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Dance of the 13 Moons: An Introduction to the Lunar Calendar of the Anishinaabe Peoples

Updated: Apr 14

Namebine-giizis (Suckerfish Moon) / Zaagibagaa-giizis (Budding Moon) - May 15, 2023



Our grandmother the moon, named Nookomis, brought us the first medicine, called b'he, the water.

Wenabozho was raised by his grandmother, the Moon. The Moon was loving and caring and nurturing and it was she who brought the first medicine, the water.

B'he, or nibi ("my water") as she is called nowadays, is not merely an element but a manidookwe (female spirit) who gives the earth and all of her beings beauty, growth, and generosity.
Nookomis aged gracefully. When she sensed the end of her presence on earth nearing, she told her grandson that after her departure she would always be near to him and reminded him to look up in the night sky to find her.
Nookomis sang a song on her water drum as the rains fell that night. That morning Wenabozho saw his grandmother shining in the dawn. The water was moving back and forth, and he heard a beautiful song, which we can still hear today. When you're by a lake or river you can still hear Wenabozho's grandmother sing.

Nookomis Dibik-giizis now lives in the sky world as a nurturing energy, watching over her children by providing them with light and balance, stabilizing the planet’s rotation and regulating the ocean’s tides... 

- An Anishinaabe teaching*

Boozhoo, aaniin, biindigen miinawaa nindaadizooke wigamigong; enji-zaagi'iding miinawaa gikendaasong.

Hello! Welcome back in my Storytelling Lodge where there is love and learning.

Today's story is part 13(!) of the series "Stories and Teachings from the Earth." We will talk about the calendar of the Anishinaabeg People -- which, of course, since our ancestors had no books, is not made of printed paper. Instead, the scutes of the back shield of turtles served as a calendar.

Instead of books, our ancestors used to inscribe and paint on rocks and other natural materials to be able to determine the cycles of the stars and the seasons. Through careful observation and inquiry, the gete-ayaa'ag (ancestors) learned seasonal lessons necessary for survival. Their knowledge was based on paying attention to the position of the sun and the moon and stars and the behavior of the animals and the birds and fish. This myriad of natural phenomena was their gekinoo'amaaged (teacher). Thus, by watching and listening to these gekinoo'amaagedjig who surrounded them, they were able to navigate the waters and to forecast the weather and keep track of time very precisely.

According to our cosmology, there is a Manidoo-miikana (Spirit trail) that continually cycles from the terrestrial realms, across the sky world, star world and into the spiritual realms. In the night sky, we call this Spirit Trail Giizhik-miikana (“Cedar Trail”), the planetary elliptical that appears to move from east to west. The cleansing herb called Giizhik (cedar) and the sky (called Giizhig) are seen as spiritually closely related beings, hence the term “Cedar Trail.” The eight planets of our Solar System including our Mother Earth which is orbited by her child the moon, are all part of the Great Spirit Nation, headed by the Sun. All these relatives travel, each with their own names and spirits, across the sky along the Spirit Trail.

Of all planets and their celestial family members, Nookomis Dibik-Giizis, Grandmother Moon (ᑎᐱᑭ ᑮᓯᔅ in Ojibwe syllabics), is regarded as our principal gekinoo'amaaged, or teacher. She is often called Gookomisinaan: Our Grandmother.

Even today, the Anishinaabeg still follow Gookomisinaan dibik-giiziso-mazina'igan (a lunar calendar), in contrast with modern mainstream society, which follows Gimishoomisinan giiziso-mazina'igan (a solar calendar) --- called the Gregorian calendar. The solar year contains about 365 days; the Earth actually takes 365 days, 5 hours and 49 minutes to circle the Sun. In the modern Gregorian calendar system, an extra day is added every four years (known as the leap year), and a leap year is skipped every 100 years for three centuries out of every four.

Where the Gregorian mazina'igan is based on the movement of Gimishoomisinaan Giizis, the Sun, the Gookomisinaan dibik-giiziso-mazina'igan is based on the movement of Gookomisinaan Dibik-giizis, the moon.

