Spiritual Aspects of Anishinaabemowin

Spiritual Aspects of Anishinaabemowin


And so when I thought about it there’s a lot
of spiritual aspects of the language and everything is kind of surrounded around that. I would,
when I was in college, the idea of spirituality was debatable was hard to come across because
anishinaabemowin is not debated, it’s just accepted fact. there are spirits, and they
are around, and we feast them, and they direct us and all that. While in my psychology class,
they said we don’t discuss that here because it’s not a discipline. So psychologists are
trying to describe what occurs in the mind, in the brain, and biology there’s no room
for spirituality. Whereas in Anishinaabeowin you cannot go without it, the discussion of
spirituality. The existence of the spiritual is just very common it’s just taken for granted
and everything we do is based on how to appease the spirits. So what happens is that, getting
back to our discussion about animate and inanimate, certain objects in the language would become
alive, and not so much that they have legs and walk, not the literal translation of physical
being, which they are, but that they are alive in terms of spiritual being. A drum does not
need to possess legs to walk, so certain items that we have [ojibwe] So what happens is that
certain objects that you would think are inanimate in English are animate (have spiritual life)in
the language: the drum, the feather, a pipe, tobacco, just to name a very very few. These
are the sacred objects and items that we use in the language, and in the culture. Some
of the objects that are inanimate in English become animate in Anishinaabemowin. For instance,
the drum which is [ojibwe], the feather which is [ojibwe], tobacco which is [ojibwe], and
the pipe which is [ojibwe]. What happens is that little trick in linguistics when you
pluralize them they all end in letter ‘g’. For instance [ojibwe] more than one is [ojibwe].
[Ojibwe] and tobacco. I don’t know that you can pluralize tobacco, you know tobacco is
tobacco whether you have one, two, or three. Pipe [ojibwe]. So in that way when you hear
the pluralization of it, they are animate objects so the whole language is how it’s
set up. [Ojibwe]. You know one of the pet-peeves I have is when people try to use English suffixes
on Ojibwe words. One of my pet peeves is the word [ojibwe]. You know you use the letter
‘s’ on an Ojibwe word and that’s just not right. It’s [ojibwe] so one of the classes
we have on campus here is [ojibwe] of Lake Superior and it was “i thought it was [ojibwe]”,
“Yeah, that’s one group, one person, but the pluralize that, that’s what it is”.

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