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Stories and Teachings from the Earth, part 11: Wenabozho and the Meaning of Aadizooke

Updated: Feb 14, 2023

Namebini-giizis/Makwa-giizis (Suckerfish Moon/Bear Moon )- February 11, 2023

 


 

Wenabozho waawiindamaage aadizooked noongom. "Today Wenabozho talks to people about the sacred stories."

 

TO TELL A STORY IS TO EXPLORE THE MEANING OF LIFE


Aaniin! Biindigen miinawaa nindaadizooke wigamigong; enji-zaagi'iding miinawaa gikendaasong -- Hi! Welcome back in my Storytelling Lodge, where there is love and learning.


The above illustration, a painting I made in the summer of 2022, depicts our beloved friend and hero Wenabozho -- who has walked the earth for such a long time that I painted him as Akiwenzii, a "Long Dweller on the Earth"; he is performing a ceremony during which he is telling aadizookanan (sacred stories) to the People. The lake in the background and the campfire refer to the habitat and cultural unity of the People of the Three Fires, while the glowing sunset behind the lake reflects the land in the West where Wenabozho is believed to presently reside.


Now, let's dwell a moment on the literal meaning of the Ojibwe Anishinaabe word for "tell a traditional story/storytelling."


Aadizooke/aadizookewin. The literal meaning of the verb aadizooke is "make life-way of something." It therefore follows that aadizookewin, telling traditional stories, or legends, is more than about just telling legends; it is about exploring the life-way, a conduct of living.


It literally is the meaning of life!


So, in case you might be wondering who Wenabozho is and what he is doing in the painting: He is our teacher, an aadizookaan or "maker of stories," explaining the People about the meaning and purpose of life.


Miigwech gibizindaw, thank you for listening!

 

Illustration: Sunset Ceremony. See the website for details.

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