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The Cultural Toolbox

The Cultural Toolbox

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Traditional Ojibwe Living in the Modern World

Author Anton Treuer

Minnesota Historical Society Press (November, 2021)


The traditional practices of one Ojibwe family, carried out through the seasons of the year and across the seasons of life, demonstrating the enduring power of culture and identity.

Today's Ojibwe people have--against all odds--maintained a dazzling array of deep, beautiful, adaptive ways of connecting to the spiritual, natural, and human beings around them. Variations in Ojibwe cultural practices are, of course, as diverse as their homelands, which stretch across the Great Lakes, Canadian shield, pine forests, and prairie potholes of four US states and three Canadian provinces. And Ojibwe culture, like every other culture, has changed over time. But these variations and changes have always followed a distinct path, reflecting an identifiably Ojibwe worldview. While the world around, in, and connected to Ojibwe spaces continues to envelop myriad cultures and peoples, the Ojibwe have found a way to stay recognizable to their ancestors.

In this book, Anton Treuer tells stories of one Ojibwe family's hunting, gathering, harvesting, and cultural ways and beliefs--without violating protected secrets. Following the four seasons of the year and the four seasons of life, this intimate view of the Ojibwe world reflects a relatable, modern, richly experienced connection to the rest of the planet. It also opens up a new way of understanding these living traditions, which carry thousands of years of cultural knowledge still in the making.

Advance Praise

“Anton Treuer learned his cultural lessons from respected elders throughout Anishinaabe country, and he lives his life according to the ancient Anishinaabe teachings. In this book, he does a masterful job of both protecting and revealing the ancient wisdom that we all seek. By sharing personal stories, Treuer shows how the ancient wisdom is relevant in today's world.”
Paul Day, Chief Judge, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe

“Each generation has a few who tell the story of being Anishinaabe during their time, and this book is one of those stories. It is personal and communal, polite but also firm about the ways we need to care for our culture. Some make small offerings in the form of songs and poetry. This book is long like a shoreline, an Anton Treuer prayer for the resilience of Ojibwe language and culture.”
Margaret Ann Noodin, author of What the Chickadee Knows I Gijigijigaaneshiinh Gikendaan: Poems in Anishinaabemowin and English

Author information

Anton Treuer, professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University, is the author of Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians but Were Afraid to Ask and fourteen other books on Indigenous history and language.

More MNHS Press books by Anton Treuer

  • This title is also available at your favorite e-book vendor.
  • 224 pages
  • Paperback
  • 5.5x8.5 inches
  • ISBN: 9781681342146

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