Indigenous Culture Seven Grandfather Teachings

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Indigenous People Culture /Anishinaabe Perspectives

Essentials - What you will learn. Truth and Reconciliation

Anishinabe Perspectives

By Robert DesJarlait

Note: Originally published: WICAZŌ SA REVIEW: A Journal of Native American Studies, Spring 1997, VOL 12 NO 1, The Association for American Indian Research,
University of Minnesota Press

The Powwow. We are all familiar with it. We grow up with it, and we participate in it as dancers or singers or spectators. For many of us, it is one of the constants in our lives as Ojibwe-Anishinaabe people - ­from the time we enter the Land of the Living to the time we return homeward to the Spirit World. It connects us to our ancestors, for whom dance was the expression of their soul-spirits made visible and whose traditions teach us that dance extends beyond one's life to the Spirit World, where the chee-jauk (soul-spirits) of all our relatives are made visible by the shimmering lights of their auras as they dance in the northern night skies. Indeed, the stories of our elders tell us that our very creation as Ojibwe-Anishinaabe people is rooted in dance. The dance circle with dancers in feathers, fur, and regalia dancing to olden drum songs is ancient, and it is a commonality that we share with many other tribal nations, including indigenous people worldwide. Through dance we maintain a fundamental part of our connection to our Mother Earth. And whether we are dancers or singers or spectators, when the powwow ends, we walk away from it with a profound sense of well-being. Our hearts have been touched by the dancers, and our souls have been touched by the singers. We have met old friends and made new friends. And we have witnessed and participated in the living traditions of our ancestors. We feel good about who we are and where we came from. Whether we dance, sing, or watch, the powwow makes us proud to be Native American.

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