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Plums or Nuts

Plums or Nuts

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Ojibwe Stories of Anishinaabe Humor

Authors Larry Amik Smallwood and Michael Migizi Sullivan Sr. 

Minnesota Historical Society Press (September 5, 2023)

A master Ojibwe storyteller shares twenty-five stories—often bawdy, full of mischief and misbehavior—in Ojibwe and English.


Larry Amik Smallwood had the gift of making people laugh. Of all the teachings Amik strove to pass along to his students, he cherished most the humor of his Ojibwe people.

In this bilingual collection, Amik tells of his many adventures and those of others he knew. Learning to speak English in the first grade. A spectacular mishap while harvesting wild rice. Using an old blanket as an invitation to dance. Tales of his hilarious drunkard uncle. With all this and more, Amik celebrates the history, traditions, and culture of modern Ojibwe people.

This book also provides plentiful Ojibwe-language idioms, plays on words, and puns, showing that it really is funnier in Ojibwe. Michael Sullivan Sr., Amik’s language student and assistant, introduces the stories and presents them in Ojibwe and English with an Ojibwe-to-English glossary. Plums or Nuts will excite language enthusiasts throughout North America and bring smiles to those who remember this remarkable man—and to those who are having the pleasure of meeting him and his stories for the first time.

Author Information

Larry Amik Smallwood was a veteran, father, grandfather, ceremonial drum keeper of the Ojibwe, renowned storyteller, language teacher, and expert on Anishinaabe culture. He taught the Ojibwe language from the 1970s to his passing in 2017, perhaps the longest period for any Ojibwe language teacher of our time. He was renowned as a powwow emcee, using his powerful baritone and humor to keep the action moving. Those who had the pleasure of being close to him remember fondly his ability to make people laugh and often smile at the memories.
Michael Migizi Sullivan Sr. is a lifelong student of the Ojibwe language, father, husband, ceremonial drum keeper of the Ojibwe, powwow emcee, up-and-coming storyteller, and teacher of the Ojibwe language. Sullivan earned his doctorate in linguistics at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, working under the tutelage of Larry Amik Smallwood as his main language consultant and Dr. John D. Nichols. Sullivan is the faculty director of Native American Studies at the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College on his home reservation of Lac Courte Oreilles, where he teaches the intricacies of the Ojibwe language that he learned from Amik.
  • 144 pages
  • Paperback
  • 9 in H | 6 in W
  • ISBN: 9781681342665

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