This month, we celebrate the ancestry and time-honored traditions of American Indians and Alaska Natives in North America. They have guided our land stewardship policies, added immeasurably to our cultural heritage, and demonstrated courage in the face of adversity. From the American Revolution to combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, they have fought valiantly in defense of our Nation as dedicated servicemen and women. Their native languages have also played a pivotal role on the battlefield. During World Wars I and II, Native American code talkers developed unbreakable codes to communicate military messages that saved countless lives. Native Americans have distinguished themselves as inventors, entrepreneurs, spiritual leaders, and scholars. Our debt to our First Americans is immense, as is our responsibility to ensure their fair, equal treatment and honor the commitments we made to their forbears.

    The Native American community today faces huge challenges that have been ignored by our Government for too long. To help address this disparity, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocates more than $3 billion to help these communities deal with their most pressing needs. In the Fiscal Year 2010 budget, my Administration has proposed over $17 billion for programs carried out by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian Health Service, and other Federal agencies that have a critical role to play in improving the lives of Native Americans. These programs will increase educational opportunities, address the scourge of alcohol abuse and domestic violence, promote economic development, and provide access to comprehensive, accessible, and affordable health care. While funding increases do not make up for past deficiencies, they do reflect our determination to honor tribal sovereignty and ensure continued progress on reservations across America.

    As we seek to build on and strengthen our nation-to-nation relationship, my Administration is committed to ensuring tribal communities have a meaningful voice in our national policy debates as we confront the challenges facing all Americans. We will continue this constructive dialogue at the White House Tribal Nations Conference held in Washington, D.C., this month. Native American voices have echoed through the mountains, valleys, and plains of our country for thousands of years, and it is now our time to listen.

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2009 as National Native American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to commemorate this month with appropriate programs and activities, and to celebrate November 27, 2009, as Native American Heritage Day.

    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.


  17. #142

    Default President Obama's Address to First Americans

    Obama to Native Americans: "You will not be forgotten"

    Thu Nov 5, 2009 1:16pm EST

    * President says knows what it means to be outsider

    By Matt Spetalnick

    WASHINGTON, Nov 5 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama told Native American leaders on Thursday, "You will not be forgotten" and promised to end U.S. government neglect and broken promises toward Indian tribes.

    Obama, who drew high Native Americans support in last year's presidential election, fulfilled a campaign pledge by bringing representatives of hundreds of federally recognized Native American tribes to Washington to air their grievances with senior administration officials.

    Acknowledging a historically troubled relationship, Obama pledged to work with tribal leaders to address healthcare, crime, development, education and environmental problems.

    "Few have been more marginalized and ignored by Washington for as long as Native Americans, our first Americans," Obama said. "I'm absolutely committed to moving forward with you and forging a new and better future together.

    "You will not be forgotten as long as I'm in this White House," he told a cheering crowd of more than 500 at the Department of the Interior.

    Most in the audience were in business attire; a few wore traditional headdresses, embroidered vests and hair feathers.

    A tribal leader from Wisconsin gave Obama the Indian name "He Who Cares," and a man who rose wearing a war bonnet told the president he wanted to him to have it.

    Several speakers, in a question-and-answer session, thanked Obama for trying to restore trust but urged him to do more.

    Obama drew on his own narrative, noting he was born to a teenage mother and a father who left when he was 2 years old.

    "I understand what it means to be an outsider," he said.

    Noting that some reservations had 80 percent unemployment and that a quarter of Native Americans lived in poverty, Obama signed a presidential memorandum in front of the crowd instructing cabinet members to outline within 90 days how they will improve relations with Indian tribes.

    He said the document would reactivate a Clinton-era order that the Bush administration had mostly ignored. (Editing by Alan Elsner)

  18. #143

    Default Talking Circle

    Talking Circle is a traditional healing practice. We begin with a smudge, and then pass around a Talking Stick. The one who holds the stick may speak, telling whatever is in their heart. All others must listen from their hearts. No one interrupts. What is said in the Circle, stays in the Circle. The Talking Stick may start by going around the Circle one by one, but can be passed to someone who wants to speak out of order. Order is not the key, respect for others is the rule. Once that person finishes, the Stick is passed to the person next to the previous speaker. One person needs to be a leader, to keep the forum moving and keep healing thoughts foremost.