It is important to recognize that our Moon calendar does not match up with the Gregorian 12-Month calendar, because ours has 13 Moons/13+ full moons in the year. So, for example, March is what we call Ziinzibaakwadooke-giizis but that doesn’t really start until later on in March —namely, when the full moon rises. In other words, we are still in Namebini-giizis (Sucker Fish Moon) when the (Gregorian) Month of March begins.

The Anishinaabe lunar months go from Full Moon to Full Moon. This is unique as other soli-lunar calendar systems go from New Moon to New Moon (which in itself makes sense since a new moon is the first moon phase of a lunar cycle), or from sliver crescent after the New Moon to the sliver crescent after the New Moon. According to the Anishinaabe calendar, leap month happens in the December-January time frame (New Year begins with the Full Moon on or after the Winter Solstice).


According to a popular Anishinaabe creation story, the world was created when a muskrat brought mud from the bottom of the sea to be placed on the back a giant snapping turtle. The turtle’s shell has thirteen central plates, called scutes.

The drawing on a turtle's back or upper shell resembles our lunar calendar. This is Anishinaabeg's way of dating seasonal changes and all the natural events that occur during each season. The lunar calendar followed by the majority of traditional Anishinaabe Peoples dictates that a moon (month) has 28 days. This is the time it takes for the moon to orbit our Earth and the time it takes a woman to have her menstrual cycle.



The shell of the turtle represents the body of events, teachings, and origins of the Anishinaabe. The thirteen large sections on the back of the turtle represent ashi niswi giizisoog (thirteen moons) in the Earth’s rotation around the sun. Thirteen also represents the four seasons in the Earth’s cycle around the sun, plus the nine moons it takes for the developing of a human child in the mother’s womb. The scutes (scales) that surround the large sections on top of the turtle's back represent the number of days that make up an entire lunar cycle .

For the Anishinaabeg Peoples, the turtle is like a grandmother. She represents the spirit of the people, the women, and the land.

Since the region the Anishinaabeg live in is so large, the moons and the full moon(s) that shine(s) during a month may not be called the same thing for all areas. Some nations, tribes, and bands have more than one name for each moon as there are so many things going on in the natural world at that time. For example, the Anishinaabeg in Southeastern Ontario would not have the same activities as the Anishinaabeg in North Dakota in a given period or season.



The Full Moon Calendar of the Anishinaabeg Peoples

Full moon names reflect local cultures. There are several names of the full moons in circulation throughout Anishinaabe Aki, depending on the region. In Lower Peninsula Michigan and in southern Ontario, for example, these are the names of the 12 full moons and one leap moon:

Ashi niso-waawiyezi-dibik-giizis (the thirteen full moons) named in Anishinaabemowin (the Ojibwe language) can be formulated as follows:**

Namebini-giizis (Sucker Fish Moon: Full Moon on or after the Winter Solstice): January.

Onaabani-giizis (Hard Crust on the Snow Moon): February, lunar orbit January-February;

Ziinzibaakwadooke-giizis (Sugar Making Moon): March, lunar orbit February-March. (For some Anishinaabeg, March 28 marks the start of the New Year.)

Waabigwanii-giizis (Showing Buds Moon): April, lunar orbit March-April;

Gitige-giizis (Planting Moon): May, lunar orbit April-May;

Ode'imini-giizis (Heart Berry Moon): June, lunar orbit May-June;

Miini-giizis (Blueberry Moon): July, lunar orbit June-July;

Odatagaagomini-giizis (Blackberry Moon): August, lunar orbit July-August. Note: The eighth moon can fall in either July or August, depending on the year.

Mandaamini-giizis (Corn Moon): September, lunar orbit August-September; this full moon shines in Waatebagaa-giizis, the Leaves Are Turning Color Moon.

Binaakwe-giizis (Falling Leaves Moon): October, lunar orbit September-October;

Gashkadino-giizis (Freezing Over Moon): November, lunar orbit October-November;

Gichi-bibooni-giizis (Big Winter Moon): December, lunar November -December;

Oshki-bibooni-giizisoons (New Winter Little Moon; lunar December-January leap month; the 13th moon or leap month is usually placed between the 1th and 2nd moons of our lunar calendar).

