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Giigidowag Mitigoog (The Trees Speak), part 3: Debaajimood and the Story Berry Tree

Namebini-giizis (Suckerfish Moon)/Makwa-giizis (Bear Moon), February 27, 2022



Boozhoo, aaniin! Ever since my Indigenous ancestors could first communicate, they have gathered to share stories. From then on they - particularly the Elders - used to pass on traditional tales to the young generation.… the content of these narratives usually referred to animals, trees, plants, celestial bodies, and the spirits. The stories were not just a form of entertainment, but also powerful tools, valuable lessons containing a vast wealth of knowledge and wisdom, since time immemorial passed on to the next generation.

Today's story is one that is close to my heart. Not just because it sheds light on the nature of Anishinaabe dadibaajimowin (Ojibwe storytelling) as it has been known throughout the ages. It also has similarities with my own, personal experiences as an (albeit contemporary) storyteller.

The protagonist, an Anishinaabe inini (Ojibwe man) who actually existed a long time ago, is someone I feel great kinship with. In my narrative, this man, although born an Anishinaabe, was raised in a far-away country and only occasionally visited his People. The great Anishinaabe art of storytelling can be traced back to this extraordinary man, who was both loved and maligned in his time and who nowadays is credited for having been the first person in history who raised the spoken word to an art form.

The name of this man was Debaajimood. Read, and marvel at how he shares, through the teaching of the Story Berry Tree, his narratives and wisdom with Nookomis, man’s first mother and the grandmother of Wenabozho, the beloved spirit-friend of the Anishinaabeg people!

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