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Thread: Paging Gazhekwe

  1. #76

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    Here is the wrap-up for the Prophecies, outlining all the stops with their locations. I would love some comments, questions and discussion. These are some of the most powerful stories.

    Details on the Trail
    From: The Mishomis Book, Eddie Benton Benay, as shown in the Teaching Guide for the PBS Series: Ojibwemowin http://www.ojibwe.org/home/pdf/episo...cher_guide.pdf

    At each major stopping place, the Sacred Shell appeared to let them they had reached a destination described by the prophets. The sacred scrolls and the Water Drum were carried the whole way, as was the Sacred Fire.

    The First Stop

    [T]he first of seven stopping places during the long migration would be a turtle shaped mi-ni-si’ (island). A woman about to give birth had a ba-wa-zi-gay-win’ (dream) about a turtle-shaped island in a river pointing toward the setting sun. The elders of the Midiwiwin Lodge instructed the Anishinabe to locate this island. It was finally found in the St. Lawrence River near modern-day Montreal.

    On their journey they had many adventures, including fighting with people who challenged them on the way. Although determined to travel in peace, they had to defend themselves when challenged. The biggest challenges came from the Nah-duwayg’, the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy.

    A group of men maintained the Manido ish-ko-day’ (the Sacred Fire), which was never allowed to die. All of the campfires of the Anishinabe came from coals taken from the Sacred Fire. This represented the continuity of life among the Anishinabe. Some clan and family groups thought the migration was over and settled along the way. These groups, too, were given coals from the Sacred Fire.

    The Second Stop

    The second major stopping place was near the place of water and thunder the Ojibwe later called Kichi-ka-be-kong. It is also known as Niagra Falls. The Sacred Fire was moved here. It was here that peace was finally established between the Anishinabe and the Iroquois, who gave the people a wampum belt made out of a special type of shell. The O-pwa’-gun (pipe) was shared among the two nations.

    The Third Stop

    The third major stopping place was near the Detroit River, which connects Lake St. Clair and Lake Huron to Lake Erie. At each stopping place, the Sacred Megis (turtle shell) appeared to the people.

    Developments on the Trail

    During the migration, three important groups developed in the Ojibwe Nation, each group responsible for tasks necessary for the survival of the Anishinabe people. The Ish-ko-day’-wa-tomi maintained the Sacred Fire. These people were later called the O-day’-wa-tomi and even later called the Potawatomi. The O-daw-wahg’ provided food goods and supplies to the people. These people were later called the Ottawa. The Ojibway were the people’s faith keepers, entrusted with the sacred scrolls of the Midewiwin and the Waterdrum. These people were mistakenly called the Chippewa. The Anishinabe became known as the Nation of the Three Fires because of the emergence of these three important groups.

    The Fourth Stop

    [T]he people continued until they came to a large body of fresh water. This was the place spoken of in the prophecy of the Second Fire. It was probably Lake Michigan. Again, some of the people stayed and some drifted South. As foretold in the prophecy of the Second Fire, some of the people began to wander from the path of the teachings of the Midewiwin Lodge. A small number of people, mostly the tribal elders, kept the Sacred Fire from going out.

    There was a prophesy that said “a boy would be born to show the Anishinaabe back to the sacred ways.” The boy was born among the people, and he had a dream of stones leading across the water. The dream led the people to the islands that led across the great northern fresh water sea.

    The Sacred Megis appeared on the largest island in the chain, Manitoulin Island. This became the capital of the Ojibwe nation. The Midewiwin Way once again was known to the people and the Clan System became important. Manitoulin Island was the fourth major stopping place of the Ojibwe migration.

    The Fifth Stop

    The fifth stopping place was Baw-wa-ting’, near Sault Ste. Marie. This was a place of plentiful food and, later, trade with the Light-skinned race. The migration split into two groups here, one following the northern shore of Lake Superior and the other the southern shore. Both groups left rock carvings.

    The Sixth Stop

    The northern group of Anishinabe went to the western end of what is now called Lake Superior and found Spirit Island. The Sacred Shell rose up to the people here. Parts of the southern group came here, too. Near Spirit Island is where the prophesy was fulfilled and the Anishinabe people found “the food that grows on water.” Ma-no’-min (wild rice) was the sacred gift from the chosen ground. Spirit Island was the sixth stopping place of the migration.

    The Seventh Stop

    The elders of the Midewiwin Lodge thought the journey wasn’t quite over. An ancient prophesy spoke of a turtle shaped island at the end of the journey. The southern group of Anishinabe had found an island meeting this description. Mo-ning-wun’-a-kawn-ing (Madeline Island) was found by the people, the Sacred Shell rose out of the water, and tobacco was placed on its shore. The Waterdrum had found its home in this, the seventh and final stopping place of the migration. The Sacred Fire was carried here and continues to burn brightly.