Then there is another full moon, traditionally called Ma'iingan Giizis (Wolf Moon). This is how some Anishinaabeg call the second or third full moon in a calendar month; others use it to denote the thirteenth moon of a lunar year. Wolves howling at this full moon signal a time of change in the spiritual domain; bearwalkers and other shapeshifters will be active during this full moon.

Other names in use are Ozhaawashko-giizis (Blue Moon), Miskwi-dibik-giizis (Blood Moon), and Miskomini-giizis (Raspberry Moon). Those are most probably neologisms, based on European names.

Miskwi-dibik-giizis is a moon that is fully eclipsed, especially during the summer moons.

The term "blood moon" (a neologism) is also frequently used to describe four total lunar eclipses that occur in a row. The Ojibweg sometimes call this moon Miskomini-giizis or Miskwiwmini-giizis — "Raspberry moon"; the seventh moon of Creation, when great changes begin. It is a time for focusing on healing and restorative activities.

The counting of the annual full moon cycle is depicted on the turtle's shield a follows: clockwise, starting in the top right corner & in the center from top to bottom.

Mandaamini-giizis (Corn Moon, which rises in September) is depicted in the above image as a yellow moon; the red moon, called Raspberry Moon, denotes a total sun eclipse during the Blueberry Moon (July); the blue moon refers to the thirteenth full moon during a leap month.

For the Anishinaabe people, the turtle is like an ookomisan (grandmother). The grandmother is the power of the nation. She represents the spirit of the people, the women, and the land. Like no one else, she is able to love, to nurture and to discipline the children of the nation. We refer to the ookomisag as “beings of kindness,” who have become closest to understanding the Spirit, the land, and the teachings that comprise truth.



Why the new year starts in the winter

Traditionally, to most Indigenous People of Turtle Island, the new year starts in ziigwan, or spring.

To us who follow the cycles of the moon, ziigwan starts with the rising of the full moon that heralds the flowing of the life-giving maple tree sap. Some Anishinaabeg celebrate the rising of the Sugar Making Moon as the New Year.

The full moon that shines around March 6-7 is the closest full moon to the vernal equinox on March 20; this date, according to the solar calendar, marks the astronomical beginning of the spring season in the Northern Hemisphere -- when Giizis the Sun crosses the celestial equator going north. Ziinzibaakwadooke-giizis (Sugar Making Moon) is our name for the full moon that shines in March.

Our name for the spring equinox, or late spring, is Minookamin. Traditionally, Minookamin is the beginning of the new year to the Society of the Dawn People (Waabanoowiwin) -- as opposed to the Midewiwin, who believe the new year begins in Winter. The celebration, or ceremony, of the Spring Equinox falls right after the Sugar Bush camps.

So, to some Anishinaabeg, the new year starts in spring, when Mother Earth springs beautiful and new life. To others, the beginning of the lunar calendar -- and thus the New Year -- starts when the full moon rises in the month of February, when the bears begin to awaken from their winter dens. In the southeastern part of Anishinaabe Aki , February is therefore known as Makwa-giizis, or Bear Moon; another name for this time of year is Makoonsag-gaa-nitaawaadi-giizis; Moon when the bear cubs begin to be birthed. Then there are also Anishinaabeg who see the moons in which the sap of the maple trees starts to run as the beginning of a new year; this happens, depending on the region, from mid-March to mid-April.

But why is then that most Anishinaabeg celebrate the new year in the winter? There is no clear-cut answer to this. Some would argue that celebrating New Year on January 1 is something the European invaders, who brought the Gregorian solar calendar to Turtle Island, imposed on us. This is of course very true. But there is more to it. Although the traditional Anishinaabe New Year seldom falls on January 1, it does occur in the week before, or after , depending on when the full moon rises right after the Winter Solstice. An ancient teaching, probably stemming from pre-contact times, has been passed down by an old warrior society known as the Windigookaan (No-flight Contraries; literally: "Society of the Cannibal Winter Monster"), indicating that it was the wiindigoog who were responsible for the creation of biboon (winter). They did this to save the planet; their interference from the sky created the pole caps and the seasons, which marked the beginning of the Anishinaabe lunar calendar...

