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Reawakening of the Medicine People, part 7: Return of the Kind-hearted People

Updated: Jun 1

Namebine-giizis (Suckerfish Moon)/Zaagibagaa-giizis (Budding Moon) - May 31, 2024


"Return of the Kind-hearted People" Painting by Zhaawano Giizhik
"Return of the Kind-hearted People" ©2024 Zhaawano Giizhik



For many centuries, US and Canadian mainstream societies have thoroughly disrupted Indigenous culture and tribal social relations; a deeply rooted sense of disorientation and alienation, diseases, alcohol, and child abuse have done the rest. Anishinaabeg were known as Zhawenjigewininiwag (“The Kind-hearted People”) but that has changed because the colonizers taught their language to our young, took them away from our families,* and taught them to be judgmental, cruel, and intolerant. They took our innate compassion and empathy away. 

But there is also a positive narrative be told. We are in a time of finding new balance. Storytelling and art, political and sociological awareness, and self-education are the key to healing the complex intergenerational trauma. Indigenous educators, scholars, and storytellers/artists must increase the awareness and understanding of the history, cultures, world views, and contributions of First Nations peoples of Turtle Island.

If we don't do this, who will?


Decolonization begins in the mind. It starts with aabanaabam, literally.: “turn and look back.” Used in a traditional context, abanaabam signifies a time to stop, pause, and take a look back in the past from which the People (our ancestors) have emerged.


*At least 3,000 children died while attending the Indian residential schools (IRS) system in Canada alone.


Other episodes of the "Reawakening of the Medicine People" series:


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