    For a smudge, a small fire is made in a fireproof dish. We like to use an abalone shell. We might use sage, cedar, sweet grass, or tobacco, the four sacred herbs, or a mixture. (Muskodewaash, Giizhik, Wiingaash, Sema.) The flame is extinguished and the herbs allowed to smolder, producing smoke. The smudge is brought around the Circle by a leader. Each person reaches into the smoke with cupped hands and brings it to their body, spreading it from head to trunk. If you are wearing a hat or glasses, it is traditional to take them off before smudging. Say Miigwech when done to thank the leader and the Spirits.

    During the Circle, if a harmful element arises, the smudge may be passed again to strengthen the healing spirits.

    This Smudge is using a bundle of sage. I see it done this way most of the time.

    The Talking Stick may look like this, but you can use something different. We have used a special Petoskey stone, and once, we even passed a roll of toilet paper because a lot of us cried when we spoke.

  19. #144


    The smudge pot tradition was interesting. Many years ago we lived in an upper flat. Our landlord sold the house and the new owner, a woman in her thirties, moved downstairs. Two weeks after moving in she shot her head off. The bad vibrations from such a horrible waste of life compelled me to move my family.

    Not wanting bad (for lack of a better word) karma to follow us. I burnt sage in each room of our new home. No clue why I did that. Maybe I read that sage was a cleasing herb. Interesting to see it is an Indian custom.

  20. #145


    Sage is one of the four sacred herbs, Mashkodewaashk. Sometimes one of them will call to you, and then you must use that one. It sounds like that is just what you did. It shows you are in tune with Mother Earth, who gives us these herbs. When we move into a new space, we usually use sweetgrass, Wiingaashk.

    The sacred herbs each represent one of the Four Directions.

    East, Waabanang - Tobacco, Sema - Takes prayers to the Creator, Honors the Eagle.

    South, Shaawanang - Cedar, Giizhik - Purifies, Pulls in good energy to your space.

    West, Epingishimaag - Sage, Mashkadewaashk - Purifies, Sends prayers to the Creator.

    North, Kiiwedanong - Sweet grass, Wiingaash - Purifies, Cleanses mind, body, and spirit.
    Last edited by gazhekwe; November-07-09 at 08:35 PM.

  21. #146


    Actually I think I thought at the time sage might keep ghosts at bay. Looking at it through your eyes I was indeed sending prayers.

    The short time we stayed before moving I felt her presence. It was disturbing to say the least. I really was scared about taking the poor tortured soul with me when I moved.

    Just out of curiousity, how do the Indian Nations view suicide?

  22. #147


    Suicide is a huge problem in our communities. We view it like anyone else, a waste of a life. A lot of young men go that way. I have lost two young men cousins to suicide in the last few years, and there were others before that.
    At the American Indian Summit in DC the other day, a tribal leader mentioned the high suicide rate as one of the important needs to be addressed.

  23. #148


    I am so sorry my question regarding suicide seems so crass. I mourn your loss.

  24. #149


    I didn't take it that way, it was a genuine question to which I tried to give a genuine answer. These things happen, that's all you can say as you pray them along the pathway of spirits.

  25. #150


    I've been enjoying talking about our culture and seeing that some people are interested. Hearing from you is my favorite part

    Still, there is concern in the Indian community about sharing too much, because it can be taken and misused by people who do not fully understand it. I believe I have not shared anything that could harm anyone, but maybe about the sweat lodge it could be taken and misused, as it was in Sedona.

    I do not know enough to conduct a sweat lodge myself. All I shared was what I have seen as a participant.

    Last night, I listened to a broadcast on DreamCatcher Blog Talk Radio Program with a number of American Indian people discussing this issue. Moses Brings Plenty, Lakota traditional drummer, an Apache leader, and others were mostly concerned about non-Indians taking our culture and putting themselves forward as experts, while not understanding it enough to do it properly. It presents our culture in a bad way.

    I feel the time is right to share good aspects of our culture, as we are in the time of the Seventh Fire, and we must try to bring all people into the Circle of Life. I do not mean for people to try and conduct ceremonies on their own. If there is anyone interested in attending ceremonies, there might be places where you would be welcome.

    Here is a link to the discussion:

    There is a long music intro and then some funny time where the host can't work the phones properly to start with. Talk starts five or six minutes in.
    Last edited by gazhekwe; November-09-09 at 09:12 PM.

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