This teaching tells us that everything in the cosmos is ice until it heats up enough to melt it on a planet or by a sun/star. This is where the Wiindigoo spirits come in. Regardless of their whereabouts — be it on earth or in space —, wiindigoog follow the edge of the ice/water.

It is believed that way back in history, the wiindigoog weren't humans, but spirits whose homes could be found on the shores of the Jiibay-ziibi, the mighty River of Souls that meanders its way through the Galaxy. Ghastly creatures they were, looking like huge terrifying skeletons with their bones pushing out against their skin which was colored the ash-gray of death! Here, in this galactic land floating through the sky, permeated and surrounded by gas, debris, and huge clouds of water, they used to lay in ambush to snatch and devour those poor deceased human beings whose souls were unprepared for their journey home to Waakwi — the Land behind the stars where their ancestors lived.

But then, many, many strings of lives ago the earth shifted, bringing chaos to the world, and this is when the sky wiindigoog volunteered to bring back order. Straight through the void of space from the stars they came, moving through the earth to stabilize the tumbling, holding the Earth's poles constant. Because of this, the wiindigoog were gifted with the gift of ice for holding the actual poles of the earth! This event marked the creation of biboon (winter) and the beginning of the Anishinaabe calendar, and from that moment on the cycle of the seasons started around the time of the Winter Solstice — a few days before the rising of the full moon, when the sucker fish spawn...



However, not all Anishinaabeg follow the above teaching of the Wiindigoo Society. I already mentioned the people of the Dawn Society, who celebrate New Year around Spring Equinox. And then there are those who follow an alternative time-keeping system, called oondaadesewin giizhigadoo-mazina'igan ("Generations Calendar") or mashkiki dibik-giiziso-mazina'igan ("Medicine Lunar Calendar").

Followers of the oondaadesewin/mashkiki calendar are of the opinion that the Ookomisan/Grandmother calendar as known by the Anishinaabeg Peoples is an inaccurate remnant of the impact of the European invasion as far back as 900 CE when the Norsemen first arrived, then the full-scale invasion of the Americas starting in the 15th century. According to the oondaadesewin/mashkiki time-keeping system, which is different from (and possibly much older than) the lunar calendar teachings followed by the majority of traditional Anishinaabeg Peoples that dictates that a month has 28 days, the Grandmother-Moon circles the Earth-Mother every 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 2.8 seconds. Therefore, according to the oondaadesewin/mashkiki theory, a 12 moon cycle is about 354 days long; 11 days different from the solar calendar.

According to the Oondaadesewin/Mashkiki Calendar theory, this would put the Ookomisan/Grandmother calendar out by half a month in 14 years and advance until Gashkadino-Giizis or Baashkaakodin-Giizis (The Freezing Moon) would start on the summer solstice. The Mashkiki calendar recognizes this disparity. It dictates that 12 moons/months of our calendar equals approximately 354 days, which is 11 days short of the solar year. Every three years this equals 33 full days, so the 13th moon/month is added.

The calendar cycle, according to the Oondaadesewin/Mashkiki theory, starts and ends with a 13th moon, so the excess time is accounted for having two 13 moons in a row. Then every 76 years (an average lifetime) the 10th year of the cycle is given a 13th moon. This moon, according to the Mashkiki/Generations Calendar theory, is known as Ingichi-ookomis Manidoo Dibik-giizis ("Great-Grandmother-Spirit Moon"). In contrast with the traditional Anishinaabe belief that our calendar starts in Gichimanidoo-giizis or Maajii-bibooni-giizis (Great Spirit Moon/The Beginning of Winter Moon/the Month of January), the lunar year, according to the followers of the Oondaadesewin/Mashkiki calendar, begins when the Earth-Mother is reborn, usually in the moon when the Vernal equinox occurs (in Zaagibagaa-giizis, the Budding Moon, or the Month of May). This, of course, would define the Moon of the Falling Leaves/October as the sixth, not the ninth, moon of the lunar year.




