• KID’S PAGE • How makwa got a short tail Aaniin (hello) friends and relatives! Biboon (winter) is a time for storytelling. Anishinaabe aadizookaan (original/traditional stories) are a big part of the Ojibwe lifeway. They teach us many things about life and how to act. They may also teach us how to treat each other and everything in creation. Many times these stories are filled with humor, which is a univer- sal form of healing. When listening to these stories, think about what virtues or lessons they might be trying to teach. When makwa (bear) was created he was given the longest, bushi- est, most beautiful tail of all the animals. He was very proud of his tail. He was so proud that he went around bragging to the other animals. He walked around, bragging as he told the other animals that his tail was the best looking of all. The other animals grew tired of him bragging around.They talked about how makwa was given special treatment when he was given such a nice tail. One time as the waagosh (fox) was walking through the woods he thought of a plan that he thought would punish makwa. It was getting along towards fall as the lake was icing over when waagosh left, catching giigoonh (fish) and waiting for makwa to come along. Soon he saw the bear approaching on the trail right by the lake. He saw the fox with the fish. “Fox, how did you catch the fish,” asked the bear. “I went to the lake.” “I chopped a hole in the ice.” “I put my tail through the opening, waiting for the fish to grab onto my tail,” said the fox. “Do [you think] that I’ll catch some fish by doing the same thing,” asked the bear. “Maybe,” said the fox. So the bear went out to the middle of the ice on the lake and chopped a hole, immersing his tail through the opening. The bear sat for a long time. The bear didn’t feel anything try- ing to grab his tail. The bear finally decided to pull his tail out of the hole. But he had sat for so long that his tail was encased in a thick circle of ice. He tried to no avail to pull his tail from the ice, as his tail was frozen solid. He jerked it with such force that he broke off the end of his tail. He looked at his tail but it was gone. All he had was a short little tail. So his long, beautiful, bushy tail was now broken off. That’s how he got a short tail. Based on a story by the late Anna Gibbs, an Ojibwe spiritual leader from Ponemah, Minnesota. Artwork by Jonathan Thunder thunderfineart.com Youcanwatchthisanimatedvideoat:https://vimeo. com/117458136 What have you learned? 1) What is the Ojibwe name for the black bear? ___________ 2) How much does the black bear weigh? _______________ 3) What do black bears eat? ____________________ 4) How fast can black bears run? _______________ 5) Can black bears climb trees? _________  American black bears are found in Canada, Mexico and North America.  They mostly eat grasses, herbs and fruit.  The bear’s coat has lots of layers of shaggy fur, which keeps it warm in cold winter months.  They may be called black bears, but their coat can be blue-gray or blue-black, brown and even sometimes white!  Their short claws make black bears expert tree climbers.  They may be large, weighing as much as 300 pounds, and can run as fast as 25-30 mph!  These big bears have a very good sense of smell, and they can often be seen standing on their hind legs, sniffing scents!  They usually live in forests but black bears are also found in mountains and swamps.  Black bears spend winters sleeping in their dens, feeding on body fat they built up over the summer and autumn. Makwa facts MAZINA’IGAN PAGE 20 WINTER 2017/2018