  2. #77

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    Thank you Gaz for sharing, it is much appreciated.

  3. #78

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    I am happy you like the stories, Jams. Here is another, a video from Finland, featuring Floyd Red Crow Westerman (RIP August 17, 1936 – December 13, 2007) explaining the Hopi prophecy:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7cylfQtkDg
    Last edited by gazhekwe; September-15-09 at 07:02 PM.

  4. #79

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    That is an incredible video, much to digest.

  5. #80

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    I promised to include a legend of the Snake Goddess of BelleIsle, also called the white lady. Here is one version,

    Legend has it that the Indian maiden still roams Belle Isle as a deer.


    Ottawa Indian lore tells of the beautiful daughter of chief Sleeping Bear. Her beauty was so stunning that the Chief kept her hidden from the eyes of young suitors by hiding her near the Detroit River in a covered canoe. The winds, awed by her beauty, blew the covers off the boat and the craft floated down the river. A keeper of the water gates, enamored by her charms, kidnapped the fair maiden and brought her to his wigwam. The winds, angry over his selfish actions, fell upon him, beating him until he died. The winds, sorry for uncovering her beauty, sent her back to her father, Chief Sleeping Bear. The chief, fearful other suitors would follow, placed the princess on an island in the Detroit River and sought the aid of the Great Spirits to protect his beloved daughter by surrounding the island with snakes.
    There she runs free through the woods with the gentle winds and wildlife as her companions, since the Great Spirit made her immortal to reign over the island for eternity. The early white settlers first named the island Isle St. Clair and later Rattlesnake Island. Today the land is called Belle Isle. Legend has it that the beautiful Indian maid still roams the woods often mistaken by picnickers as a deer. Her suitor, the keeper of the water gates, is said to roam the forests of nearby Peche Island. The Belle Isle ghost lady also attracted midnight riders to drive through the scary woods there. This search for a vision of a woman in a long white gown certainly entertained the joy riders and just as certainly irritated the neckers parked along the roads. The white deer scampering through the trees (probably frightened by the walking ghost) also thrilled the gawkers.

  6. #81

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    The first legend of the white lady was from Michigan Haunts and Hauntings. This except is from Legends of our Land

    THE SNAKE GOD OF BELLE ISLE

    The Indian demi-god, Sleeping Bear, had a daughter so beautiful that he kept her out of the sight of men in a covered boat that swung on Detroit River, tied to a tree on shore; but the Winds, having seen her when her father had visited her with food, contended so fiercely to possess her that the little cable was snapped and the boat danced on to the keeper of the water-gates, who lived at the outlet of Lake Huron. The keeper, filled with admiration for the girl's beauty, claimed the boat and its charming freight, but he had barely received her into his lodge when the angry Winds fell upon him, buffeting him so sorely that he died, and was buried on Peach Island (properly Isle au Peche), where his spirit remained for generations—an oracle sought by Indians before emprise in war. His voice had the sound of wind among the reeds, and its meanings could not be told except by those who had prepared themselves by fasting and meditation to receive them. Before planning his campaign against the English, Pontiac fasted here for seven days to "clear his ear" and hear the wisdom of the sighing voice.
    But the Winds were not satisfied with the slaying of the keeper. They tore away his meadows and swept them out as islands. They smashed the damsel's boat and the little bark became Belle Isle. Here Manitou placed the girl, and set a girdle of vicious snakes around the shore to guard her and to put a stop to further contests. These islands in the straits seem to have been favorite places of exile and theatres of transformation. The Three Sisters are so called because of three Indian women who so scolded and wrangled that their father was obliged to separate them and put one on each of the islands for the sake of peace.
    It was at Belle Isle that the red men had put up and worshipped a natural stone image. Hearing of this idol, on reaching Detroit, Dollier and De Galinee crossed over to it, tore it down, smashed it, flung the bigger piece of it into the river, and erected a cross in its place. The sunken portion of the idol called aloud to the faithful, who had assembled to wonder at the audacity of the white men and witness their expected punishment by Manitou, and told them to cast in the other portions. They did so, and all the fragments united and became a monster serpent that kept the place from further intrusion. Later, when La Salle ascended the straits in his ship, the Griffin, the Indians on shore invoked the help of this, their manitou, and strange forms arose from the water that pushed the ship into the north, her crew vainly singing hymns with a hope of staying the demoniac power.

  7. #82

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    I can add a bit to that last story.. I may have read this here somewhere, the story of Le Nain Rouge.