Like anangoog, the stars, gimishoomisinaan dibik-giizis (Grandmother Moon) and her positions and face (moon phases) throughout the seasons are traditionally important sources of information to the Anishinaabeg. As Gookomisinaan orbits Mother Earth she is sometimes between Mother Earth and Father Sun. When in this situation Gookomisinaan is not reflecting any light toward Mother Earth and the bright sunlight obscures our view of her, this phase is called oshki-agoojin, or oshkagoojin ("Hangs Anew"; new moon). In the illustration above and below the oshkagoojin giizis is shown as a (nearly) dark circle. Each night as Grandmother Moon moves a little farther in her orbit, a small sliver of moon reflecting sunlight can be seen. This is called waanaabikizi (crescent moon). As Grandmother Moon continues along her orbit more and more of her face is reflecting sunlight waxing. Sometimes she can even be seen during the day.


Mother Earth's Dance around the Moon art by Zhaawano Giizhik
"Grandmother Moon's Dance Around the Earth Turtle" - An artist's impression of the moon phases. © 2022-2023 Zhaawano Giizhik.


Then, about a week after oshkagoojin, we can see Gookomisinaan in the form of aabitawaasige (a half-moon). (Aabitawaasige means that Grandmother Moon has travelled a quarter of her way around the Earth so it is also means "first quarter moon.") Now, each following night more of Grandmother Moon's face reflects sunlight; from where we stand it looks like it is increasing in size, but in reality we’re just seeing more of it. Now Grandmother Moon is about two weeks into her orbit; she is on the side of the Earth where Father sun can light all of her face that it visible to us. This is called

Waawiyezi-dibik-giizis: The moon is round (full). Or: Miziweyaabikizi ("the Moon is shining everywhere"). Full moon, to most traditional Anishinaabeg, indicates the start of a new month. As Gookomisinaan continues to orbit, her face appears smaller and smaller (waning) until it is again dark – oshki oshkagoojin (a new "new moon"). Then the cycle repeats...

Miziweyaabikizi/Michaabikizi/Waawiyezi-dibik-giizis: Full moon

Oshki-agoojin/Oshkagoojin: New moon (literally: "Hangs Anew") Aabitawaasige/Aabitawaabikizi: Half moon

Agoojin: (Moon) hangs/is in the sky Epiitaagoojing: Moon phases Oshki-giizis/Oshkaasige: Waxing moon Aabitawaasige: Quarter moon Ishkwaawaasige: Waning moon Bikwaabikizi: Gibbous moon Waanaabikizi/Bajiishkiwine Giizis: Crescent moon Makadewaabikizi: Eclipsed moon

Epiitaagoojing/Enagoojing/Epiitaasige: Moon phases

Ahaaw sa. Mii sa ekoozid. Miigwech gibizindaw noongom. Gigiveda-waabamin wayiiba, Mino bimaadizin!

Well, that is the end. Thank you for listening to me today. I hope to see you again soon! Live well!



* A free rendering of teachings by a.o. Michel Sutherland from Pîhtâpek Ililiwak (Fort Albany, Ontario) and Ogimaawab Joseph Sutherland (Gakaabikaang/Minneapolis, Minnesota)

** It should be noted that Anishinaabeg (Ojibweg) in different areas use different names for the moons; there are many variations in the dialects spoken. Also, since our culture and our language are traditionally intricately linked to nature, the names used are typically based on observations of natural phenomena, animal activity, and the cultural practices and beliefs of the given community. The common factor is the idea that the moons orient us to our calendar, the changing seasons, plant life cycles, and animal migration. What is equally important is that with each moon cycle spiritual as well as moral teachings are involved which are the fiber of our Indigenous society.

