From Gzhemnido to Go..

 Gokmuskegnon
 Mamogosnan
 Spirits of the directions
All designed to honor the multiple expressions of
who the Creator is and the evidence of the
power of Creation
We had:
Families, clans, towns and cities, tribes and
Clan ceremonies
Seasonal celebrations
Women’s ceremonies, men’s ceremonies
Celebrations of birth, marriage, childbirth
Healing ceremonies and rituals
Burial rituals and Ghost feasts
The Potawatomi language was shared with
Odawa, Ochibwe: Three Fires Confederacy
We had religious language, diplomatic language,
language of the women and language of the
We had language that children spoke, language
that elders used, and language used with other
Miami, Lenape, Shawnee, Wea, tribes of the
Illinois Confederacy
We had language for:
Lakes, rivers, mountains, towns, regions; a
language related to our sacred geography
That geographic language was tied to our
religious and sacred language
We understood the world to be a sacred place, a
gift from Gzhemnido and in our language were
constant reminders of those gifts
Clan language for
example: Chigwe
Chigwe dodem:
Strikes the earth
Language related to
clan ceremonies
Related to the
Related to the sacred
geography of the
Thunder Clan
Mko Dodem: Bear
Clan language
Mko: related to “digging
with paws
Mko Dodem knew the
medicines and properties
of the earth
Mandozhit: “Bear Walker”
language of dreams of
Duties included hunting
for rogue bears, knowing
the medicines and foods of
the woods
Knowing the bears: Natural
Earth Sky Cycle Ceremonies
Center of the world ceremonies
Planting ceremonies
Harvest ceremonies
Daily offerings to the sunrise/moon
Life cycle rituals:
Birth, puberty,
marriage, childbirth,
healings and Death
Puberty, menses and
childbirth ritual
locations are
Earth Sky Cycle
Center of the world
Planting ceremonies
Harvest ceremonies
Daily offerings to
the sunrise/moon
Kikyago: Young girl, innocence, purity, special
ceremonial role, Mnokmek-Spring
Qua: Mature or fecund woman: Nibnek:
Spiritual growth, fertility, mother, wife
Nokmis: Grandmother; teacher, healer, keeper
of the traditions; Dgagwek mine Bbomgek-Fall
and Winter
Gogmuskegnon mine Sukmukwe; the
everchanging aspects of the Earth
Indians are Savages, Redskins, Primitive.
Primarily male images
“God worship” is to “Great Spirit.”
Ceremonies and dances are domain of
the male priests
Economics based in male roles: hunting,
fishing, bows/arrows and spears
Women were passive participants in the
There were no women religious or political
Native women were beasts of burden and
secondary to economics
High god was male figure “Great Spirit,”
nothing to do with the feminine
Hunters supplied a small percentage of the
food, 15-20%
Potawatomi Indian society was agricultural
Farms and gathering lands were owned by
Most Indian societies were matriarchal,
matrilineal, and matri-local
Should be Gatherer-Hunters
“The United States flag, carried by a dragoon; then one of the
principal officers, next the staff baggage carts, then the carriage,
which during the whole trip was kept for the use of the Indian
chiefs; then one or two chiefs on horseback led a line of 250 or 300
horses ridden by men, women, children singled file, after the
manner of savages. On the flanks of the line at equal distance from
each other were the dragoons and volunteers, hastening the
stragglers, often with severe gestures and bitter words. After this
cavalry came a file of 40 baggage wagons filled with luggage and
Indians. The sick were lying in them, rudely jolted, under a canvas
which, far from protecting them from the dust and heat, only
deprived them of air, for they were as if buried under this burning
canopy - several died thus.”
Father B. Pettit, September 1838
Male High God
Male Creative Powers
Nature to be feared
and subdued
Celibacy is the only
real spiritual path
Formulaic prayers and
Female Creative force
Natural world is the
source of power
Sexuality/fertility is a
celebration of life
Spontaneous prayers
and rituals
Among the Potawatomi, primarily Jesuits and
Conversion of Indians will lead to the Second
Coming of Jesus
Colonial settlements to support missions
Breakdown traditional society
Sacred language is no longer Podwewadmi
mowen but Latin, French or English
God does not hear prayers in Potawatomi
“Despite the innumerable lamentations,
apologies and justifications, there can be no
serious denial that the mission system in its
economics was built upon forced labor.”
Sherbourne F. Cook
“it is the practice to imprison them for a few
days and then allow them to breathe a little
fresh air . . .after which they are again shut up,
and thus continue to be incarcerated until they
declare their readiness to renounce the religion
of their forefathers.” Captain F. Beechey, 1827
“it is a strange truth that a man shall generally
find more free entertainment and refreshing
among these barbarians, than amongst
thousands that call themselves Christians."
Roger Williams: 1643
“Clearly the Word of God was something these
people needed if they were to stop worshiping
creation and false gods, and learn to worship
the true Creator.” Rev. Craig Lampe, 2005
Hail Mary, full of
grace. Blessed art
though among
women and blessed is
the fruit of they
womb, Jesus. Hail
Mary, Mother of God
pray for us sinners
now and at the hour
of our death,
8] Juwenitakosig pániteë'djik; KijeMenniton okuwapimauwan.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
[9] Juwentakosig tokam pim[i]tisídjig [2] KijeMennito onitchanissan
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
[10] Juwenitakosig nênikadjìidjik ikimìnojuwêpisauwat; okumauwìn
Wakwig okutaiánauwa.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the
kingdom of heaven.
[11] Kijuwenìtakosím, pì metchitejimìkoyég, pitch kakatchiïkoy~eg mòtch
pìnichimìkoyèk Nin otchi.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all
manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
[12] papinêwmòg, ketchi papìn[êa]móg, kitchi mitchê`ch kikutipamákóm
Wakwíg: nowa iw kitotakowan kanikanikikentakúk keïcha."
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted
they the prophets which were before you.
Culture/religion/language are tied together,
they are inseparable
Must hold the Catholic Church accountable for
culture and language loss
Recognize the continuing contributions of
Indian people to world culture
Hand down to our children and grandchildren
more than we received
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