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  • Writer's picturezhaawano

Stories and Teachings from the Earth, part 7: The First Sound of Creation

Updated: May 22, 2022

Zaagibagaa-giizis (Budding Moon)/Namebine-giizis (Suckerfish Moon), May 20, 2022



Boozhoo indinawemaaganidog, gidinimikoo miinawaa. Biindigen miinawaa nindaadizooke wigamigong; enji-zaagi'iding miinawaa gikendaasong.

Hello my relatives, I greet you in a good way. Welcome back in my Storytelling Lodge where there is love and learning.

Today's story, the seventh in a series titled Stories and Teachings from the Earth, is centered around a wedding ring set that I made in the graphic style of the Native Woodland Art.

As a jewelry maker working in the tradition of the Native Woodland School of Art, it is my goal to create simplicity in design. I believe the technique of overlay perfectly fits the purpose.

This set of Anishinaabe/Ojibwe-style wedding bands, titled Manidoo-digo/Oshki-miinikaan ("Spirit Wave/First Seed of Creation"), is part of the ring line Respect.

These rings with the wave and seeds design were made using the technique of overlay. Both rings consist of 14 K white gold; the inlays are 14 K red gold. The interiors were made of sterling silver. The oval red gold inlays, placed against a background of oxidized (blackened) silver, depict a MIINIKAAN, a seed from which all life springs, the essence of the beginning, Mother Earth, and the Great Mystery. In addition, the interiors of the rings depict a cut-out overlay design of the sun rising at dawn. Only when the Sun has made a miinikaan grow into a flower we fully understand its beauty...


Binesi Nenaandawi'iwe (Thunderbird Healer) art pring
Binesi Nenaandawi'iwe (Thunderbird Healer), art print by Zhaawano Giizhik ©2022 . The colored orbs surrounding the Thunderbird drummer are manidoo miinikaanan, "spirit seeds."

Sounds are the core and essence of our language and our ceremonial practice, and therefore, of izhinamowin, our worldview.

MADWEWEWIN, or "sound resonance," lies at the heart of Anishinaabe izhinamowin (Ojibwe ontology) and Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe language). Nowhere is this concept more clear than in the teachings and ceremonies of the Midewiwin, the Anishinaabe Lodge of Healers and Seers. Some claim the word "Midewiwin" (pronounce: mi-DAY-win) derives from madwewewin, as in the echoing of the Mide water drum whose omnipresent sound represents the Earth’s heartbeat.

The Ojibweg sometimes call a drum madwewe-chigan; "sound-instrument." Another word for a drum is dewe'igan. The literal translation of dewe'igan is, "The instrument that makes the sound of the heart." To us, a drum is not merely an object; they are manidoog, living, dynamic entities that require a respectful, ritual approach and ongoing practical and ceremonial care. As the principle of circularity is central to Anishinaabe thinking and living, the madwewe-chigan, to us, its shape and the patterns that are sometimes painted on its body and membrane, are visual metaphors for other similarly shaped phenomena and beings that we can see and sense all around us in nature.

The revitalizing sound the madwewe-chigan produces when first struck resembles the first sound of early spring morning when the seeds pop out of the ground...

So this is why even the littlest plant seeds have such an important place in our worldview. The design of the rings, therefore, is an artistic acknowledgement of the beauty and the power of miinikaan, the seed...A friend once said the following about the above ring set: "These rings display beautiful design elements of the seeds as in the first sound of creation, in the morning time."


Manidoowi miinikaanense. Niigiwin manidoowin. Miinikaanense w'da-gikinaawajinowaan abinoojiin. Miinikaanense manidoowi, w'da-mashki-akiiwi. "The small seed is a mystery. Birth is a mystery. The small seed symbolizes a child. The small seed is mystical, it will heal like earth's medicine." - Ritual words of thanksgiving of the Waabanoowiwin, Anishinaabe Society of Dawn.


Ahaam, giiwenh, this is how far the story goes!

Miigwech for reading and listening and bi-waabamishinaang miinawaa daga: please come see me again!

> Visit the Fisher Star Creations website to see details of the above ring set.


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