Several names that are presently in use for the moons stem from intercultural crossing between Anishinaabeg and the Wemitigoozhiwag and Gichi-mookomaanag (Europeans and Americans). The land-rooted relationships that in pre-contact times used to be unquestionable became chaotic and often meaningless, and some moon names became replaced by names that reflected the cultural views of the Anglo invaders. An example of such a Westernized name is Animikadaadiiwi-giizis, which means "Welcoming Each Other Moon," referring to the settlers' habit of wishing each other Happy New Year in the month of January. The influence of Christianity on Ojibwe culture is evident in a name used by Ojibweg from Northwest Ontario to denote the Month of December: Gichi-anama'e-giizhigani-giizis, or "Big Church Days Moon." Another example of Western influence is Joolay-biisim, which, of course, is an "Ojibwenized" version of the Anglo word for the moon that precedes the month of August. ^

The differences between the various regions are reflected in a vast variety of the lunar orbits and Moon names. I tried to map this vast variety of Moon names (including the cross-cultural, post-contact names) in below list:


Great Spirit Moon


(According to the Anishinaabe lunar calendar, "leap month" happens in the December-January time frame).

Start of the Winter Moon


New Winter Moon


Long (Shining) Moon


Halfway Winter Moon


Welcoming Each Other Moon

Anamikadaadiiwi-giizis: a Westernized, post-contact name


Suckerfish Moon


Bear Moon


Groundhog Moon


Moon when the bear cubs begin to be birthed


Short Day / Shines Briefly Moon

Gaa-dakwaasiged-giizis/Gaa-dakwaasigej-giizis/ Gaa-dakoowaasigej giizis/Gaa-dakwegiizisoj-biisim : a Westernized, post-contact name

Big Moon


Long (Shining) Moon


Bald Eagle Moon



Sugar Making Moon


Hard Crust on the Snow Moon


Broken Snowshoe Moon


Crow Moon


Goose Moon


Suckerfish Moon



Sugarbushing Moon


Frog Moon


Broken Snowshoe Moon

Bobookwedaagime-giizis /Bebookwedaagame-giizis/ Bebookwedaagiming-giizis/Pokwaagami-giizis/ Bookoogami-giizis

Loon Moon


Suckerfish Moon



Budding Moon


Flowering Moon

Waabigon-giizis/Waabigonii-giizis/Waabigwanii-giizis/ Waawaasagone-giizis

Suckerfish Moon


Loon Moon


Heart-berry (Strawberry) Moon

Ode’imini-giizis (term used by the Bodéwadmi Anishinaabeg (Potawatomi))


Heart-berry (Strawberry) Moon


Gardening (Planting) Moon


Flowering Moon

Waabigwanii-giizis/Waabigwaniwi-giizis/Waabigonii-giizis/Waawano-giizis/ Baashkaabigonii-giizis

Budding Moon


Sweet Juneberry Moon


(Names used by the Northwestern/Plains Ojibweg)

Mud Turtle Moon


Egg Moon


(Meaning Unknown) Moon



Halfway Summer Moon

Aabita-niibino-giizis/Aabita-niibini-giizis[4] / Aabita-niibinoowi-giizhis[5]

Blueberry Moon

Miini-giizis[6] /Miin-giizis[7]

Raspberry Moon

Miskomini-giizis, Miskwiwmini-giizis

Flying Moon


Keeps Shooting Moon

Hatching Moon


Be All Out in Leaves Moon

Giizhibagaawi-giizis /Giizhibagaawi-biisim[8]

Unripe (Blue)Berry Moon


There Are Many Blueberries Moon


Picking Blueberries Moon


Be Heard Shooting Moon


(Meaning Unknown) Moon

Opaaskowi-giizis, or -biisim[12]

July Moon


8th MOON (the eighth moon can fall in either July or August, depending on the year):

Blueberry/thimbleberry(blackberry) Moon



Ripening moon

Aditemini-giizis/Aditewimini-giizis/Aditemini-biisim/Aditewimini-biisim [14]

Haying Time /Reed or Rush Cutting Moon


(Meaning unknown) Moon

Manizhigewi-giizis [15]

