Aaniin!!! Miskwaanakwad Indizhinkaaz. Well, I am going to voice some of my thoughts that I've been having lately. For the past 2 months I have just started to take learning Ojibwemowin seriously. I have been around the language my whole life. My Grandparents were fluent speakers and as a kid growing up listening to them talk to each other in Ojibwe, I would always ask them what they said and both of them would always chuckle and kinda shake their head and that would be it. Before my Grandma passed, she would finally tell me what she would say but it was a little too late because of her passing. She passed on September 15th 2018. I mention her date because 6 months later I started to go to funerals and help out. I use to help out about 5 years ago but stopped because I started using again. Anyways, the person that would be officiating at the funerals is Lee "Obizaan" Staples. I began helping out at every funeral that he would be doing. My dedication, eagerness and willingness to always be there to help and to learn finally paid off 2 months ago. I officially became an Apprentice to Obizaan. Which brings me back to the beginning of this Blog.
Helping out at funerals I have the opportunity to listen as Obizaan helps send our people onto the next world, and he does this all in Ojibwemowin. it wasn't until 2 months ago that I knew I really had to step up my game and take learning seriously. Before that I would listen and hear one or two words and I would ask about it and when I would here those words I knew what part was being spoken about at that time. But, now that I have been studying and really listening I can hear every word that is spoken. I don't know what most of the words mean but I can hear the pronunciation. For me, that is a very big step, before it would sound like one long word throughout the entire funeral. This is a proud moment for myself, I have to tell myself this because lately I have been catching myself putting all this extra pressure on myself that I'm not learning fast enough or I should be farther along. When I unconsciously put this pressure on myself, it hinders any progress I'm making and my mind scatters in a million directions and I forget anything I learned. Since I realized what I've been doing I can stop it before my mind really takes off. What has really helped me out with this is a teaching that Obizaan gave me and that is to "always put out my Asemaa before I start studying or log into my Zoom class". Ever since he gave me that teaching I have been told that teaching twice more by 2 different people. So, if you stuck it out and read though this long post, the reward is the teaching given to me by 3 different Elders. Put out your Asemaa before you start your class or however it is you're learning Ojibwe, not just once in the beginning but before every class or session.