    As Sumas told above, the French priests smashed and sank the stone image, which was in honor of the water lynx (or serpent as some tell it), Michipichou. Michipichou is a very strong and respected water spirit. Ever since, the spirit has had a grudge against the settlement of Detroit, and bad things can happen here. The son of the spirit will appear here before a disaster. Because the son is an Indian child, he was called le Nain Rouge in the French settlement.

    Michipichu:



    Michipichu is a very powerful and demanding spirit, provoking fear among those who fear to get on his wrong side. That is why the stone was placed there, cared for and shown every honor, to show respect for the spirit and assure good will. Worship is not the correct term, in the European sense. A stone has spirit, as does everything else. This stone was offered to Michipichu, but as a spirit in its own right. It would have ceremonies done to celebrate the stone and its purpose, and to honor Michipichu. (mish e pee'shoo - Great Lynx), not to worship either in the Christian sense.
    Last edited by gazhekwe; September-16-09 at 10:21 AM.

  8. #83

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    Mino Giizigaad! (Good Morning - min o' gizh' i got)

    This morning I have the Ten Commandments of the Native World. When you look at these, you see a true philosophy of life in unity and balance.


    1. Remain close to the Great Spirit.
    2. Show great respect for your fellow beings.
    3. Give assistance and kindness wherever needed.
    4. Be truthful and honest at all times.
    5. Do what you know to be right.
    6. Look after the well being of mind and body.
    7. Treat the earth and all that dwell there on with respect.
    8. Take full responsibility for your actions.
    9. Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good.
    10. Work together for the benefit of all man kind.

  9. #84

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    Thank you for making certain corrections in the two versions of the "white lady or snake goddess stories" regarding the term "worship". As noted in my posts these were not my writings but copies of others works, for which I noted sources.
    We had an interesting short discussion on this thread regarding semantics. Honor and respect are vastly different than worship. I appreciate you noting the distinctions. I am sometimes obtuse but am still open to this amazing world and world views that exist.
    Once again, I cannot easily express how much I enjoy your sharing of culture and wisdom.

  10. #85

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    I didn't think you chose the word, Sumas. 'Worship' is the word chosen by the early Christian missionaries to describe what they saw. That is how they understood it, and of course, 'worshipping' something like a rock, or a pagan spirit, drove them absolutely crazy. Hence their hostile and intrusive actions in destroying any object of 'worship' they found. They absolutely could not understand what was really happening. In reality, the relationship between the Indian community and the spirits is much more like the way Catholics view saints, putting up statues and images and carrying around relics to honor the saints and hope for good, like asking St. Anthony to help find things, or St. Jude to intercede for lost causes. Some spirits were in charge of certain areas, like Michipichu and water. Drownings would be attributed to Michipichu, as would good fish harvest, or bad fish harvest. Keep Michipichu happy, and things would go well.

  11. #86

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    gazhekwe: first commandment is missing. I, too, enjoy your posts.

  12. #87

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    Oops, how did that happen? Actually, they are all there, somehow the numbers just moved up. And no, that isn't an Indian thing, .

  13. #88

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    Sorry. I should have been paying more, or less, attention.

  14. #89

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    Well, I don't know about that. I do know they usually start with the First Commandment, not the Second. Somehow it looks like the 1 and 2 are together.

    Well, for practice, here is how to count to ten in Ojibwemowin:

    Aagindaaswin (counting)

    Bezhig (pronounced just like it looks)
    Niizh (Neezh)
    Nswe (Nsweh)
    Niiwin (Nee'win)
    Naanan (Nah'nun Silent H)
    Ngodwaaswi (Ngod-wah'-swih Silent H) Ngo is another way to say One.
    Neezhwaaswi (Neezh-wah'-swih)
    Nswaaswi (Nswah' swih)
    Zhaangswi (Zhahng' swih)
    Mdaaswi (Mdah' swih)

    Bezhig shi mdaaswi ...

  15. #90

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    Thanks once again for sharing culture to culture. I cannot express in mere words, how much I enjoy reading your posts.

  16. #91

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    Gaz - ^What Sumas said^

  17. #92

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    Thanks Gaz for your vote of confidence regarding Grayhaven. I haven't read that thread in a long time and still haven't. The early posts there were interesting but then it devolved to brain dead type posts... something like geez, I was so high that....

    My research on Grayhaven is extensive but still not complete. This winter I promised myself to finish my research and write my book. Hope this doesn't sound like a thread jack. Grayhaven adopted me many years ago. Sounds silly but yet true. Grayhaven was created out of landfill from the core city of Detroit. When Detroit was a fort, many tribes lived in its near environs. Edward Gray barged this fill to create his dream. Indian history is incorporated into this fake island.

    Grayhaven, to me is a very personal experience. I don't have a way to explain it but I feel the bond. The hope, the fears, the tears! It is just a lump of land but it truely resents the desecration of its energy by the current developers.