Ricing Moon

Manoominike-giizis [16]

Wild Rice Moon

Manoominii-giizis [17]

Blackberry Moon

Odatagaagomini giizis

Blueberry Moon

Miin-giizis [18]/Miini-giizis [19]

Blueberries Moon


Berry Gathering Moon


Flying Moon

Basikwa’o giizis

(Meaning unknown) Moon

Omba'owi-giizhis [20]/Omba'owi-biisim [21]

Middle of the Summer Moon



Leaves Turning Color Moon

Waatebagaa-giizis/ Waabaagbagaa-giizis

Corn Moon

Mandaamini giizis

Ricing Moon


Moose Moon

Moozo giizis


Falling Leaves Moon

Binaakwe-giizis/binaakwii-giizis/binaakii-giizis [22]/ binaagwewi-giizhis [23](WO)/binaakwewi-giizis[24]/Binaakwiiwi(k)-giizis [25]/Binaakwiiwi-biisim [26]

Leaves Turning Color Moon


Freezing (Over) Moon

Gashkadino-Giizis (Western dialect)/Baashkaakodin-giizis/Mshkawji-giizis (Eastern dialects)

Whitefish Moon


Trout Moon

Namegos-giizis/ Namegosi-giizis


Whitefish Moon


Freezing (Over) Moon

Gashkadino-Giizis (Western dialect)/Baashkaakodin-giizis/Mshkawji-giizis (Eastern dialects).

Full moon names reflect local cultures. This lunation is the 11th of the year; some (Southeastern) Ojibwe people call it Mshkawji/Mashkawajiwin Giizis, or "Freezing Moon." Similarly, the Inininew (Cree) people call it "Kaskatinowipisim" or "Freeze up Moon." Both the Inininew and Ojibwe nations' traditional territories are in the Great Lakes region, freezing temperatures begin in earnest in October and November, when the 11th lunation of the year can occur.


Little Spirit Moon


Spirit Moon

Manidoo-giizis [27]

Great Spirit Moon

Gichi-manidoo-giizis [28]

Winter Moon


Winter Arrives Moon


Big Winter Moon


Feast Abundantly Days Moon (a post-contact name)

Magoshe-giizhigan-biisim/ Magoshe-giizhigani-biisim/ Magoshe-giizhigani-giizis/Magoshewi-giizhigan-giizhis/Makozhewi-giizhigani-giizis[29]

Big Church Days Moon (a post-contact name influenced by Christianity)

Gichi-anama'e-giizhigani-giizis/Gichi-anami'e-giizhigani-giizis [30]


Anishinaabe Aki chart by Zhaawano Giizhik
Anishinaabe Aki chart ©2023 Zhaawano Giizhik


[1] Zaagibagaawi-giizis: term used by Northwestern Ojibweg (Northwest Ontario) and Western Ojibweg (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta). Zaagibagaawi-biisim is used in the Northeast (Northern Ojibweg/Anishininiwag (Oji-Cree)). ^

[2] Mishiikenh-giizis: a term used by the Bodéwadmi Anishinaabeg (Potawatomi). ^

[3]Ozhibinigaawi-giizhis: term used by Nakaweg-Ojibweg from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. ^

[4]Aabita-niibini-giizis, Aabita-niibino-giizis: terms used in Northwestern Ontario. ^

[5]Aabita-niibinoowi-giizhis: term used by Nakaweg-Ojibweg from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. ^

[6]Miini-giizis: term used by the Northeastern Ojibweg. ^

[7] Min-giizis: term used by the Southeastern Ojibweg and Odaawaag Anishinaabeg (Odawa). ^

[8]Giizhibagaawi -giizis, or Giizhibagaawi-biisim: used in Northwestern Ontario and by the Northern Ojibweg/Anishininiwag (Oji-Cree). ^

[9] Ishkaninjiimini-giizis: term used in Northwestern Ontario and by the Northern Ojibweg/Anishininiwag (Oji-Cree). ^

