PAGE 23 MAZINA’IGAN FALL 2017 • HEALING CIRCLE RUN • Mitiganaabe on the run Healing Circle connects eight Ojibwe communities Aaniin nindinawemaaganidog, mitiganaabe nindizhinacaz. Greetings rela- tives, my name is mitiganaabe. Many of you that are more familiar with GLIFWC, know that I am one of the many sacred tools gifted to help Anishinaabeg. I am the tallest staff adorned with many miigwanag (eagle feathers). Every miigwan has a beautiful story and meaning. I am utilized by Anishinaabeg for many different purposes. Every year I attend the commission meetings, solstice feasts, Mikwendaagoziwag ceremony and most recently, the Healing Circle Run. As it does every year, the Healing Circle Run kickoff ceremony began at Pipestone Creek on the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation. Asemaa (tobacco) and opwaaganag (pipes) were passed to acknowledge this journey and lives of spiri- tuality. The first two days were made very easy as runners from Waaswaagoning (Lac du Flambeau) and Sokaogon (Mole Lake) picked up extra miles. The community of Getegitigaaning (Lac Vieux Desert) treated us to a won- derful breakfast and the youth participants ran multiple miles through seemingly endless hills. For the first time in a long time, runners took me in hand and carried me to the very end. Despite my heaviness and inconvenient height, the runners raised me up proud and eloquently. UponarrivingtoMiskwabekong(RedCliff),wewereanxioustomeetnewRed Cliff Tribal Leadership and to do ceremony right on Gichigami (Lake Superior). The following day would bring more anxiousness as we neared the community of Nagaajiwanaang (Fond du Lac). Nagaajiwanaang was very special this year as we participated in ceremony at the Minnesota Highway 23 site, which had been disturbed. Construction crews began refining a road and bridge on old burial sites, which left theTribe in a vulner- able state of emotion. The community came together and decided that ceremonies Healing Circle Run participants walk with mitiganaabe through Watersmeet, Michigan. (J. Krueger-Bear photo) The mitiganaabe gift The tall shaft of polished South American wood is called mitiganaabe— spiritofthewood—thelateNegaunegaboGeneBegayexplainedtothegathering at Lac Courte Oreilles in the autumn of 2000. Seventeen years ago Begay pre- sented the staff to GLIFWC representatives at theAabanaabam Conference, an eventdesignedtoshareandcapturestoriesfromtherecentpast.Begayinstructed GLIFWC leaders to bring the staff to ceremonies and important meetings. Mitiganabe is the fourth in a series of spiritual gifts passed to GLIFWC around the turn of the century. —CO Rasmussen Today, communities are both pre- serving and expanding the knowledge they have been blessed with. Bad River hosted a niibin gabeshiwin (summer camp) this past July which garnered activitiessuchaslacrosse,blackashbas- ketry, birch bark etching, net mending, fish preparation, and moccasin games. Visitors from other communities trav- eled to Bad River to share the various teachings they had been given. Dan Ninham, Director of Northern Indigenous Lacrosse traveled from Red Lake, Minnesota to share his passion and love for the creator’s game. Nin- ham expressed his excitement about the opportunity. “It was great to come to a community that still has elders that retained some of the spiritual aspects of the game.” Over a hundred birch bark canoe miles away, the Mole Lake Sokaogon community began their Manoomin Gabeshiwin (Wild Rice Camp). Youth spent a day participating in Canoomin, aninteractivecanoesafetyclassdesigned fortribalharvesters.Thegroupalsospent a day identifying materials and shaving giizhik(cedar)intoriceknockers.Youth gained all of the equipment and skills necessarytoharvestmanoominthisfall. “Thisisjustthefirstofmanycamps to come. We will also follow up with a harvesting and processing camp that will not only teach youth how to harvest manoomin, but also how to process it afterwards,”SokaogonTrailsCoordina- tor Rachel Vodar said. Tribal Chairman Chris McGeshick added: “This is how we build our future leaders; we teach them our traditions and values, and they in turn understand the importance of the resources. They now understand why we fight so hard to protect these resources.” Asknowledgeandskillscomeback to and are shared among Ojibwe com- munities, the demographic makeup of cultural camps is beginning to change. At the start, the focus of the camps was solely to revitalize traditional ceremo- nies, language, and harvesting activities that many Ojibwe communities had nearly lost. And while continuing to passtraditionalknowledgeandpractices from generation to generation remains thecoreobjectiveofthecamps,asecond objective has come into focus: encour- aging cultural understanding among non-native people. Red Cliff Wolf Camp hosted a group of kids from California this year. At Raspberry Campground, the group participated in archery, beading, canoe- ing, and language alongside Red Cliff youth. They also took to the shooting range for target practice with GLIFWC and Red Cliff tribal wardens. One of the visitors, Martin Evaristo, was super excited about target practice. “This was my first time shooting!” he said. Inbetweentargetpractice,Evaristo talkedabouthisexperienceinRedCliff. “This camp is great!” he remarked. “I failed miserably at archery, but it was cool to experience something other than my community. I liked how visitors got to eat first as a way to honor them.” At GLIFWC’s Camp Onji-Akiing the sharing of culture happens between members of different bands of the Ojibwe nation, and between different tribal nations such as Menominee and Oneida. This is an important exchange, as many Ojibwe bands have their own unique language dialects, customs, and ways of practicing ceremonies. Inter- tribal connection provides youth the opportunity to express their cultural distinctiveness and grow their cultural confidence as leaders. The outlawing of NativeAmerican ceremonies and religious practices, and the walleye wars of the 1980s are two examples of what can happen when lack of cultural understanding and respect exists between people of different heritage. It is important that culturalpracticesarebeingrenewedand restoredtoOjibwepeopleandcommuni- ties through seasonal gabeshiwin, but it is also important that those gatherings are providing opportunity for others to understand Ojibwe worldview. Today, together, we face many threats that pose harm to Mother Earth, Aki, and one of those threats should not be each other. needed to be done in this area to acknowledge our relatives that had been disturbed. It was truly beautiful to hear everyone acknowledge their ancestry and embrace the mistakes that had been made in a positive manner. Thelastlegoftherelayalwaysgoesthefastest.WearrivedatSt.Croixandhad a wonderful spaghetti dinner and the community youth drum sang some jammers. It’s truly a blessing to participate in these ceremonies. They say that at any given moment in time, someone else is having a ceremony and praying for you.We keep humanity in mind when our runners both run and participate in ceremony. I have an ability to evoke extreme emotion from those that hold onto me while they speak. I don’t allow people to speak from a script; I force them to speak from the heart.Theseceremonieshavealotofhealingpowerbothphysicallyandspiritually. The 2017 Healing Circle Run has come and gone yet again. However we remember that everyday is a ceremony and a blessing.As a spiritual being, I love to remind people that we are always here for them. Use us, feast us, and never forget the pure love and good intentions we have forAnishinaabeg. —Dylan Jennings Sharing culture & connections (continued from page 1) Sixty youth from the Ceded Territory and beyond gathered together to share culture and friendship during GLIFWC and the USFS’s Camp Onji-Akiing July 17-21.