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Anishinaabe Literature and Culture - Essay Example

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The people of Anishinaabe live in over 220 separate nations and provinces surrounding the Great Lakes in Canada and the United States. Twelve of these nations are located in Michigan and there are over 58,000 American Indians in Michigan according to US Census…
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Anishinaabe Literature and Culture
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Download file to see previous pages These native Indians form the Anishinaabe tribe of America. Some American universities teach Anishinaabemowin, the language spoken by the people of this tribe. These people were divided into three communities: Odawa, Ojibwe, and Bodewatomi speaking different dialects of the Anishinaabemowin. The Indians still hold the ways of their ancestors and cultivate, nurture, and protect the knowledge of their ancestors among their children. This has led to the continuity of the rich Anishinaabe language and culture that is still studied by the present generation. Children learn their language, governance, judicial system, culture, religion, and citizenship. This culture was overshadowed by Christianity and modernization, but the remaining descendants teach their children about their ancestors in order to ensure the continuity of their culture. It is difficult to maintain ethnic identity without the existence of language. The Anishinaabe descendants struggle to maintain continuity of their language by teaching their children. The learning process begins by explaining the meaning of the verbs in the seven teachings (Apple, 2008). The seven pronouns are set in the teachings called the seven grandfathers. These are: Nbwaakaawin (wisdom), Zaagi’idiwin (love), Minaadendamowin (respect), Aakwa’ode’ewin (bravery), Debwewin (truth), Dibaadendiziwin (humility) and Gwekwaadiziwin (Honesty). These are part of the original words of the ancestors that form the roots of the language. Understanding language helps understand the cultural practices, institutions, and social festivities observed by the Anishinaabe. The elderly in the communities act as reference points for teachers and learners of the language. Their dialect and understanding of the language has not been overly diluted by the English language, as is the case among the young people (Eigenbrod, LaRocque and DePasquale, 2010). The Ojibway language, part of Algonquian language group, is the most frequently spoken Aboriginal language besides Cree and Inuit languages. It is usually expressed in syllabics or the roman orthography. The syllabics were invented in 1840 by James Evans, a missionary working in Hudson’s Bay. Some Anishinaabe people claim that he did not invent the symbols, but he incorporated them into the writing system (Tigerman, 2006). The Wawatay bilingual newspaper commonly circulated among the Anishinaabe communities in northern Ontario contains texts written in syllabics. In some other texts such as children books, roman orthography is used. These forms of writing are also commonly used in educational materials that have revived the Ojibway language. English authors of the Anishinaabe origin have revived the language through the educational system, media, and literary works. They have helped produce bilingual books that enable the young generations learn their native language. Northwest Ontario has the largest population of the Anishinaabe people. The people have two collections of narratives passed down orally for centuries. These are the Ojibway heritage and the sacred legend. The sacred legend existed among the Oji-Cree speaking community near the sandy lake. The collection contains a creation story with the earth diver motif. According to these stories, several animals dived deep into the ocean to retrieve soil for recreating the earth after the great flood. This distinguishes the Aboriginal creation stories from the Biblical stories. However, missionaries declared the ecological relationships among living things superstitious and primitive. Missionaries introduced church-run schools that taught English and the European way of thinking (Vizenor, 2009). The introduction of Christianity ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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