Stories and Teachings from the Earth, part 8: A Tribute to Our Medicine Women
Waabaagbagaa-giizis / Waatebagaa-giizis (Leaves Turning Moon) - September 15, 2022
It is the teaching of the Midewiwin, the age-old Anishinaabe society of the Good Hearted Ones, that every tree, bush, plant, and fruit has a use. Bimaadiziwin, health and long life, represented to our ancestors a central guideline in life and a code for upright living, and those who had knowledge of plants and fruits and their medicinal and ceremonial use were most highly esteemed among the communities of Anishinaabewaki.
This plant knowledge often came directly from manidoog (the spirits), particularly from bawaaganag, spirits in animal form visiting the healer in a dream or vision. But not all herb specialists received their knowledge directly from the spirit world.
Many medicine persons who had an encyclopedic knowledge of the mysterious properties of plants, herbs, roots, and berries, used to be women, often referred to as mashkikiikewikwewag ("Women who are of the medicine gathering/making"). These herbalists, either male or female or two-spirited, had great knowledge of that what the earth offered them, and they were keenly aware that certain plants and roots produce a specified effect upon the human system.
Because of this, they deserve praise; they are the true healers and heroes of our Nations.
- Illustration: Medicine Woman ©2022 Zhaawano Giizhik
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