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Gaa-izhi-miinigoowizid a’aw Anishinaabe

Gaa-izhi-miinigoowizid a’aw Anishinaabe

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What We Were Given as Anishinaabe

Authors Lee Obizaan Staples and Chato Ombishkebines Gonzalez

Minnesota Historical Society Press (September 5, 2023)

A respected Ojibwe elder records the many traditions and ceremonies, from birth customs and dream catchers to fasting and first-kill feasts, practiced by Ojibwe children and their parents.


The Ojibwe have many ways of marking important moments in an Ojibwe child’s life. Customs surrounding pregnancy and childbirth. Handling of a baby’s belly button. A child’s first moccasins. What happens when a child first touches the ground. Naming ceremonies. What to do the first time a baby is brought into a ceremonial dance.

With warm and friendly stories and instructions, Lee Obizan Staples recounts these and many other ceremonies and traditions of an Ojibwe childhood. This book is both an accessible record of Indigenous knowledge and a valuable language resource for all ages and all levels of learners. It is written for those who wish to have greater access to Indigenous Traditional Knowledge, a growing body of resources designed to document the teaching and experience of Indigenous elders. Families, scholars, and Ojibwe language learners can use these teachings to expand their understanding of Ojibwe ways of thinking and speaking.

This vital collection of Ojibwe protocols and procedures, presented in Ojibwe and English, reflects the teachings of Ojibwe elder Lee Obizaan Staples as transcribed by his apprentice language and ceremonial officiant, Chato Ombishkebines Gonzalez. This is their third book of teachings.

Author Information

Lee Obizaan Staples is a spiritual advisor for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. He is from the Aazhoomog community (also known as Lake Lena, Minnesota), and he extends his help to all the surrounding communities. He has published two other books explaining the ceremonies that Anishinaabe go through during their lifetimes, as they were passed down to him. Other communities may vary in teachings; Obizaan shares what he was taught so they will live on among the Ojibwe.
Chato Ombishkebines Gonzalez is a language and ceremonial apprentice, scholar, and teacher. He has worked with Lee Obizaan Staples since 2006, learning language, customs, ceremonial procedures, and community history. He taught Ojibwe at Waadookodaading Ojibwe Language Medium School; he also worked on five monolingual Ojibwe books created by the Aanjibimaadizing program of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. He is an Ojibwe language and subject matter expert for Rosetta Stone's Ojibwe language course materials.

  • Trade Paperback
  • 152 pages
  • 9 in H | 6 in W
  • ISBN: 9781681342672

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