[10]Miinikaa-giizis: term used by the Northwestern Ojibweg. ^

[11] Miinikewi-giizis: term used by the Northwestern Ojibweg. ^

[12]Opaaskowi-giizis, or -biisim: term used by he North-shore Ojibweg in Ontario, and by the Northern Ojibweg/Anishininiwag (Oji-Cree). Its literal meaning is unknown to me. ^

[13]Joolay-biisim: Westernized, post-contact name used by the Northern Ojibweg/Anishininiwag (Oji-Cree). ^

[14] Aditemini-giizis/Aditewimini-giizis: terms used by the Northwestern Ojibweg (Northwest Ontario). and Western Ojibwe (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta). Aditemini-biisim/Aditewimini-biisim: terms used by the Northern Ojibweg/Anishininiwag (Oji-Cree). ^

[15] Manizhigewi-giizis: term used by the Western Ojibweg (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta). Its literal meaning is unknown to me. ^

[16] Manoominike-giizis: term used by the Northwestern Ojibweg (Northwest Ontario). ^

[17] Manoominii-giizis: term used by the Southeastern Ojibweg and Odaawaag Anishinaabeg (Odawa) and the Southwestern Ojibweg (Minnesota). ^

[18] Miin-giizis: term used in Lower Peninsula Michigan and Wisconsin (Southshore Ojibweg) and Southern Ontario (Northshore Ojibweg). ^

[19] Miini-giizis: term used in Lower Peninsula Michigan and Wisconsin (Southshore Ojibweg), Southern Ontario (Northshore Ojibweg), and Northwest Ontario (Northwestern Ojibweg). ^

[20] Omba'owi-giizhis: term used by the Western Ojibwe (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta). Its literal meaning is unknown to me. ^

[21] Omba'owi-biisim: term used by the Northern Ojibweg/Anishininiwag (Oji-Cree). ^

[22] Binaakii-giizis: term used by the Northwestern Ojibweg (Northwest Ontario). ^

[23] Binaagwewi-giizhis: term used by the Western Ojibweg (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta). ^

[24] Binaakwewi-giizis: term used by the Northwestern Ojibweg (Northwest Ontario). ^

[25] Binaakwiiwi(k)-giizis: term used by the Northwestern Ojibweg (Northwest Ontario). ^

[26] Binaakwiiwi-biisim: term used by the Northern Ojibweg/Anishininiwag (Oji-Cree). ^

[27] Manidoo-giizis: term used by the Southeastern Ojibweg and Odaawaag Anishinaabeg (Odawa) and Northwestern Ojibweg (Northwest Ontario). ^

[28] Gichi-manidoo-giizis: term used by the Bodéwadmi Anishinaabeg (Potawatomi) to denote the month of December. ^

[29] "Feast Abundantly Days Moon": a designation stemming from Anglo/Christian influences.

Magoshe-giizhigan-biisim/ Magoshe-giizhigani-biisim: terms used by the Northern Ojibweg/Anishininiwag (Oji-Cree). Magoshe-giizhigani-giizis: term used by the Northwestern Ojibweg (Northwest Ontario). Magoshewi-giizhigan-giizhis: term used by the Western Ojibweg (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta). Makozhewi-giizhigani-giizis: term used by the Northwestern Ojibweg (Northwest Ontario). ^

[30] Gichi-anama'e-giizhigani-giizis/Gichi-anami'e-giizhigani-giizis: Christian-influenced name used by some Ojibweg from Northwest Ontario. ^


3,804 views5 comments


Apr 09

This is the single best source on the 13 moon turtle shell calendar. There is nothing in formal academia / Google Scholar / that covers it so well. Really grateful to have found this and will give credit for what I use.


annemarie daniel
annemarie daniel
Sep 18, 2023

This research is so important. Thank you for putting all of this together. I would like to be able to keep a copy. Have you published anywhere?


Sandy Mcnaughton
Sandy Mcnaughton
Sep 10, 2023

Just beautiful! Thank you!

Sep 19, 2023
Replying to

You're welcome Sandy!

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