NativeTech: Native American Technology and Art ~ Poems & Stories

Anishinaabe and Ma'iingan
(Original Man and Wolf)


Tara Prindle

This friend has Ojibwe heritage, and he *loves dogs (the samoyed being his favorite)... but I'll try to explain why he doesn't think a dogs place is in the dance circle at a Powwow.

Following his Ojibwe tradition Gichi Manito put Anishinaabe (Original Man or Winaboozhoo) down on the earth to name all the plants and animals. Anishinaabe, he noticed all the animals came in twos, yet he was all alone! So Gichi Manito listened, and sent someone down, the wolf, to be a companion to Anishinaabe as he traveled around, with wolf keeping him company, naming and learning about all the plants and animals. Gichi Manito told Anishinaabe and wolf that they would be like brothers, to visit all the places on the earth... which the two of them did, and through their long travels they did become close like brothers and also realized that they were like brothers as well to all the other plants and animals and depended on them.

When they finally finished their task of visiting all the places, they talked to Gichi Manito again and Gichi Manito told them both that from that day on they must go their separate ways, but that whatever would happen to one would also happen to the other. So Anishnaabe and Ma'iingan (wolf) obeyed and set off in their different directions.

And although Anishinaabe and Ma'iingan have their separate worlds now, you can surely see, what has happened to one, has also happened to the other. Both have lost lands, both have been mistreated, misunderstood and hunted. But the other hand, both *have survived, mating for life and raising their families. Hopefully with this new millenium comes a better understanding of *both Anishnaabe and Ma'iingan.

Our Animoshag (dogs) come from the wolf, and dogs today are friends to us like wolf was to Anishinaabe, but since Gichi Manito separated the courses of man and wolf, they are not supposed to be around ceremony, unless it is one specifically for the dog.

Now the powwow isn't a 'ceremony' per-say, but there are sacred things *in the dance circle, eagle feathers and other parts of peoples regalia -- and that is why this friend, according to what he was taught, feels uncomfortable about dogs running into the circle.

Anyway ... powwow season is around the corner, so visitors should remember if they would like to bring their furry companions, to have them leashed to prevent mishaps of running into the dance circle or jumping on people’s dance clothing … but in the end, it does come down to the 'when at another's powwow, bite your tongue, and try not to make trouble with the powwow committee' *smile

You can read a longer version of this story in "The Mishomis Book; The Voice of the Ojibway" 1988, by Edward Benton-Banai (published by Indian Country Communications, Inc., Route2, Box 2900-A, Hayward, WI 54843

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