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A Spiritual Journey to Learning Ojibwemowin

Aaniin Boozhoo, Miskwaanakwad Indizhinikaaz. In my last blog I talked about putting tobacco out before you start your language session. Another thing that has been helping me to learn the language is to go to where ceremonies are happening. I know that in this time of Covid, this can be difficult. For those that are in my area or from my Tribe (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe), the Drum ceremony season is about to begin this weekend starting in East Lake. For safety precautions due to covid they will be held outside at the Minisinaakwang Pow Wow Grounds. This is a great opportunity for language learners because in the afternoon is when you will hear the language spoken the most. I highly promote this because it not only helps us spiritually to attend these ceremonies, but you get to hear the language and you can even make some good connections and friendships from some of the elders that are fluent speakers, which can help your learning process in the months and years to come. Even though you will hear the language spoken at these ceremonies, you won't understand what is being said but that's OK. What you are doing is conditioning your brain to her the "Pronunciations" and the proper way to say words. In time, as you study and practice saying words your brain will go back to the memories from all those times of hearing it being spoken at ceremonies you have attended. Big Drum Season happens twice a year so what other ceremonies can a person attend in these days of social distancing. I have the privilege of helping at funerals and as morbid this sounds, its a great opportunity to hear the language being spoken. As Anishinaabeg, when someone in our community passes on, we as a community will come to show our support for the family that is grieving. This helps the family with their grief because we are also sharing in that same grief but at the same time we are also sending our own spiritual healing energy in the form of Love and Compassion. In these times of covid though, it is difficult to do but if given the chance, we should always go to show our support and to always "Listen". Another way to hear the language is to go to "YouTube" and look up "Obizaan" and he has a lot of videos there in which he speaks about the ceremonies he does and still does. I play these videos as I'm driving just so that I'm hearing the language. Understanding will come later on the more I continue to study and practice. The one other thing I will leave you with before I end this blog is this. In order to fully understand the language, you have to understand the spirituality and ceremonies that come with it because its all "one and the same". Our language was gifted to us by the Manidoog so that we can not only talk to each other but to talk to those same Manidoog through ceremonies that they also gifted us with to help us live a good life. Hence, the reason Asemaa (tobacco) is our most powerful gift that we have from those Manidoog. Also. the more you use your tobacco and the more you attend ceremonies, the more the Manidoog will pay attention to you and the easier it will get to speak and understand Ojibwemowin. Miigwech Bizindaweyag

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