    Is there an Indian term that might describe my very real bond to this land?

  18. #93

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    I don't know of a specific term, but that feeling for a place is commonly known. Certain places have much power. There may be the bones of many beneath that added fill, and spirit power is the strongest there is. We cannot sell the bones of our ancestors is the closest term that comes to mind.

    I just got back from a quick trip to Gnoozhekaaning (Bay Mills). It is so beautiful up there. I feel about it much as you describe, and the bones of my ancestors are there.

    I appreciate your and eriedearie's comments above.

  19. #94

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    I appreciate that you didn't laugh outright when I described my love of this land. Even as it gets strip mined, it screamed, save me. I did my absolute best but it wasn't good enough. Sorrow fills my heart. Others in the adjacent community tried hard too to save this little gem. Some, are moving because of this desecration. The screams stay loud for people who hear.

    Grayhaven was originally owned by D.J.Campau. Technically, it was an underwater farm which was a part of the Grande Marais. Indian tribes (men) gathered around the fort but kept their camps (women and children) dispursed through the great marsh. This area has history which is so rich. It is sad to me that so few know.

  20. #95

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    It is a privilege to be able to listen closely to O Gashnaan Aki, our mother Earth. She should be screaming about all the pain that is inflicted upon her these days.

  21. #96

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    I am truly enjoying this no oft heard stories Gaz. I do apprecciate you sharing this and love your breadth of knowledge.

    BTW incase I may have missed it...what is the story behind your handle?

  22. #97

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    Thank you for asking that, Detroit Stylin. Gazhek (Gahzh' ek) means cat. It is based on a scratching or slashing motion. Usually when you talk about a pet cat, you would say Gaazhegaanz, little cat. Kwe (kweh or kway) means woman. So, Catwoman.

    Please let me know if you want to hear about any particular story or custom.

  23. #98

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    Have you ever heard of the Maya (sp) effect. At 4:00 A:m, the earth talks to those who would listen. It mostly speaks to women with children. This waking or distubance of sleep has been well documented in professional journals.

  24. #99

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    No, I haven't heard of that. Fascinating and could explain a lot. Tell us more.

  25. #100

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    Yep, spelled it wrong. In two ways, it is Gaia, who is attributed with the earth groaning in modern days. Maia has shown up in many cultures as a symbol of Mother Earth and Gaia is no doubt an outgrowth of this name. Here is a quick history of Maia. I find it fascinating that all true faiths honor the earth for it gifts and its respect its fury. I hope this doesn't look like a thread jack. I am fascinated with the similarity of our ancient ones stories and how their wisdom can certainly apply to the world today.

    Maia is the Oscan Earth-Goddess, and an ancient Roman Goddess of springtime, warmth, and increase. She causes the plants to grow through Her gentle heat, and the month of May is probably named for Her. Her name means "She Who is Great", and is related to Oscan mais and Latin majus, both of which mean "more". She is also called Maia Maiestas, "Maia the Majestic", which is essentially a doubling of Her name to indicate Her power, as both "Maia" and "Maiestas" have their roots in latin magnus, "great or powerful". She was honored by the Romans on the 1st and 15th of May, and at the Volcanalia of August 23rd, the holiday of Her sometimes husband, the Fire-God Vulcan.
    She seems to have been paired with Vulcan because they were both considered Deities of heat: through the increasing warmth of Maia's spring season flowers and plants sprouted and grew; while Vulcan's stronger summer heat brought the fruits to ripeness. The flamen Volcanalis, the priest who officially oversaw the rites of Vulcan, sacrificed a pregnant sow to Maia on the first day of May. The offering of a pregnant sow was traditionally given to Earth-goddesses such as Tellus or Ceres and signified both the remarkable fecundity of the Earth (as there are usually between 6 and 12 piglings in a litter) as well as the darker side of the Earth Mother, as sows have been known to eat their young. Rites to Maia were also performed at the August Volcanalia, a festival to ward off the destructive fires that could be caused by the dry weather and burning sun of summertime.
    In a later period, Maia was confused with a Greek Goddess of the same name. This Maia (whose name in Greek can take such various meanings as "midwife", "female doctor", "good mother", "foster mother", or "aunty") was a nymph and the mother of Hermes, the trickster God of merchants, travellers, and liars; She was also said to have been the eldest and most beautiful of the seven sisters who formed the constellation of the Pleiades, whose heliacal rising (meaning when the constellation is just visible in the east before the sun rises) signalled the beginning of summer. Through this association the Roman Maia became the mother of Mercury, and Her festival on the Ides of May (the 15th) coincided with the festival commemorating the date of the dedication of His temple on the Aventine.

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