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Teachings from the Tree of Life, part 23: We Have a Mind of Our Own, so Use It.

Updated: Feb 25

Makwa-giizis (Bear Moon), February 24, 2024

 

Anishinaabe Enwaachiged the Ojibwe Prophet painting by Zhaawano Giizhik
Enwaachiged ("The Prophet") ©2024 Zhaawano Giizhik

 
Gimiinigoowiz gakina gegoo ji-nisidotaman bimaadiziwin. Gego wiikaa anooj-igo doodawaaken inendamowin.

("Your mind is a powerful gift. Never abuse it.")*
 

Boozhoo!


You may sometimes wonder, how do we, as we stumble along on the capricious path of learning, cope with all the information about Indigenous-related topics that we are inundated with these days?


True, it takes a lifetime and longer to unravel all the information we are getting through books, movies, social media, and classes. It's an ongoing learning process and many times we are fooled and many times we realize we are fooled and then broaden and deepen our knowledge by means of advanced insight. Trial and error is the name of the game. Too often I have been fooled by academically trained non-native authors with a big ego who write final, definitive, authoritative, and no less than epic books about a Native American related topic – only to find out much – even decades – later it was all based on poppycock. Too many times we are fed with false, or at least, misleading information spread through social media (particularly Facebook) where it seems a whole army of popular Natives make it their life task to feed us with false facts that seem to come out of a factory of distorted cultural self-images. Sometimes I think it has become a popularity contest to make sure as many followers and fans as possible parrot your false narratives. This is why we are constantly being publicly attacked by what I call the "Only When There Is Snow on the Ground and Who Are Your Teachers Police."**


The false information is everywhere we look. Knowledge building thus becomes a matter of adjusting our thus-far acquired knowledge and truths, of continuously breaking down before we can start building up again. So yeah, we owe it to ourselves to stay critical and don't buy bullshit just because the ones who drop it are popular and thrive on having a zillion followers. Parroting false leaders is more harmful than we think. Even more damaging than over-the-top fake news because its effects are longer lived.


Remember, we have a mind of our own and it is a gift, a treasure we must never underestimate or forsake.


Mi'iw. Miigwech gii bizindawiyeg.

That is all, thank you for listening.


 

NOTE:

*Gimiinigoowiz gakina gegoo ji-nisidotaman bimaadiziwin: Your mind is a powerful gift. It literally means:

" You are gifted by the spirits with the ability of comprehending life."

** In this day and age of the call-out culture and the pretendian hunters it has become very much in vogue on Facebook to publicly question others who post about Indigenous-related topics. "Don't You Know You're Not Allowed To Share Stories As Long As Our Mother The Earth Isn't Covered With At Least Seven Inches Of Snow?" and "What's Your Tribal Affiliation? Where Did You Get Your Information From? Who Is Your Teacher?" are just a handful of mantras that all seem to come from the same factory of culturally correct platitudes. Ugh. It's like everyone nowadays feels the need to present themselves as a "Super NDN." It's counterproductive because it only leads us farther away from a true understanding of our cultural legacy. All it does is lead us in circles. Only an open, respectful, and non-judgemental dialogue will lead to a better understanding of our lives, where we stand in this life, and where we are heading as Indigenous Peoples.


 

Illustration: Enwaachiged - the Prophet - ©2024 Zhaawano Giizhik

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